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, Concept 2 certified coach and RYT200 yoga instructor.
After rowing the 1,500 mile perimeter of Lake Michigan and raising $150,000 to purchase boats for ROW in the summer of 2012, Jenn transitioned her professional focus to developing ROW as a resource for exercise and support to anyone with a breast cancer diagnosis. Jenn joined the the ROW®staff as Executive Director in October of 2012.
Jenn brings her nonprofit background and coaching experience to manage the staff, 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.
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 USRowing 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. Most recently, Jenn was recognized in 2016 by Lakeview High School with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award and in 2018 by USRowing with the Anita DeFrantz Award.
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, PROGRAMS MANAGER & COACH
Devlin rowed in high school for the Saugatuck Rowing Club in Westport, CT and continued rowing in college at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. He enjoyed much success at both levels, including national championships as both a single sculler (high school) and as an oarsman (college). Devlin joined the coaching staff in 2014 after having spent almost 10 years away from the sport and hasn't looked back since.
Devlin shares his passion for the sport of rowing with the ladies of ROW® as both a US Rowing Level II certified Masters coach as well as ROW's Programs Manager. Devlin works daily to ensure ROW® programming runs smoothly so that our coaches and athletes can focus on ROW's mission to fight back against cancer with exercise. Along with managing the coaching staff, and maintinaing our equipment, Devlin also tracks program data such as participant surveys and weekly attendance to measure our impact.
KATHLEEN BEHNER, OPERATIONS & OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Kathleen jumped at the opportunity to join the ROW team in 2009 as a way to learn a new sport and to continue to be active in her cancer recovery. Admittedly, after many years on the team, she humbly realizes she is still attempting to perfect her rowing-stroke and that she will never be invited to be on the national rowing team.
Kathleen brings her nonprofit accounting and operations expertise to the ROW organization which, for her, has been the silver lining of a very difficult diagnosis with ongoing side effects. Kathleen shares the important mission of ROW with survivors and encourages them to be active while gaining support in their recovery process through outreach with our hospital and non profit partners.
When not on a rowing machine or on the river with her teammates, Kathleen enjoys cycling around Chicago with her husband and friends or attending theater productions. Keeping true to her motto "just keep moving", she takes every opportunity she can to explore European countries at a very slow pace - on a bicycle with her husband - taking in the country's sights, smells and savoring the local food and wine. "Life is short...just keep moving!"
maryruth o’neal, events & communications manager
MaryRuth’s writing career began very early—she took her first newspaper job at age 13 and was an aspiring journalist throughout high school and college, where she wrote for multiple campus publications. But following graduation she landed at her first creative agency, launching a nearly 15-year career in copywriting, ghostwriting, branding, content strategy development and communications management. After more than a decade working with different brand industries and clientele, MaryRuth became a highly versatile communicator with the ability to adapt her style for any variety of unique needs and voices.
With ROW she shifted her focus more heavily toward digital strategy, events management and communications, and took advantage of an opportunity to more directly support a growing group with whom she had a long history. MaryRuth began volunteering with ROW in 2012, at which time she took over our newsletter and began sharing our early athlete stories. In 2015, MaryRuth and her husband began publishing ROW’s annual report, for which they completed all interviews, content development and design.
Though not a rower herself, MaryRuth has logged countless hours on the ergs alongside our athletes and is an avid believer in the power of fitness. She is currently studying to become a certified personal trainer and can often be found boxing, trying to dance, or working through Olympic lifts.
austin work, head coach
Austin launched his rowing career in 1998 as a high-school athlete attending Connecticut’s Salisbury School. He then went on to row at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, where he studied Film and Theater and was selected as the Varsity Captain. Following graduation, Austin moved to Chicago, and in fall 2004 he became a coach with the Chicago Rowing Foundation. And after one day in the coach’s launch, he was hooked.
In 2009, Austin’s former collegiate coach, Tessa Spillane, hired him to help lead the novice women of Wellesley College. Competitively, Austin helped develop 12 NCAA All-Americans, each of whom began as a true novice, and aided in making “The Blue” a permanent fixture on the podium at five consecutive NCAA Championships. His crews also won the 2012 ECAC Championship and five consecutive Seven Sisters and NEWMAC conference championships.
Austin then spent the next few years leading other crews to similar success.
In 2014, as the Head Junior Coach at the Austin Rowing Club (ARC), where he later became the Director of Rowing, Austin helped the ARC athletes finish consistently in the top 20 at the USRowing Youth National Championships. He then moved to Florida in 2017 to serve as the Director of Rowing for Vero Beach Rowing and, in a year’s time, he helped navigate the Junior transition from Scholastic to Club, contributed to a 20 percent increase in master members, raised over $50K for Junior operations and scholarships, and assisted in the design of the organization’s new $2.4 million boathouse.
Austin holds a USRowing Level 3 Certification and has helped teach countless Junior, Master, Paralympic, and NCAA Championship athletes in his 14 years as a coach. Now, he is thrilled to be back in Chicago with his trusty sidekick, Stella, who is VERY excited to get back into the snow.
LILY PAPALEO, assistant head 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.
MONICA BERNARDO, NOVICE 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. After suffering from a shoulder injury her junior year, Monica found her true calling as a coxswain! Monica continued to cox in college at The Catholic University and Avalon Rowing Club. She has been an active volunteer with Recovery on Water since 2009, served as an intern the summer of 2014 and is Chair of the Recovery on Water Associate Board. Monica is a UCanRow2/Concept2 certified rowing instructor and USRowing Level II certified coach.
The summer of 2015 Monica rode 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan with Bike4ROW and ran the 2016 and 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the women of Recovery on Water. She works as a marketing copywriter & brand manager and runs social media for the team.
In her free time, Monica enjoys cycling, headstands, going to Cubs games, planning events, spending time with her friends, family, and dog ChaCha. She is excited to coach and continue coxing for ROW!
JOHN ALBRECHT, NOVICE 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.
LINDSEY HOCHMAN, MASTERS COACH
Lindsey started rowing in high school in Virginia Beach, VA. She went on to row at Colgate University and then moved to Seattle, WA to train for the national team. Lindsey spent three years on the United States National Rowing Team, during which time she earned two bronze medals and one fourth-place finish in the lightweight quad. After finishing her own rowing career, she spent a number of years as a rowing coach, developing education and training programs, handling logistics, advising and mentoring athletes. Most recently, Lindsey spent two years coaching the DIII collegiate novice women at Hobart and William Smith College and then two years coaching DI at the University of San Diego.
After moving to Chicago in the summer of 2016 and working as a corporate recruiter/headhunter, Lindsey is excited to be a part of the amazing ROW® community. She is passionate about coaching and loves developing and coaching all types of athletes.
Maggie Rabenberg, Rowing COACH
Maggie began rowing at the Saint Louis Rowing Club in 2012, continuing her rowing career at Loyola University of Maryland, an NCAA Division I school in the Patriot League. She filled virtually every role the team needed her to fill; she rowed in four conference championships (), coxed lightweight and heavyweight men to multiple medals, competed at IRAs in the Lightweight 2x, medaled four times at the MARC championship across events in the 4+, 8+, and 2-, and served on the executive board of the student athlete advisory committee. Maggie spent a semester abroad rowing with the La Trobe University Rowing Club in Melbourne, Australia.
While still rowing at Loyola, Maggie gained her reputation of filling her free time with additional activities when she began coaching high school girls at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore. A USRowing Level II certified coach, Maggie moved to Boston to take a post-grad job at Community Rowing, Inc. She ran her own programs as the Youth Recreational Program Coordinator and coached masters sweeps. Maggie took the Graduate Assistant position at North Park University, where she is pursuing her Masters’ in Education and coaching NPU’s Division III program.
In what little free time she has, she enjoys traveling, drinking coffee, and making her collegiate athletes do the Sally-Up Squat Challenge. Maggie loves coaching and sharing her knowledge with any athlete who wants to pick up an oar and give rowing a try. She is excited to work with the entire ROW community on and off the water.
matt connelly, rowing coach
Matt began rowing as a freshman in high school at Saint Ignatius at the prodding of his parents. He quickly found out that there was no where he would rather be than out on the water in a racing shell. After rowing for 4 years at Ignatius, he went on to row for the MIT Heavyweight Men's team for another 4 years. He continues to compete in a handful of alumni events with his college classmates, most notably the Head of the Charles every fall.
When he returned to Chicago after school to work, Matt was looking for a way to stay involved in the rowing community. That was when he ran into his old novice rowing coach Jenn, and recalled that she had started ROW during his Freshman year. Having known family members who battled against breast cancer, joining the ROW team was the perfect way to keep rowing. He looks forward to bringing that same passion from a decade of rowing to the ROW community and team
KYM REYNOLDS, survivor & 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 coaches weekly with our community indoor rowing class.
PAIGE CARNEY, survivor & YOGA INSTRUCTOR
2014 was a very good year for Paige! Not only did she join ROW that year, she also began yoga teaching training at Tejas Yoga in Chicago. Paige retired from her full time job in May of 2015 and followed her dream of becoming a certified yoga teacher. Knowing she wanted to give back to her community, Paige began chair yoga in the oncology waiting room at UIC. She
hopes she can help others who are in cancer treatment.