Susan Isaak has been right there on the front lines with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers through the good times and the bad, from the lean years at the end of the millennium right through the Grey Cup championship in 2019 to today.
And as it is International Women’s Day across the globe, it’s time to pay special recognition to those who are the engine behind the Blue Bombers and Valour FC.
That list runs from the club’s chair in Dayna Spiring – the first woman to have her name engraved on the Grey Cup – to the many others who make the organization work including Isaak, the club’s Payroll Manager.
Susan first walked into the offices at old Canad Inns Stadium in May of 1999 as the Payroll Supervisor. And while the set-up was a little more quaint then – players would regularly visit to pick up their cheques whereas everything is done electronically now – those were also some very dark times for the club.
The Bombers were on life support in ’99 and only through the work of the club’s executive, stakeholders and dedicated staff was it able to ride through those tough times to transform into the operation it is today.
“I was there for those tough times,” she said. “I had worked with Ken Bishop before at Dynamex for 17 ½ years before I came to the Bombers (Bishop was the team’s business GM from 1996-99).
“I remember when I first started having to check to make sure there was enough money to cover the payrolls. You couldn’t just run the payroll, you had to make sure the money was there first.”
And those stories of the club’s staff having to bring their own toilet paper rolls to work or buy their own pens and pencils while the organization found its legs again?
“Those stories are true,” she said. “Everything has changed so much since then. Moving to the new stadium made things different… I used to see the players and the coaches every day. It’s very business-oriented now.”
This May will mark Susan’s 22nd year with the club. She’s had several opportunities to leave, but has chosen to remain with the organization.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I’ve never felt the reason to change to do the same thing somewhere else. I enjoy it. I’ve learned to love football. Before I started with the Bombers I had never been to a football game. Now I love it. I really do.”
An International Women’s Day salute to the women of Winnipeg Blue Bombers/Valour Football:
Dayna Spiring – Chair
Brooke Page – VP of Finance
Lan Wu – Accounting Manager
Susan Isaak – Payroll Manager
Jen Yurick – Financial Analyst
Helen Stones – Accounts Payable Clerk
Fan Services & Ticketing
Carol Barrott – Ticketing and Fan Services Manager
Chelsea Ross – Account Executive, Ticketing
Premium Seating & Corporate Sales
Dawn Miller – Corporate Partnerships & Premium Sales Manager
Desiree Harder – Account Executive, Premium Sales
Communications & Marketing
Rhéanne Marcoux – Director, Creative & Content
Carrie Berndsen – Senior Manager of Marketing & Graphic Design
Amanda McWha – Graphic Designer
Community Relations & Events
Jennifer Thompson – Director of Events & Catering
Lisa Kingham-Monk – Director of Stadium Operations
Laurel Gray – Manager of Stadium Operations
Lynda McCausland – Stadium Operations Supervisor
Food & Beverage Operation
Patty Cox – General Manager, Food & Beverage
Miranda Wagemakers – Catering Coordinator
Lisa McKinnon – Executive Chef