Board and Coaches


Kirk Nylen, Board Member, Coach

Kirk NylenKirk is the Director of Outreach at the Ontario Brain Institute. In 2008 he received his PhD from the University of Toronto, where he holds an Adjunct appointment in the Faculty of Medicine. He worked for three years at Ontario’s provincial cancer agency helping write healthcare strategy. He served for four years as Vice Chair of the Board of Epilepsy Ontario and for two years on the Board of the Toronto Ultimate Club. Kirk has been coaching and playing competitive ultimate since 2001. From 2004-2008 he helped coach the University of Toronto ultimate team. Kirk has represented Canada at the World Ultimate Championships as a coach (2008, 2010) and player (2016, 2017).




Adriana Withers, Board Member, Coach

photoAs a founding partner of VC Ultimate Inc., Adriana has worked tirelessly with players, teams, leagues and governing bodies from around the world to grow and create partnerships in ultimate since 1998. Originally from Montreal (VC’s hometown), Adriana is now based in Toronto, where she manages the sales, event and partnership teams both locally and out of VC’s US headquarters in Atlanta. Adriana has been a long-time supporter of women’s ultimate through her work at Without Limits. She is passionate about making frisbee more green, having founded the VC Green Program, which designed and implemented recycling initiatives at championship events in North America since 2007.



John Hassell, Board Member, Coach

John Hassell TC headshotJohn runs Ontario Nature’s communications department and is the editor of its award-winning magazine, ON Nature. John has a Masters degree in International Development Studies with research focusing on sustainable, community-based forestry and has worked in the non-profit sector for close to a decade. John is an active volunteer – most recently sitting on the Editorial Board of iAM magazine. Having played elite ultimate frisbee for nearly 20 years, John has represented Canada at World Ultimate Championships (gold in 2004, 2008, 2016) and the World Games (2006 and 2010). He was a leader for Toronto-based GOAT, which won tournaments across North America. Individually, he was Canadian Male Athlete of the Year, and was named finals MVP at the university and open Canadian national championship level.



Shawn Chua, Board Member, Coach

Shawn ChuaShawn received his PhD from the University of Toronto where he did research in stem cells and spinal cord injury. He has played ultimate frisbee in the Toronto Ultimate Club since 1996. He has also played on several ultimate teams – including Pong, Grand Trunk and Goat – that have competed in tournaments across North America. He played on University of Toronto’s ultimate team for 5 years, during which the team won several Canadian University Championships. In 2014, Shawn coached TORO, Toronto’s ultimate Frisbee juniors program. While playing the sport, he has developed many strong friendships and learned invaluable life lessons. By being involved in ReachUp, he hopes to teach what he has learned about living a healthy lifestyle and spread his passion for the sport. In June 2016, Shawn will be playing on Team Canada Open Masters at the World Ultimate Championships in London, UK.



Hugh Brewster, Board Member, Coach

HughHugh is the Executive Director of Transforming Faces, leading a team that builds the capacity of local partners overseas to sustain comprehensive, holistic and long-term care for children with cleft lip and palate. He holds a Masters degree in Education and facilitates conferences and workshops nationally on Community Development and Organizational Capacity-Building. Hugh represented Canada at the 2016 World Ultimate Championships in London (UK) and delights in sharing his passion for healthy and active living through sport with children and youth.





Alyson Walker, Board Member, Coach

Alyson croppedAlyson is the VP of Brand Partnerships at Bell Media focusing on client solutions across many of Canada’s leading media properties and platforms.  Alyson has extensive experience in sales & marketing, sponsorship, content strategy, broadcast & digital media and production. In her previous role, Alyson led the network & broadcast teams at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment with the Leafs, Raptors and TFC.  Prior to working in professional sport, she enjoyed immersing herself in Canadian amateur sport at the Canadian Olympic Committee.  Alyson was responsible for sponsorship sales and service, merchandise licensing and commercial rights management following her involvement with the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Alyson holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, is a passionate mentor in the sports marketing industry and is actively involved in initiatives focused on the advancement of Women in Sport. ‘Walker’ has played ultimate Frisbee for 14 years holding multiple National titles & awards and represented Canada at 2 World Championships (2004 gold, 2008 bronze), 2 World Club Championships and the World Games in 2009. She spent most of her competitive career leading and coaching and is a proud member of Toronto Ultimate Club’s Hall of Fame.



Mark Agius, Board Member, Coach

mark agius2

Mark works as a senior policy advisor for the Ontario provincial government in the area of children and youth mental health. He has also worked for the ministries of education and health managing provincial programs and working with stakeholders across the province. Mark has a Masters degree in media and communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a teaching degree from the University of British Columbia. Mark has played competitive ultimate for over 20 years winning titles at the college and national levels, and representing Canada at the World Ultimate Championships in 2008.




Christina Gray, Board Member, Coach

Christina Gray Board MemberChristina is a Senior Research Associate with the International Indigenous Legal Research Program at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario. Christina is proudly Ts’msyen from Lax Kw’alaams in Northern British Columbia as well as Dene and Metis from the Northwest Territories. Christina’s love for her Indigenous heritage brought her into law and to Ontario. In 2013, she received her juris doctorate degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Since then Christina went on to article at Aboriginal Legal Services and work as a lawyer at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre in Toronto. Christina is also an Indigenous Bar Association Board of Director. When not involved in the legal realm, Christina enjoys playing Ultimate with the Toronto Ultimate Club. Christina joined the Reach Up Board in July 2017.