Break the Bias - Featured Photo

By Maureen (Mo) Hagan

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are key priorities for canfitpro.  This is reflected in our core commitments to creating a caring community which fosters a culture of continual learning, authenticity, and establishing safe and barrier-free spaces for all. Belonging is critical to fostering safe spaces where everyone feels connected and valued. There are many barriers that stand in the way of diversity, equity and inclusion in the fitness industry. Gender biases is one of these barriers. 

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 – #BreakTheBias – encourages us to imagine a world free of bias and discrimination. International Women’s Day is a global day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. #BreakTheBias is a vision for communities that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Women in leadership is one of the pillars of canfitpro’s Diversity & Inclusion committee and we are proud to support and stand in solidarity with this important day and vision. 

To further encourage women in leadership, canfitpro will host the 8th Annual Women Who Influence  as part of the canfitpro GLOBAL conference and trade show in Toronto. The theme for this year’s Women Who Influence event is “belonging”. The timing of this event and theme could not be better to help welcome back fitness professionals and help bring the fitness industry and its leaders together to rebuild, reinvent and reconnect with our own purpose (and WHY).  

Personal courage is needed to confront our biases so that we can cultivate more belonging in all areas of our lives. The ability to demonstrate Personal Courage is one of the judging criteria for The “Women Who Influence Sharon Mann INSPIRATION Award & Scholarship”. Sharon was a fitness legend whose smile lit up every room she entered and every stage she presented on. Sharon dedicated her career to bringing people together, inspired them to take control of their health, be curious and never give up! She helped to move the fitness industry forward in so many ways during her 30+ year career and even during her 5-year courageous battle with cancer. Sharon passed away in June 2020 Sharon had an incredible ability to cultivate belonging in any and all settings. In the context of the Sharon Mann Inspiration Award, a nominee who can demonstrate the kind of personal courage that Sharon had will be able to clearly articulate their courage to cultivate self-awareness and development, demonstrate bravery to see things through by trusting in their strengths and abilities all while being integral with their words and actions. These traits are qualities that we can all embody to confront and #BreakTheBias. 

We understand that having the vision for a more just and inclusive world is an empowering first step. But we have learned that to make that vision reality we need something more. We need to have the courage to combine that vision with action. How can you commit to #BreakTheBias and build a culture of belonging this International Women’s Day, this year and beyond? 

Do you know someone who you would feel proud to see represent the community of women within the fitness industry or resonate with this and the Women Who Influence community in 2022-2023? Consider nominating someone to recognize them for their personal courage to be an agent of change and influencer in the fitness for this prestigious award or submit a self-nomination if this resonates with you! The “Women Who Influence Sharon Mann INSPIRATION Award & Scholarship” will be awarded at the 8th Annual Women Who Influence event on Thursday August 11th, 2022. If you want to nominate a Fitness Professional, your application must be submitted by Thursday, March 31, 2022, and if you want to submit an application for yourself, your application must be submitted by Saturday, April 30, 2022


Maureen (Mo) Hagan is Chief Operating Officer for canfitpro. She is a global fitness ambassador, recognized for her leadership in the fitness industry that spans over three decades. Mo is an award-winning fitness leader, member of the Board of Directors for Prescription to Get Active, and WIFA.