Jenn Gibbons, Executive Director
Jenn rowed at Michigan State University and began coaching as the Men’s Novice Coach for Ignatius Chicago Crew (ICC) in 2006. Jenn coached for ICC for many years and now serves on their Board of Directors. She has also coached for Lincoln Park Boat Club and Chicago Rowing Union. Jenn previously worked for Girls in the Game and Groupon. 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. Jenn and ROW have been featured in Fitness 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 the full time 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 likes starboard side, handstands, running marathons, eating hot wings (not at the same time) and kicking cancer’s butt–one rower at a time.
Sheena Smith, Coach
Sheena learned to row as a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2001, and has rowed at 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 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.
Erin Cikanek, Coach
Erin began rowing as a novice at the University of Michigan Women’s in 2003 and never looked back. She was a member of the varsity squad from 2004-2007 and during her time there she became a varsity letter winner and won a Big Ten Team Conference Championship in 2004. Since 2007 she has coached for various teams in the Chicago area, including learn-to-row at LPBC, the novice men at Northwestern University from 2007-2008, Chicago Rowing Union, and Chicago Training Center.
Erin joined the ROW coaching staff in 2012 and has been a great addition to our team’s leadership as a strong technical coach. Erin recently completed her MA in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. Erin credits the sport of rowing with helping maintain her very strong addiction to coffee.
Barb Franco, Coach
Barbara began rowing her Junior year in High school after a long career as a swimmer. She rowed for two years in Madison for Camp Randall Rowing Club before continuing on to row for four years at Tufts University in Medford MA. She has experience racing in every boat except a pair. She began coaching summers for CRRC juniors while in college and began coaching survivor teams in Madison in 2011 when she encouraged her mother (a breast cancer survivor) to join the We Can Row team. She recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso where she would have dreams of rowing, and is very excited to get back on the water!
John Albrecht, Coach
John rowed with the Marquette University Rowing Club 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 via 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.
Bryan Cheung, Coach
Bryan started rowing in high school, and continued at the University of British Columbia (Canada) with the varsity men’s team. During his 4 years with UBC, he coxed the varsity men’s 4+ and 8+ to notable finishes at the San Diego Crew Classic, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, and the Canadian University Rowing Championships. In 2001, he coxed the varsity men’s 8+ to a silver medal at the 2001 Canadian University Rowing Championships and, in 2002 was invited to Rowing Canada Aviron’s U23 selection camp. Since then, Bryan has coached in Seattle at Lake Union Crew and in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University.
In addition to coaching, Bryan is currently a senior user interaction designer at Motorola Mobility, Inc. He relocated to Chicago in September, 2011 after graduating with a Master of Design in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Previously, he graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering, and worked as a software design engineer at Microsoft Corp.
Devlin Murdock, 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 excited to share his passion for the sport with the ladies of ROW, helping with our sweep and develop our intro to sculling program.
Monica Bernardo, Intern
Monica rowed lightweight for Ignatius Chicago Crew, and was a coxswain for the women’s team her junior and senior year. Junior year she qualified two lightweight boats for SRAA Nationals. Senior year she was elected team captain of the women’s team. She is currently a freshman, studying business at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, with a concentration in marketing and finance. Monica is part of CUA’s club team as a coxswain and serves as head of recruitment. She also coxes for Avalon Rowing Club, where she placed 3rd in the Men’s Masters and Rock Creek Rowing Club, both master’s teams.