Associate Board

The Associate Board is comprised of  talented young professionals that have come together to spread awareness of ROW's mission through events, growing a volume-based donor pool, volunteer and coxswain recruiting, training and management. 

 

hemingway benton

Hemingway started her rowing career at New Trier High school in Winnetka, IL. After falling in love with the sport she competed in the 2010 Junior World Championships in the pair. After high school, Hemingway attended the University of Virginia. Rowing in the Varsity 8 all four years, her boat won the 2012 NCAA championship in the V8 and team title, 4 ACC gold medals, and Hemingway became an All American in her senior year. 

Now living back in Chicago and working in sales at Salesforce.com, Hemingway turned to ROW® to revisit her rowing career and help other women become passionate about rowing as well as passionate about their health after cancer treatment. 

 

Monica bernardo

Monica began her rowing career as a freshman in high school at St. Ignatius College Prep and started coxing her junior year. Monica coxed for The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and competes with masters team, Avalon Rowing Club, at regattas around the country. She has volunteered with ROW® since 2009, was a development and operations intern the summer of 2014, now coaches masters and novice teams. Monica is a UCanROW2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor and is completing her USRowing Level II certification. 

Monica is an active fundraiser for ROW®. The summer of 2015 she rode 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan with Bike4ROW, and ran The 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, raising funds and awareness for the team. Monica works as a marketing copywriter and brand manager. She brings event planning, social media & management experience to the Associate Board and looks forward to growing ROW®'s reach, volunteer staff and donor pool. 

 

abby justinger

Abby started her athletic career as a USA competitive swimmer at the early age of six, where she crafted her dedication both inside & outside of the pool. From practices early in the morning and after school, to college level classes, Justinger committed. It was this dedication to athletics & academics that caught the eyes of College recruiters. After much debate, trying a new sport at a top-rated school was the best option for both Abby's career & self-development.  She rowed 3 years for the University of Central Florida (UCF), graduating a year early with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing. Abby helped bring home her team’s first Conference Championship in 2015, and second Conference Championship title in 2016.

Abby recently moved to Chicago and works in pharmaceuticals for Abelson Taylor. She works with a variety of cancer fighting drugs & found out about ROW® through a coworker who saw her passion in rowing/work cross.  Abby aspires to influence women and be a part of a community that is much bigger then herself. The women at ROW® help Justinger realize that strength is the new pretty.

 

nikki mcsherry

Nikki McSherry graduated from Butler University with a Bachelors in Accounting and a Master of Professional Accounting and moved to Chicago in 2015 to pursue her career.  She met ROW® co-founder Jenn Junk shortly after moving and has been volunteering with ROW® ever since.  Nikki ran the Bank of Chicago Marathon in support of ROW®, a feat she never thought she would attempt, but was driven to raise money for such a hardworking group of women. 

Nikki brings her CPA and auditing experience to the Associate Board and is looking to help ROW® grow by reaching out to other young professionals.  In her free team, Nikki enjoys being active through a plethora of activities, which now includes rowing, cooking healthy meals, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Melissa Montague

Melissa began her rowing career as a freshman in high school at Maritime Rowing Club in Connecticut and continued to row competitively until her sophomore year at Georgetown University, where she unfortunately developed a recurring back injury.  She had the opportunity to compete in many of the top (and arguably most fun) national regattas, such as the Head of the Charles and the San Diego Crew Classic.  During her 7-year rowing hiatus, Melissa completed her master's degree in social work at the University of Chicago and delved into other forms of exercise that helped to heal her body, such as yoga and Pilates.  Her family was deeply affected by cancer throughout this time as well.  After being introduced to ROW in 2017, she knew she found a place that connected two meaningful parts of her life and ignited her passion to get in a boat (and erg!) again.  

In her free time, she loves walking by the lake with her husband and their pup, Luna, sipping coffee with a good read at her local coffee shop, and chasing warm weather and sunshine throughout the country during the rough Chicago winters!

 

SHEENA SMITH

Sheena learned to row as a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2001, and has rowed with Green Lake Crew. She moved to Chicago and began coaching ROW® in June 2009. Sheena strives to expose the athlete in each of her rowers, and especially loves getting novices out on the water for the first time. She recently graduated with a MA in English Literature from DePaul University and currently works as an editor and marketing strategist. Sheena is a UCanROW2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor and a valuable part of our coaching staff - welcoming “newbies” and helping out with various campaigns and events. 


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