Marshall started paddling at Cheema in Waverley, Nova Scotia, when he was ten. I remember his first race and cheering him on from the shore…… until he stopped in the race and said, “Mom, you’re not helping!” He is 21 now and our family has done a lot of cheering and supporting. Marshall won his first international gold medal in the 2012 Pan American Canoe/Kayak Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has competed nationally and internationally in many competitions since then.

The world of sport enriches all who venture in it, both athlete and parent. As a parent, I see the focus, work ethic and determination that Marshall brings to his training and competition. Imagine if we all were taught at a young age that, 'today you will strive to beat your personal best'. A very empowering message and valuable life skill to learn. One that applies equally to the business world and to approaching work with clients. Each day should be approached with the thought, “How can I exceed my client’s expectations?” The same focus, work ethic and determination that has helped Marshall get to the level he’s at, can also help a business achieve results for clients that exceed their expectations.

A parent’s support is only a part of what it takes to raise an athlete. Raising a high performance athlete requires the support of coaches, sport organisations, sponsors, friends and family. Thanks to the dedication of coaches, when an athlete graduates from the career of high performance sport they bring with them valuable life skills and the work ethic it takes to succeed. To a sponsor, the support for an athlete is a very sound investment and as our next generation of leaders, athletes bring high performance to a company’s organisation and to our communities. In business we require the support of our colleagues, managers and supervisors to ensure we are successful. When a client succeeds, we succeed. Our past successes become the showcase of our high performance and dedication, one that we take with us into our next challenge.

I am an avid fan of the Olympics and am planning to be sitting in the stands in 2020 sharing (and cheering) in Marshall’s goal to be an Olympian.