Retzlaff Appointed Executive Director Of ASHA

Alberta Standardbred Horse Association
Published: April 3, 2024 04:16 pm EDT

The Alberta Standardbred Horse Association (ASHA) announced  on Wednesday, April 3 the appointment of Nancy Retzlaff as its new Executive Director. The appointment came into effect on April 1.

Retzlaff succeeds Fred Gillis, who recently retired after 15+ years of service.

Retzlaff previously served on the ASHA Board of Directors as Owners Chair and held the position of Marketing and Social Media Director with ASHA prior to her new appointment. Retzlaff is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of business and marketing leadership experience, coupled with a lifelong passion and family history in Standardbred horse racing.

Nancy Retzlaff

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Sask., Retzlaff's journey into the world of horse racing began when her sister married Doug Stout, a driver, trainer and breeder in the sport. Retzlaff's love for the sport was fostered further by her father, Gordon Retzlaff, who became a devoted owner of racehorses.

After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Commerce, majors in Marketing and General Business, Retzlaff embarked on a successful business career with Bayer Healthcare, eventually leading to executive positions with Fortune 500 companies such as Pfizer and Merck. Her roles involved complex stakeholder management, negotiations with government officials and extensive marketing experience.

In 2021, Retzlaff's return to Canada brought her back to her roots in horse ownership. Inspired by her father's legacy and passion, she is currently co-owner of seven young Standardbred horses.

"I am delighted to be stepping into the role of Executive Director for ASHA," said Retzlaff. "I look forward to working with the team, our members and all stakeholders to further develop and promote the sport of Standardbred racing and breeding in Alberta.”

ASHA also announced the appointment of Jocelyn Giesbrecht as Marketing and Special Events Coordinator. Giesbrecht previously served on the ASHA Board of Directors for three years as Director and Owners Chair.

Giesbrecht is a seasoned figure in the world of harness racing. Born into the sport, she honed her skills alongside her father, Gerry Hudon, before marrying driver Phil Giesbrecht. With a Bachelor of Business Administration from NAIT, she brings both passion and expertise to the track. Serving on the Board of Directors for three years and a member of the volunteer promotions committee, Giesbrecht has contributed significantly to the promotion of harness racing in the province of Alberta.  Giesbrecht is deeply committed to championing the sport she loves. As a proud owner of multiple racehorses, she is eager to showcase their talent and highlight the thrill of harness racing to audiences worldwide.

“I’m excited to take on the marketing role at ASHA and look forward to collaborating with our stakeholders to take the sport I love so much to new heights,” said Giesbrecht.

(With files from ASHA)

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