OUR STAFF

JENN GIBBONS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Jenn first fell in love with rowing as a freshman when she was recruited in the cafeteria at Michigan State University. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and began coaching junior athletes at St. Ignatius. In the fall of 2007, she co-founded Recovery on Water (ROW), a rowing team for patients and survivors of breast cancer. Jenn went on to be hired as ROW’s first full-time staff member in the fall of 2012. Since then, she has helped grow ROW into a sustainable nonprofit, providing weekly programs on and off the water as well as a Power10 Camp, a summer camp for women diagnosed with breast cancer. All while somehow finding time to raise funds rowing and biking the 1,500 miles around Lake Michigan. In her time at ROW, Jenn has had an opportunity to do a little bit of everything from leading grassroots fundraising for a boathouse, to partnering on marketing campaigns with top brands like Athleta, to filling gas tanks, to coaching and developing innovative programming, all with the purpose of changing lives. Her contributions to the sport have been recognized by USRowing as Masters Coach of the Year in 2011 and more recently with the Anita DeFrantz Award in 2018.  Jenn and her work have also been honored with the Athena-Foundation Chicago Young Professional Award and Michigan State Alumni Sparty Innovator Award among others. Jenn is thrilled to be joining the George Pocock Rowing Foundation this fall, carrying on a legacy of using this powerful sport to change lives. 

Read more about Jenn here

PATTY FINNEY

Administrative Director

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Patty is the Administrative Director for the Pocock Foundation which includes supporting all segments of the Foundation including Row to the Future, Row for the Cure in addition to the Pocock Rowing Center and Renton Rowing Center. ​ Patty began rowing at LaSalle University in Philadelphia and continued her rowing career training at Vesper Boat Club before she decided to move to Montana and, ultimately, Seattle. Before coming to work at the Pocock Foundation, she was an executive administrative assistant, a human resources generalist, and a bookkeeper. Her wealth of skills in almost every arena of administration keeps the boathouses of the Pocock Foundation in ship-shape. When not at work, Patty enjoys spending time with her husband, two wonderful children, and friends.

Read more about Patty here.

ARSHAY COOPER

A most bEAUTIFUL tHING INCLUSION FUND DIRECTOR

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After years of working in the foodservice industry, Arshay Cooper returns to his true passion of working with young people. Arshay has coached kids across the nation, been a youth program guidance counselor for the Victory Outreach's Midwest/Gulf Coast region, as well as initiating several rowing programs for low-income youth across the country, so that other young people can experience the profound changes that happen on the water.

Arshay Cooper is the writer of the memoir turned documentary film, A Most Beautiful Thing, and comes to the GPRF to lead the vision to remove barriers to the sport of rowing through our A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion fund. Arshay is not only a rower, but also a Benjamin Franklin award-winning author, A Golden Oar recipient for his contributions to the sport of rowing, a motivational speaker, and an activist, particularly around issues of accessibility for low-income families.  

Read more about Arshay here

PADRAIC MCGOVERN

Director of Rowing Operations

As the Director of Rowing Operations, Padraic is responsible for the safe, sustainable and successful operation of the Pocock Rowing Center and Renton Rowing Center. Padraic began rowing as a youth in Point Pleasant, NJ. After rowing at Saint Mary's College of California, he joined the Seattle rowing community as a sculler. Padraic has competed and coached in youth, collegiate, elite and masters programs. As the Executive Director of the Everett Rowing Association, his focus on culture and communication led significant growth in membership, youth programming and fundraising results. Padraic's experience in the construction industry and at Pocock Racing Shells brings a strategic background to our infrastructure and project management needs. Outside of the boathouse, Padraic enjoys hiking, biking, woodworking and cooking.

"My why has evolved through my life and different points of engagement with the sport.  When I was young, it was a mythical super cool thing my uncles did; something I wanted to be part of. When I started weekend lessons with my uncles, rowing was the highlight of my week.  It was an escape from the assholes in my high school.  Once I learned to scull, rowing on the river was my first true sense of freedom. It was addicting. Once I got to college, it took on new meaning. Discipline, willpower and competition were what I sought. I got that, plus moments of natural beauty and boat moving joy I still seek.  I also found friendships that last to this day and laughs I'll never forget.  Training after college allowed me to seek a dream and explore my ultimate limits in a new city with new friends. Transitioning to coaching gave rowing meaning beyond myself through sharing what I learned along the way. I am still humbled by the experience of working with young people; for everything I was able to bring out of them, they brought something out in me.

 

For all of these things, I do what I do. I figure at some level, I've found something in rowing that one of our athletes is looking for, whether they know it or not. It's meaningful work to have a part in putting the pieces together for athletes to find something they need." 

Read more about Padraic here

NELL AIELLO

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT 

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An Australian native, but American convert, Nell began rowing the summer before starting college and loved it so much, she immediately joined the crew team in her freshman year at UCLA. Her passion for the sport has resulted in her continuing to row, and coach for the last 25 years, and inspired her to open an indoor rowing studio, RowFit, in 2009, which exists today under a different name. Nell's professional experience includes digital marketing expertise, operational excellence, and a focus on relationship building, making her the ideal Director of Communications and Development for the GPRF. Nell holds an Executive MBA, and is fervent animal lover and outdoor enthusiast.

DENISE AQUINO

A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING inclusion FUND manager

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Denise is our National Inclusion Program Manager and hopes to support the vision of removing barriers within the sport of rowing through our A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund.

She is also the founder and cohost of Rowing in Color, a platform that serves to amplify the voices of color and promote unity in diversity within the sport of rowing.

Additionally, she is a committee member of the Head of the Charles x Gold Cup Grant Fund. Before 2021, she worked at Row New York, Harlem River Community Rowing, and Anchorage Rowing Association.

Outside of the rowing world, Denise is studying coding, walking her dog (Kinsey), and reading literature on anti-racism. 

Read more about Denise here.

HELEN TILGHMAN

YOUTH PROGRAM COORDINATOR & HEAD COACH

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Helen entered the rowing world in 2003 at Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center where she competed as a junior athlete for five years. Her time on Lake Washington continued when she attended the University of Washington, competing for the Huskies from 2008 until 2012. After completing her Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, Helen continued with UW to earn her Masters in Education in the Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership Program. Helen spent that year as an assistant coach with Seattle University's inaugural varsity women's rowing team.

Helen left Seattle to continue serving in the collegiate coaching ranks at the University of Dayton and Michigan State University. In 2016, she decided to return to Seattle and began as the head coach of the Mt. Baker varsity women. In 2017 Helen added the position of Director of Rowing at Mt. Baker, serving as the first in that position.

When she is not at the boathouse, Helen enjoys spending time with friends in the great PNW outdoors, experimenting in the kitchen, and playing with her dog Finn. 

Read more about Helen here

KAYLA CLOUD

Erg Ed & Student Services Manager

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Kayla began rowing during her undergraduate career at Wesleyan University. As a four year varsity rower, two year CRCA All-American, first team All NESCAC pick, and co-captain, she finished her senior year with the team at their second NCAA appearance in program history. Kayla continued to row recreationally, competing with Vesper Boat Club's U23 program for a summer before becoming a coach herself. She worked as an English teacher and Boy's Rowing Coach at Choate Rosemary Hall between 2015 and 2018, traveling with the team to the Royal Henley Regatta in 2016. After her time at Choate, she decided to focus her energies on developing athletes on the water and enrolled in the Exercise and Sport Studies master's program at Smith College where Kayla served as a Graduate Assistant Coach and graduated May 2020. Her love of rowing remains her drive in all that she does to spread knowledge and access about this wonderful sport. Kayla is delighted to be joining the team at the George Pocock Rowing Foundation and looks forward to continuing the mission of the program!

Read more about Kayla here

RACHAEL ARAND

Member Services Representative

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Originally from Whidbey Island, WA, Rachael graduated from Gonzaga University in 2019 where she earned her degree in Sport Management with minors in Marketing and Public Relations. She was a college walk-on rower, raced at NCAA's and spent her senior year working to develop the novice athletes. This is her second year coaching at PRC and working for the GPRF as the PRC Member Services Rep. When not at work, Rachael can be found baking, biking and watching clips of her favorite movies over and over again.

"Before college I would have considered myself a good athlete, I had played most sports, basketball, soccer, volleyball, frisbee etc., None of these sports prepared me for how mentally and physically challenging rowing as a walk-on, in college, would be. I was starting over at 19 years old, learning movements as if I were a toddler. I recall telling my coach that I couldn't remember the last time I had been this bad at a sport. Rowing taught me perseverance and what true mental toughness was. No matter how hard, cold, boring or exhausting it is, you show up for your teammates. There's not a whole lot else to it. They pull for you and you pull for them because there is nothing better than watching their face as you come across the finish line first."

Read more about Rachael here

MICHAEL GREEN

VISTA Erg and Student Services Data Analyst

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Michael Green joined the GPRF team through the AmeriCorps and Up2Us VISTA intern program. He works as a rowing researcher to optimize the efficiency of our data collection and analysis to help us better understand the impact of rowing on the lives of the youth in our communities. Michael is currently a senior at Dartmouth College working towards completion of his degree with a concentration in Anthropology, specifically related to social determinants of health. He is a member of the Dartmouth College Men's Rowing team and believes strongly in the power of rowing to open doors and transform lives.  

Read more about Michael here

BARBARA KELLY

Accounting specialist

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Barbara joined GPRF  in July of 2019 and is our Accounting Specialist.  She brings over 7 years of non-profit bookkeeping and accounting experience with youth and arts organizations.  Barbara picked up her bookkeeping skills while assisting her husband in his consulting engineering business and serving on the boards of education advocacy organizations before applying them to a second career.

She came to rowing as an adult taking the Learn to Row program at Pocock Rowing Center in 2014.  She is still working on her stroke as much as her schedule allows, mainly in a single, but on occasion in a double with her husband. She also enjoys bicycling, hiking, and hanging out with friends and family while enjoying a good meal and glass of wine.

Barbara graduated from Seattle University in Electrical Engineering, in the 20th century, and enjoyed her career in the electronics industry prior to staying home to raise her growing family.

Read more about Barbara here

TRICIA O'HARA

GRANTs MANAGER

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Tricia joined GPRF in April of 2021 and is our Grants Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from California Lutheran University and a Master of Public Administration in Development Practice from Columbia University. Before joining GPRF,  she worked with many nonprofits focused primarily on youth leadership, environmental conservation, and community development. A lifelong athlete, she has deep family roots in the Pacific Northwest and rowing. She is so excited to join GPRF and work to remove barriers to rowing and get more people on the water. 

Read more about Tricia here.

Jon Campaña

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAMs MANAGER

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Jon Campaña was born and raised in Sarasota, FL. While his high school friends were rowers, he didn’t start rowing until he was in college at the University of South Florida. He immediately fell in love with the sport and in 2011 found a high school coaching position as a novice coach.

Fast forward 10 years and he has coached Masters, Collegiate, High School, Middle School, and Elementary school athletes. He loves to see people learn and grow in the sport and has more recently been mentoring younger coaches to be the best advocates for the rowers they encounter.

Jon is focused on fulfilling the mission of getting more people on the water and removing any barriers to do so. He is so excited to continue this work at the GPRF and to collaborate with this amazing group of like minded individuals.

In his spare time, Jon enjoys being outside and active by the water, reading a good book, and nerding out on everything from the MCU, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings universes. 
 

ZOE VAIS

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAMS SPECIALIST

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Zoe Vais grew up in San Rafael, California and moved to Seattle in 2010 to attend the University of Washington where she "walked on" to the rowing team. After her senior year, Zoe graduated and began coaching the UW freshman women as an intern coach. 

In 2015, she joined the GPRF staff as an Erg Ed instructor, and Pocock Rowing Center as a novice coach. She spent two years teaching rowing in the Seattle P.E. classrooms, and was trained in sport-based youth development through the Up2Us Coach Americorps program.

 

Since then, she has continued to coach novice rowers at PRC, and loves everything about helping people try rowing for the first time, or hone their skills on the water. Zoe is excited to rejoin the GPRF on the mission to bring more young people down the boathouse to have enriching experiences on the water!

 

In her spare time, you can find Zoe hanging at a park, visiting art galleries, or attending music events around the city. 
 

RACHEL WONG

RENTON ROWING CENTER PROGRAM DIRECTOR 

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Rachel moved to Seattle from Portland, OR in 2013 to attend Seattle University, where she was a walk-on with the Division I Seattle University Women’s Rowing team. After graduating with a degree in English in 2016, Rachel began her career in coaching at Green Lake Crew, where she taught Learn to Row classes in the summer and served as the Assistant Novice Girls Coach during the 2016-2017 season. She then went on to lead the Seattle Preparatory Novice Boys team, coaching the team to the program’s first Regional Youth Championship title in the Mens Novice 2x event. In 2018, Rachel played a key role in founding the Seattle Scullers team, a small boats program focused on skill development and long term success for Middle School, High School, and Elite level athletes. For 3 years, she acted as their Long Term Athlete Coordinator and Assistant Coach, managing recruitment efforts, community outreach, logistics, communications, and everything in between.


When she is not working at RRC, Rachel can be found rowing with the Competitive team at Lake Washington Rowing Club. She also enjoys running, beachcombing on the local islands, and spending time with her Australian Shepherd puppy Murray

 

JOIN THE TEAM

Interested in joining our amazing team? We don't blame you! Check out our current job listings here