Meet the new Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation

Linda Melnick replaces retired Leslie Dal Cin

Image by: Herbert Wang
Melnick hopes to increase communication between students and A&R.

Following the few months she served as interim Executive Director, Linda Melnick was officially named the next Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation (A&R) in August.

Melnick is excited to step into her new role but recognizes the legacy previous Executive Director Leslie Dal Cin left behind.

“I think her era, or her time here, really built the infrastructure […] how do we take what we have been able to build, design, develop, create and now truly implement it in a way that individuals and people that are involved are able to capitalize on,” Melnick said in an interview with The Journal.

Melnick enters this new role equipped not only with huge aspirations and goals, but also with decades of experience in the A&R realm.

As a student, she played varsity volleyball at York University. After graduation, she transitioned to Guelph University and began leading their intramurals program while overseeing their women’s volleyball team as the head coach.

Melnick sees the value in “both the recreation side as well as the high-performance side of what athletics and recreation does.” Most important, she says, “[are] the synergies that you can actually create between both types of those programs.”

Since joining the Queen’s staff team in 2016, she’s been able to see that same value within its programming. Over the past few years, she moved a few times within A&R, accumulating experience as both the Director of Finance and Administration and the Director of Business Development.

Melnick is focused on creating an unparalleled athletics experience.

“We will be working to define what unparalleled student success—student athlete success—means, and then obviously how we will then deliver on that,” she said.

Melnick recognizes the challenges up ahead but is motivated by the ways that sport can function as an agent of change.

“It is like building the plane and trying to fly it at the same time,” she said. “You have so many things that are happening in society as a whole that are critical and important and need sport to be an agent of change—you need to be able to design the vehicle that is going to deliver that.”

Melnick’s vehicle hinges on two things in particular: the voices of students and an investment in people. She hopes to create channels of communication between A&R and the student body that encourage continued collaboration.

“How do we hear from you? How do we hear from you better? […] How do we make that us coming to the students versus having an expectation that the students will come to us?” Melnick asks.

Her first steps to answering this involve opening the door to collaboration and creating strategies to help informal conversations feel two-way. She wants the Queen’s community to find and define their own success within the world of athletics.

“Ultimately the student experience is our core business. It’s why we are here.”

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