Football Canada adds former Ottawa GM Jo-Anne Polak to board of directors

Photo: Handout/Football Canada

Jo-Anne Polak has been appointed to the board of directors at Football Canada and will serve a term through 2026.

The native of St. John’s, N.L. served as the general manager of the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1989 to 1991, becoming the first female general manager in North American professional sports.

“Ever since my Rough Rider days back in the late 80s and early 90s, I have only fallen in love with the game more, with each passing year,” Polak said in a statement. “Football Canada is giving me a dream opportunity to serve both the sport I love, and Canadians who love it as much as I do.”

Polak has worked in communications for the Canada Post Corporation since 2008 and currently holds the position of senior vice president of corporate and employee communications. She responsibilities include media relations, social media, video production, graphic services, language services, writing services, and corporate events.

“We are thrilled to have a person of Jo-Anne’s professional stature, who also possesses a lifelong passion about growing football,” said Football Canada president Jim Mullin. “Jo-Anne brings us the kind of responsible, senior leadership our sport requires as we prepare for our push toward LA ’28, and continue our mission of growing the tackle game as we have for 142 years.”

Polak has had season tickets to the Ottawa Redblacks, Renegades, and Rough Riders since 1987 and the Buffalo Bills since 2000. She was recognized by the CFL and the Redblacks as part of the Diversity is Strength program in August 2018.

Football Canada recently hired former CFL executive Kevin McDonald as its interim managing director. He will complete a six-month term while the organization conducts an independent search for an executive director and business operations director this summer in preparation for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, which will feature flag football for the first time.

Mullin plans to resign as the president of Football Canada after the transition is completed. He also previously told the board that he will not pursue either of the organization’s new executive positions.