Success in one field doesn’t necessarily translate to another area.
In the case of former Canadian Women’s hockey player, Cheryl Pounder, who has made the transition from ice to stage, the move has been a triumph.
In the sports world where accomplishments are measured by medals and titles, there aren’t many who can claim a list of achievements as glowing as Cheryl’s.
Her run of success began early in the 1990s when her ice hockey team won the Under-18 Canadian National championship. In 1994, she won Gold for the first time at the 1994 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship, and during her illustrious career with the National Women’s team, Cheryl won two Olympic Gold medals (2002 and 2006) and was crowned IIHF World Champion six times.
The shining on-ice achievements aside, it’s been Cheryl’s varied experiences on international stages that have made her an in-demand speaker, with keynote clients such as Tim Hortons, Maple Leaf Foods, CIBC, TD Bank, Manulife, Women In Leadership Groups, Girl Guides of Canada, Western-Ivey-Executive MBA and the City of Toronto, to name a few. She believes that her approach, one that is interactive, passionate and positive, has a lot to do with her ability to cross over to diverse audiences.
“When I speak to people, I want them to connect with material that they can identify with, that stimulates a thought process,” she says.
For Cheryl, everything is rooted in self-confidence, something that was instilled in her as a child. ”My family had a huge impact on my personal goals as an athlete. My grandfather was the GM of the Montreal Junior Canadiens and my grandmother was a prominent softball player in the 1940’s. Along with my parents, they taught me to ‘believe’, ‘finish something you start’, and persevere through adversity.” Adversity can be a learning experience and according to Cheryl, “It is important that we learn not only from our successes but also from our failures. Change is the key to ultimately staying on the path toward excellence.”
It is all part of a journey that we must be willing to take – a journey that must be inspired to take for ourselves and those we work with… our TEAM. To this point, she adds, “When the team goal is met, the individual goals take care of themselves. Seize the opportunities, get outside your comfort zone, trust yourself, and engage in your life, don’t just participate. Most importantly, listen to your strong side, even when your weak side is louder.”