Friday, November 17, 2006

Learning from a Champion

For the last few months I have been volunteering as the Communications Chair for one of St. Catharines' mayoral candidates, Marilyn Bodogh ( You might recognize the name - she is a two time Olympic curling champion and respected broadcaster for curling competitions. Marilyn has an indomitable spirit, and mounds of energy, which she called upon in spades for this mayoral race. With 8 candidates running, Marilyn started out in front, announcing her intent to run, opening her campaign office, assembling a terrific team, and knocking on over 15,000 doors.

A woman that is that motivated and driven is hard to keep up with, especially when she gets off to a running start. Although she did not ultimately win this race, she certainly woke up our city, and made it think twice about what it really wanted in terms of leadership. On election night, as we celebrated a race well-run, Marilyn remained the image of grace and strength as she hugged and thanked supporters, danced with gusto, and graciously expressed her gratitude to her campaign team.

What I've learned from Marilyn:
  1. When I first met Marilyn she shared a quote with me that she learned from Lara Sabian - "Well-behaved women never made history." Was she saying that you've gotta be BAD if you want to make an impact on history? No - she was saying, push the limits - never accept defeat - set your sights on your goal, then never look back.
  2. Once Marilyn decided to run for mayor, that is exactly what she did. I learned that although the tortoise may win the race (with a bit of luck) - sticking to the plan and going full steam ahead with the support of a knowledgeable team will get you to your goals much sooner.
  3. Speaking of team - Marilyn amassed a spectacular team of highly skilled individuals with their own particular gift. This left her free to do what she does best - to market her message and to get out there where the people are. So - again, I have learned that rather than trying to do everything yourself, pull together a team of experts that you can trust, and rely on them to do what they do best, so you can do what you do best.
  4. Last of all (for this blog anyway), I've learned that defeat is a matter of perspective, and it is never the end.

I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with such a terrific group of people, and for all that I have learned through the experience. In my next blog, I have more learning experiences to share - this time from one of my clients who recently completed a 24 hour extreme hiking expedition. Talk about inspiration! Stay tuned!

Julie Christiansen