Genadyne Charr, a 2015 graduate of Providence University College and Theological Seminary’s Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program, is a Sales Account Executive at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). She spends her day focusing on new business growth for Raptors 905 (NBA Toronto Raptors farm team) and the Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League). Recently, she assisted the MLSE as the Toronto Raptors brought home their NBA championship. While this was incredibly exciting, she says, “There was no greater pride than knowing God’s hand in the entire journey.” Her work in the secular field with endless temptations of power, greed, consumption, comparison and distraction can be difficult, however it offers the ability to uplift, empower and lead through a strong voice.
For four summers, Genadyne attended Providence’s summer basketball camp, which introduced her to the school. The women’s coach invited her to Providence to play on the Varsity Team, and Genadyne agreed assuming she would come for one year to play basketball. God had other plans for her.
Providence was challenging. Genadyne knew religion but did not have a personal relationship with God. She felt behind in Bible courses, as her classmates seemed to have a foundational biblical understanding that she was missing. The required courses would challenge her to the point of failure; however, she credits the support of the teaching staff, school culture, and sport in creating a safe environment to navigate this journey. She stayed at Providence because something felt right to her in being here.
Under the guidance of her professors, Genadyne attended different churches where she learned to analyze and evaluate their structure and message. She read the Psalms using visualisations, drawings, and reciting them aloud to help her learn and deepen her faith. Reading and learning to interpret God’s word taught her creativity and an open mind. These skills helped her to be observant and understand her work in receiving and delivering messages.
The small class size in her business courses allowed students to engage professors in a meaningful way, which taught her strong interpersonal skills. Course requirements to study in teams, work on business plans, and create and deliver presentations allowed her to build confidence. After Providence, she completed a postgraduate program in Sport Business Management. The class consisted of 27 adults from different backgrounds in their field of study. She says, “It was clear the skills taught in the business program at Providence were not ‘common sense’ at all. I was able to lead with my skill set and help others develop based on the knowledge and practice I had gained.”
Playing basketball on the varsity team taught Genadyne to integrate faith and sport. Genadyne learned how to express herself in high-pressure situations, to communicate, and build meaningful relationships. Although she played organized team sports her entire life, she began playing for something greater than herself or a win. Scott Masterson, Director of Athletics at Providence, describes her: “Gena has always been a go-getter who is a bundle of energy. She was very involved as a basketball athlete during her time at Providence, but she also always found ways to give back and invest in others, predominantly by helping out for many years with our summer sports camps. She has continued to invest in the faith development of others through her work with professional sports organizations in Canada. Her high energy and friendly personality have provided her with many great opportunities, and it’s exciting to see how God will continue to provide areas of influence for her.”
All of these experiences drew and guided Genadyne to commit her life to Christ and she was baptized in 2018. She is grateful for the journey at Providence that opened the door for “the most amazing opportunity and blessing of my life.”
Her work allows her opportunities to have faith conversations in a secular setting with the teams in Toronto, ON. This includes running a faith and family night with each team, working closely with the teams’ chaplain, and connecting with surrounding churches to collaborate on events of sport and fellowship. They host post-game player/chaplain panels that feature interactive Q & A periods with attendees. She sees God move daily in the interactions she has with clients and networks.
Genadyne says the most important skill she has learned in her faith journey is the importance of prayer. Her work is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining and she chats endlessly with God. This is where she finds the joy and strength to do her work. She says, “Sales are tough, but God never hangs up on me.”