Rachel Lewis grew up in a soccer-mad family. Her dad was a soccer coach and they were all keen supporters of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The soccer theme has stuck. In 2007 Lewis became chief operating officer for Whitecaps FC and she’s having a ball. When she volunteered as a speaker at UBC’s Student Leadership Conference this spring, she told the students: “I’m proof that if you work hard, follow your dreams, and take a few risks along the way, you can get to where you want to be and achieve your goals and ambitions.”
Lewis first joined the club in 2003 as director of event management and stadium development after being interviewed by owner Greg Kerfoot (BSc’83) and ’Caps legend Bob Lenarduzzi.
Prior to joining Whitecaps FC, Lewis was tournament director of the Air Canada Championship PGA Tour Event, and project manager for the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women’s Open. As well as being a board member of the Gastown Business Improvement Society, she is a member of the International Women’s Forum, a former director of both Sport BC and Kidsport Canada, and a former Trustee with the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. She also volunteered as a member of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 Steering Committee.
In 2008, Lewis received the Business in Vancouver 40 Under 40 award and in 2011 was named one of BC’s 100 Women of Influence by The Vancouver Sun. She recently received one of the inaugural Celebration of Leadership in Canadian Sport Business Awards, presented by George Brown College in partnership with the Globe and Mail.
What is your most prized possession?
It’s a toss-up between my photo albums and my grandmother’s antique necklace.
What was the last thing you read?
Patriot Hearts by John Furlong and Gary Mason.
Who is going to win Euro 2012?
What are you afraid of?
Spiders and cockroaches.
Describe the place you most like to spend time.
The beach. Vancouver’s beaches are so spectacular and I also love travelling to different beaches around the world.
If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?
A copy of myself so I could spend the day with my family and at the office.
Name the skill or talent you would most like to have.
What or who makes you laugh out loud?
My kids. To quote Bill Cosby, they really do “say the darndest things.” I’m also a big fan of the TV show Modern Family. I saw it for the first time on a flight and was laughing out loud – I actually woke up the guy sitting next to me.
What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?
Don’t take no for an answer. It is usually the easy way out and, if you are creative and persistent, nine times out of 10 you can make things happen.
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
One where I completely check out of technology. I don’t get a single email or phone call and can just enjoy time with my family. 25 degrees, sunshine with a light breeze … and a beautiful beach also helps.
Name the world’s three greatest soccer players (living or dead).
Pele, Diego Maradona, and at this rate, Lionel Messi.
What item have you owned for the longest time?
A baby blanket my grandma crocheted for me – my son now sleeps with it.
What is your pet peeve?
A mess – especially at home or in the office.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
No two days are ever the same which makes every day a new challenge and opportunity. It is also what I love the most about the job!
What’s one of your favourite memories to date while working at Whitecaps FC?
March 19, 2011 – our first match in Major League Soccer was magical. It was both the culmination of years of hard work and also the beginning of a great new chapter for the club.
If you could invent something, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just have no idea what I would invent. I guess that’s a problem.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what do you think you’d be doing?
I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I love what I do.
In which era would you most like to have lived, and why?
This one. I like to live for today.
Which three pieces of music would you take to that desert island?
The Beatles Anthology, Mozart, U2’s greatest hits or Madonna (can’t decide).