General Manager, Portland Thorns of the NWSL
President & CEO – Karina LeBlanc Corporation
President & Founder of Karina LeBlanc Foundation
Karina is a retired Olympic bronze medalist and professional athlete who has the distinguished honour of being one of the longest-serving soccer players for Canada. With a prestigious career that spanned almost 18 years at the international level, she participated in 5 FIFA World Cups and two Olympic Games, winning an Olympic medal, and making her and her team household names.
Karina’s career path takes her around the globe both in person and digitally, where she participates in global leadership initiatives and delivers motivational keynote addresses, speaking to diverse audiences. She has spoken at the United Nations General Assembly events on two separate occasions, as well as the United Nations Race Against Climate Change. A dynamic speaker, she has engaged large audiences at major events including Canada’s 150th Celebration, Women Empowerment Conferences as well as several Leadership Conferences and was the Host of TED x Vancouver. Karina’s authenticity and vulnerability make her relatable and allow her to connect with all audiences, ranging from fortune 500 companies to small businesses, to 20,000 seat venues filled with adults and kids alike.
In 2018 Karina accepted the position of Head of Women’s Football for CONCACAF and its 41 countries where she worked to lead the confederation by developing and growing the women’s game and using football as a means of empowering young women globally. In 2021, Karina was named the General Manager of the Portland Thorns of the NWSL.
In March 2020, amid the COVID 19 world crisis, Karina gave birth to her daughter. Shortly after delivery, Karina suffered heart failure and had to be readmitted to the hospital, separating her from her newborn and her husband. Due to possible COVID exposure, she then had to do a 14-day self-quarantine allowing no contact with her newborn or her husband. It was in this challenging and uncertain time that Karina found herself redefining her purpose.
A positive role model and highly sought-after motivational speaker, Karina is a passionate advocate for inclusion, diversity and humanitarianism. She has spoken on developing the mindset of an Olympian, her experiences travelling to some of the world’s poorest places as a UNICEF ambassador, her transition from an elite athlete to a leader in the corporate world and living in the discomfort of change. Karina knows how to create an Olympic Culture in any organization.
Karina’s goal at the end of every speaking address is for her audience to walk away inspired, motivated, asking hard questions, having even harder conversations, and ultimately being a better version of themselves. In Karina’s own words, she truly believes that we all have greatness within us. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we should live every day aiming to be the best version of ourselves.
“That moment when I thought I was going to die is forever etched in my heart…. now I see that it all prepared me, for the greatness that is to come”
Life presents many challenges and obstacles, but these are the very things that shape us, define us, and if we allow them to, make us better.
Why am I here on this earth? What do I uniquely bring to this earth? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
Karina will take you through an intimate conversation where she will share a few of her personal stories that helped shape her into the person she is today, including a recent near-death experience after giving birth during COVID. That, and subsequent 17-day separation from her husband and newborn daughter due to Karina having to quarantine, helped to redefined her WHY.
Having faced adversity throughout her life, Karina has learned that beyond your greatest trials are your greatest successes. In her 13th year of playing soccer at the international level for her county, Karina had an interesting conversation with her coach right after winning an Olympic medal. It challenged her beyond the sport, which up to that moment, defined her…
“If you think your purpose on this earth is to kick a soccer ball for Canada, then I have failed you!”
As in life, you will always find what you are looking for. This statement began a journey for Karina of getting comfortable living in the uncomfortable. A new journey towards truly finding her purpose here on this earth.
In hearing her story, it will help you as a leader to see the greatness within you, and within your team. This conversation will leave you inspired, challenge you to truly live purposefully and to be the best version of yourself beyond leadership or your job, but in life.
“Our Lives Have Prepared Us For Greatness – An Olympian’s Story Of How She Redefined Her Purpose Through COVID”
Olympic Medalist, UNICEF Ambassador, Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy, Head of Women’s soccer for 41 countries at CONCACAF, and now, most importantly, a new mother to her 6-month-old daughter.
Karina LeBlanc will take you through her journey from immigrating to Canada as a shy 8 year-old, to becoming an Olympic medalist, and recently, just a week after giving birth, surviving heart failure and a COVID scare, which led to a 17 day separation from her husband and daughter. It was during this time that she realized that all of her life experiences, and the mindset that made her a two-time Olympian, had prepared her for these difficult times.
In telling her story of how in the midst of a pandemic, she was able to redefine her purpose, she will leave you recognizing the greatness you have within yourself, during these difficult times. Karina will challenge you to commit every day to living purposefully, to be the best version of you and to connect to a purpose greater than yourself.
Karina LeBlanc will take you through an intimate conversation on her experiences of being a Black Woman in today’s world. Her father told her at an early age
“You are a Black Woman, that can either be two strikes against you or for you”
She has always approached life making sure people see her for WHO she is, not WHAT she is or what she looks like.
Karina is able to speak on race, diversity and inclusion from her own experiences. Born to Jamaican and Dominican parents, Karina immigrated to Canada as a shy 8-year-old who felt she had no value on this earth. Through impacting moments and her high performance mind set, Karina found her voice and way. Karina went on to win an Olympic medal and represent Canada internationally for 18 years as a player, and has travelled to various regions of the world as a UNICEF ambassador. She is now the head of Women’s Soccer at CONCACAF, representing 41 countries in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. All of this combined has given Karina a deep understanding of issues surrounding Race, Diversity and inclusion.
With her authenticity and honesty, she will speak from the heart on an issue and conversation we all need to have and go towards.