JENN GIBBONS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & COACH
Jenn rowed at Michigan State University and began coaching for Ignatius Chicago Crew (ICC) in 2006. Jenn is US Rowing Level II certified coach and RYT200 yoga instructor. In recognition of her achievements as the Founder and Coach of ROW, Jenn was honored in November of 2009 as the Athena Foundation Chicago Young Professional Award recipient, and in 2010 she received Today’s Chicago Woman’s INSPIRED Award. In 2011 US Rowing recognized Jenn as the Masters Coach of the Year and in 2014 she was awarded the Spartan Innovator Award by the Michigan State Chicago Alumni Association.
In the summer of 2012, Jenn rowed the 1,500 mile perimeter of Lake Michigan raising over $150,000 to buy boats and equipment for Recovery on Water (ROW®). Jenn and ROW have been featured in Fitness Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, Make It Better Newsletter, Gapers Block, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, WGN,WCIU, Chicago Public Radio, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun Times and covered in media outlets across the country via the Associated Press.
Jenn joined the the ROW staff as Executive Director in 2012 and brings her nonprofit background and coaching experience to manage the coaches, budget, assess programs and run the organization with the guidance of the Board Chair and Board of Directors. Jenn sits on the Advisory Board for Girls in the Game and serves on the Ignatius Chicago Crew Board of Directors. Jenn likes starboard side, handstands, running marathons, eating hot wings (not at the same time) and kicking cancer’s butt–one rower at a time.
DEVLIN MURDOCK, OPERATIONS AND PROGRAMS COORDINATOR & COACH
Devlin started rowing his sophomore year in high school for the Saugatuck Rowing Association out of Westport, CT. By the end of his high school career he had won gold in the Junior Men B’s (16 and under) single scull event at Junior Club Nationals, as well as competed in multiple club events in a 1X, 2X, and 4X, medaling in the 4X at the Canadian Henley and Junior Club Nationals. Devlin stroked the Men’s Freshman 8+ to gold at the Dad Vail Regatta his first year at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.. The following three years he competed as a lightweight, earning a bronze medal in the Varsity Lightweight 8+ his Sophomore and Junior years, and a silver medal in the same event his Senior year as Varsity Captain, the latter two years sitting stroke. Competing in the Men’s Collegiate 8+ at the Head of the Charles, Devlin earned two third place finishes, again sitting stroke the second of the two times, and has competed at the IRA’s twice in his time at St. Joe’s, once as a freshmen in the Frosh 8+, finishing 17th and once again his Senior year in the Men’s Varsity Lightweight 8+, finishing 9th.
Devlin is shares his passion for the sport with the ladies of ROW®, helping with our Sweep program and developing our Intro to Sculling program. He is US Rowing Level II certified coach. Along with coaching, Devlin also works as our Operations & Programs Coordinator.
Cory Esposito, Administrative Assistant
Cory was eager for new challenges upon arriving at DePaul University his freshmen year. He went to open tryouts for the DePaul University Crew team and became a true novice rower among a rapidly growing three-year old program. This past season Cory held down three seat at the ACRA Regatta in DePaul’s first, second varsity boat.
Cory is a junior at DePaul University on a path to obtain a five-year Masters in accounting with a minor in American Sign Language. He dreams of one day using his knowledge of accountancy to start a non-profit and help many different impoverished communities.
Cory started as Recovery On Water’s first Winter intern helping to plan the first annual South Side Smack down. His charisma and foresight made him a great fit to keep around the ROW office as Recovery On Water’s Administrative Assistant.
When Cory is not flipping copies or completing projects in a timely manner he enjoys reading in a hammock near the lake and crushing erg pieces.
Sheena Smith, Coach
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.
In her free time she misses skiing on the west coast, collects soul 45s from the 60’s, and travels as much as possible.
BarbaRA Franco, Coach
Barb began rowing her Junior year in High school after a long career as a competitive swimmer. She rowed for two years in Madison for Camp Randall Rowing Club (CRRC) before continuing on to row all four years at Tufts University in Medford, MA. She has experienced racing in every type of rowing boat except a pair. She began coaching juniors during the summer months for CRRC while in college and began coaching breast cancer survivor teams in Madison in 2011 when she encouraged her mother (a breast cancer survivor) to join the We Can Row team. Barb is also a UCanRow2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor. She recently returned to the U.S. after two years in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso where she would frequently have dreams about rowing and is very excited to get back on the water!
John Albrecht, Coach
John rowed with the Marquette University Rowing Club from January 2010 to May 2012. He had a truly novice start, but became part of a tight-knit varsity squad the following year. Rowing remained a core part of his college life until graduating with BS in Accounting and Theatre Arts in May 2012. During his summers in Milwaukee, he helped orchestrate collegiate rowing for Marquette and MSOE through the Milwaukee Rowing Club. He believes passionately in the discipline and camaraderie rowing can provide to those who dedicate themselves to the sport. That and sunrises. John was introduced to ROW® in 2011 through a Row-a-thon fundraiser collaboration at Marquette. He began volunteering with ROW at the 2013 St. Pat’s Sprint for Recovery and is excited to continue to be a part of ROW’s mission as an assistant coach to the novice squad. John is a is US Rowing Level II certified coach as well as a UCanRow2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor.
Ashley Ledlow Mayer, COACH
Ashley rowed at Vanderbilt University where she fell in love with the sport and the camaraderie it creates. A recent UCanRow2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor and a true believer in the life benefits that come from regular exercise, Ashley is very excited to be involved with ROW and to share that passion with the team. She is especially excited to work with the novices to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Ashley enjoys taking her dog to the beach and learning all the words to the hottest new musicals on Broadway in her spare time.
Monica Bernardo, COACH
Monica is highly competitive, especially when it comes to rowing. She began rowing lightweight as a freshman in high school at St. Ignatius College Prep (ICC). After suffering from a shoulder injury her junior year, Monica found her true calling as a coxswain! Monica continued on to cox for The Catholic University of America’s club team, and Avalon rowing club. She has been an active volunteer with Recovery on Water since 2009, and served as an intern the summer of 2014.
The summer of 2015 Monica rode 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan with Bike4ROW to raise funds and awareness for the women of Recovery on Water. She is training to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with ROW® this October.
In her free time, Monica enjoys cycling, social media, headstands, cheering for the Cubs, spending time with her friends, family, and dog ChaCha. She is excited to coach and continue coxing for ROW®!
Amy Slesar, COACH
Amy started rowing at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2009. During her career at Wisconsin, she was a captain for 3 straight years and helped her team win a Big Ten championship her freshman year and consistently finish in the top 15 crews at NCAAs. After her senior year, Amy helped coach the Wisconsin novice rowing team and loved both developing people and seeing athletes succeed. Amy moved to Chicago 2 years ago and now works as a consultant for a financial software company.
Amy feels privileged to have the opportunity to coach for Recovery on Water. Though she misses cheese curds and being surrounded by Packers fans, she is excited to work with the amazing athletes of ROW.
Lily papaleo, COACH
Lily started tried rowing on a whim her freshmen year of high school and never looked back, despite catching a crab while sitting easy on her first day. She rowed for four years with LPJ (now Chicago Rowing Foundation) where she made her way from the scrappy 4th Varsity 8 her sophomore year to stroking the V8 her senior year. She was also voted senior captain, and awarded Most Improved and Most Valuable Oarswoman before graduating in 2012.
In college, Lily rowed all four years at Temple University in Philadelphia. She found a new love for the sport by being entrenched in such a historic rowing culture and the intensely competitive D1 atmosphere. At Temple, Lily was again awarded Most Improved by jumping from stroking the V4 to stroking the V8 her junior year. Her senior year, she was once again voted captain, and finished the 2016 season in the V8 with a 3rd place at the American Athletic Conference Championships, the highest finish in Temple Rowing history. She was also honored as a second team All-American.
Lily first became involved with ROW as an intern in 2014 when she helped organize the inaugural Bike4ROW trip around Lake Michigan and participated as navigator. She currently works with ROW novices and loves their enthusiasm and commitment to such a difficult sport, and hopes to be able to help them to achieve and surpass their goals. In her free time, she enjoys sleeping, eating hot dogs, and visiting cemeteries.
Kym Reynolds, Indoor rowing COACH
Kym Reynolds, a breast cancer survivor since 2012 has been on the ROW team since 2013. Kym's life motto is, "I learn to live my life by the day and not to sweat the small stuff." Kym shares, "My teammates and the staff have become very important to me and have become a part of my family." Kym became interested in coaching indoor rowing to give back to the community. "The ROW team has been my compass and this is my way of giving back." Kym recently became a UCanRow2/Concept2 certified indoor rowing instructor, and a dang good one at that.