Discovering Your Leadership

Olympic Principles to Guide Personal and Team Success

The metaphor of sport is a powerful example of how optimal performance depends on identifying and leading from your personal strengths. The sport metaphor is often used to describe management and leadership practices.  Teamwork, visioning, strategy, and training parallel sport performance. In this session, an Olympic rower will demonstrate how productive the leadership/sport metaphor can be for personal and team development, and optimal performance.

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Drawing on her experience as a two time Olympian, and particularly as a member of Canada’s double gold medal winning Olympic rowing team (Barcelona 1992), Dr. Jennifer Walinga shows participants how the sport performance metaphor can be applied effectively to the practices of team and self leadership: goal setting, visioning, and planning.

In her 25 years as an educator, researcher and consultant in the area of organizational behaviour and learning, Walinga has seen how successfully the tools she learned in the rowing shell transfer to daily life. Jennifer weaves colourful stories and videos throughout her presentation and includes an interactive component that shows how physiological principles are just as present at work as they are in sport.


  • Key Principles to a Gold Medal Personal Vision
  • Active Recovery
  • The Gold Medal Standard
  • Vision as Leader
  • Building the Race Plan

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain insight into the principles of optimal performance
  • Apply the concepts to current personal and workplace challenges
  • Reflect on one’s personal gold medal standard, goals and processes
  • Learn how to generate a personal ‘race plan’ that incorporates complex needs, values and goals within your life
  • Generate strategies for designing, implementing and sustaining Gold Medal personal performance
  • Enjoy inspiring stories from sport and organizations and celebrate the values and excitement of the Olympics


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