2020 WRCRA CONFERENCE
PANEL - USAR BOARD, CONGRESS AND COMMITTEE UPDATES
MODERATOR: MONICA VANBUSKIRK
Monica VanBuskirk is the Chief Policy and Relations Officer at Connect for Health Colorado, the state-based market for individual health insurance. She started her healthcare career in 2004 at Massachusetts General Hospital and has spent the last fifteen years working in healthcare for provider systems, insurers, and health policy programs including the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and Kaiser Permanente. Monica has an MBA from Duke University where she was the commencement speaker and Asa T Spaulding award recipient. She has a BA from Smith College where she placed 3rd in New England for springboard diving, and first learned rugby. Despite playing without a coach for several years, Monica and the Smith College RFC placed 13th at USAR Nationals in 2001. Since then, Monica has played with 9 rugby teams, including the Guayaquil Yaguares in Ecuador, Beantown RFC and the Glendale Raptors (National Champions 2014 & 2015). While President of Beantown, Monica negotiated for a fully matrixed second side, now common practice for high level women’s teams. Currently, Monica is on the board of betterwithteammates, a social enterprise that creates revenue for teams and teaches youth rugby. She is a member of the USWRF’s Women’s Leadership Council focused on building a leadership pipeline from the women’s rugby community. She lives in Denver, CO with her partner, Jamie Burke and their daughter.
Audrey was the Executive Director of Rugby Idaho. During her tenure girls, Rugby 7s was sanctioned by West Ada School District under Title IX. Currently, Audrey is the coach of the Middleton High School girls’ team, the secretary of USAR Congress, and Youth and High School Representative. She is the Director for American Youth Rugby, spearheading rugby programs by leveraging federal and state funding grants under Title I, Title IV, and Title IX, creating equity and opportunity for girls, minorities and underserved children. Audrey has a B.S. in Business Management and is working on her MBA. She owns an Insurance Agency, and co-own a firearms manufacturing company, a 3-D drafting company, and a consulting company called Rugby Schools Inc. Her daughter, Kalan, plays for Boise State and coaches the Meridian High School girls. Her son is part of Audrey’s coaching staff and her younger children also play rugby.
Ros Chou began her coaching career as an assistant backs coach at Georgia Tech in 2012 and became Head Coach of 7’s in 2013. During that time, the team made their first appearances in USA Rugby 15s playoffs in the Division 1 Round of 16 and debuted at both USA Rugby College 7s National Championship and the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). Ros was named Head Coach of Life University Women’s Rugby, a perennial powerhouse, in January 2014 and Assistant Coach for the WPL Atlanta Harlequins in 2018. In January of 2017, she was honored at the USA Rugby National Development Summit as the 2016 Female Coach of the Year. Ros served on the 2018 Collegiate All-American staff and has been the WPL East All-Star coach in 2018 and 2019. She has a BS from Florida State University, and a MS and Ph.D from Texas A&M, currently serving as an Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University.
Phaidra Knight played in three World Cups and was selected as the top player in the world in her position in 2002 and 2006. In 2010, she was named the USA Rugby Player of the Decade and in 2017 was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Phaidra earned at BA from Alabama State University and a JD from the University of Wisconsin. Phaidra founded PeaK Unleashed, a non-profit organization devoted to cultivating youth leadership and development through rugby with an initial emphasis on incarcerated and sexually exploited populations. She has worked as a rugby analyst for NBC Sports, ESPN, and FloRugby, and serves on the USA Rugby Board of Directors and the Women's Sports Foundation Board of Trustees. Phaidra is an avid CrossFit competitor and in 2013, was a member of the United States Developmental Bobsled Team. She has served as an assistant coach at Princeton University.
Julie Lau is the member of the USAR governing board. She is a partner at the global Big 4 public accounting firm, KPMG LLP, and has extensive expertise in auditing, accounting, and risk management. Julie played rugby for over 15 years at the college, club, and select-side levels. She began her rugby career at the University of Virginia, where she was an all-American hooker. After college she continued her rugby career with the Washington D.C. Furies, playing competitively on both the 7s and 15s sides. Julie served in many leadership roles for the club and played an important role in the Furies becoming a founding member of the Women’s Premier League. She also represented her local area union and the Mid-Atlantic RFU in many 7s and 15s tournaments and won the 2010 USA Rugby National All-Star Sevens Championship.