Karina LeBlanc

Two-Time Olympian | Former Head of Women’s Football, CONCACAF

With a prestigious career that spanned almost 18 years at the international level, Karina LeBlanc is one of the longest serving soccer players for Canada. She participated in five FIFA World Cups and two Olympic Games, bringing home a bronze medal at the 2016 Games. LeBlanc knows how to create an Olympic culture within any organization. She inspires and motivates her audiences to ask the hard questions and engage in challenging conversations to become the best version of themselves, at home and work.

LeBlanc retired from professional soccer at the end of the 2015 season. She was a goalkeeper for the Canadian women’s national team and, at time of retirement, playing for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). In 2018, LeBlanc joined CONCACAF as the head of women’s football, where she led the confederation in developing and growing the women’s game. In 2021, she stepped down from CONCACAF to accept the role of general manager of NWSL’s Portland Thorns. In 2020, LeBlanc was inducted into the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.

As a highly sought-after motivational speaker, LeBlanc shares insight into developing the mindset of an Olympian, how she transitioned from an elite athlete to a leader in the corporate world, and how she learned to thrive in the uncomfortableness of change. Her audiences have ranged from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. She has also addressed the United Nations General Assembly twice and spoke at the United Nations Race Against Climate Change and Canada’s 150th celebration. In 2015, LeBlanc hosted TEDxVancouver.

LeBlanc is a passionate advocate for inclusion, diversity, and humanitarianism. As president of the Karina LeBlanc Foundation, she mentors and provides scholarships to young women in sport. LeBlanc is especially proud of her role as an Honourary Captain of the Canadian Navy and as a UNICEF ambassador.

Discovering Your Why

Life presents many challenges and obstacles, but these are the very things that shape us, define us, and if we allow them, make us better. In an intimate presentation, two-Time Olympian Karina LeBlanc explores a few of her personal stories that have shaped her into the person she is today, including a recent near-death experience after giving birth during COVID.

Having faced adversity throughout her life, LeBlanc has learned that beyond your greatest trials are your greatest successes. In her 13th year of playing soccer at the international level for her country, LeBlanc had an interesting conversation with her coach after winning an Olympic medal that challenged her to live a life beyond her sport, which, up to that moment, had defined her…

“If you think your purpose on this earth is to kick a soccer ball for Canada, then I have failed you!”

This statement began a journey for LeBlanc 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 be the best version of yourself at work and home.

Redefining Your Purpose

Olympic medalist, UNICEF ambassador, honourary captain of the Royal Canadian Navy, former head of women’s soccer at CONCACAF, current general manager of the Portland Thorns, and now, most importantly, a new mother.

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. LeBlanc 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.

Race, Diversity, and Inclusion

In an intimate presentation, Karina LeBlanc explores 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.

LeBlanc speaks to race, diversity, and inclusion from her own lived experiences. Born to Jamaican and Dominican parents, LeBlanc 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, LeBlanc found her voice and way.

LeBlanc went on to win an Olympic medal and represent Canada internationally for 18 years as a soccer player and has travelled to various regions of the world as a UNICEF ambassador. Formerly the head of women’s soccer at CONCACAF, she is now the general manager of the Portland Thorns. All of this combined has given LeBlanc a deep understanding of issues surrounding race, diversity, and inclusion.

With her authenticity and honesty, Leblanc speaks from the heart on an issue and conversation we all need to have and go towards.

By Empowering Yourself First, You Can Empower Others

Achieving personal empowerment allows a leader to empower others. Sharing her own story of personal empowerment and how she learned to embrace failures and celebrate successes, Karina LeBlanc will take participants on a journey to discovering self and to recognizing the leadership potential within each of us. In this session, LeBlanc will guide participants to explore aspects of self empowerment that will help them, as leaders, to empower others.

Enhancing the Culture by Enhancing Yourself

In 2011, Karina LeBlanc and the Canadian women’s national soccer team came last at the World Cup in Germany. Nine months later, they stood on the podium watching the Canadian flag rise with a medal around their necks. The difference was John Herdman and the leadership group (which included LeBlanc), who were able to connect on something greater than themselves and greater than an Olympic medal. Their goal was to leave a true legacy and inspire a generation.

Through sharing this powerful journey, LeBlanc equips audiences with insights and strategies that will empower them, as people, employees, or a company, to change an environment so that in the end, they can deliver a podium performance.