April 10, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight
Spotlight On: Jennifer Jones, Skip of the 2014 Olympic Champion Curling Team
Jennifer Jones is Canada’s most decorated and recognizable female curler. She won an Olympic gold medal as skip of the Canadian team at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, just 18 months after having ACL surgery, and 15 months after becoming a mother for the first time. Her team dominated the Olympic field, winning all 11 games, and in the process Jennifer became the first female skip in history to go through the Games undefeated. We’re thrilled to shine the spotlight on Jennifer today:
What inspired you to be a speaker?
Throughout my life so many people told me I couldn’t be a lawyer and a world class athlete and that motivated me even more to accomplish my dreams and I did that. And then, 18 months out from the Sochi games, I blew out my knee and found out I was pregnant and people once again told me I couldn’t achieve my goals and come back from knee surgery, have a baby, and win an Olympic Gold Medal. But once again, I committed to my plan and always believed in myself and I proved those people wrong.
I am inspired to be a speaker because I believe in the limitless abilities of people and in the beauty of chasing your dreams no matter what people tell you. I tell my story because I want to inspire people and I want to show people that dreams do come true if you believe and if you work hard. Telling my story and meeting so many amazing people energizes me, and is something I am so passionate about. It is a continuation of my Olympic dream.
Any advice for aspiring speakers?
If you are passionate about your story and your message, I believe it is infectious with your audience. So be passionate, honest, and real and you will connect with your audience.
What do you like to leave audiences with?
I like to leave audiences with the feeling that they just heard the story of a genuine and passionate person who has chased and achieved her dreams! And that absolutely anything is possible with a plan, complete dedication, and passion. I want the audience to leave feeling energized and inspired to live life to the fullest.
How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?
I always look at the Olympic gold medal before I hit the stage because it reminds me of all of the trials and tribulations of chasing my dreams and of the feeling of having those dreams come true in the most amazing way. I feel so privileged to be in the position I am, to have realized my dream, and to be able to share my story with so many amazing people.
Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?
Every single time I have the opportunity to share my story is memorable because I get to meet so many amazing people. Hearing stories of what other Canadians and individuals were doing when we won our Olympic gold medal is so thrilling for me. To hear the impact I have had on people’s lives is the most incredible honor and something that always touches me.
The most recent memorable event would be in Colorado, where I was invited as a guest for dinner and not as a keynote speaker. So many people asked to hear my story they called me on stage without any warning or preparation. It was the first time I had shared my Olympic story in front of an audience, and the reaction was more then I could have hoped. I am so passionate about chasing my dreams that it connected with the audience. To look into peoples eyes and see the emotion and the impact I had was a moment I won’t forget. And the standing ovation I received afterward still gives me goose bumps every time I think about it. It is an “Olympic Memory” that I will remember forever.
Charitable cause you feel passionate about?
I am passionate about philanthropy on all levels. I have been a board member and volunteer for many organizations and truly believe we all have an obligation to give back to our community and ensure that everyone has the opportunity for a happy and healthy life. Being a mother, I will always have a soft spot for children’s charities. Currently I sit on the HSC Foundation Board in Winnipeg with a focus on ensuring the best health care for all Manitobans.
If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?
I have a legal degree and have worked as a lawyer while training for the past 14 years, both in private practice and as in-house counsel. I really enjoy working in a corporate environment as part of a team because it reminds me so much of sport. When I am done competing I want to ensure I always feel a part of a team. There is no question my new career choice would be that of a sports/curling commentator and motivational speaker. It would be an absolute dream come true if I had the opportunity to be a color commentator for curling one day.
Desert Island album?
Ray Lamontagne – Trouble.
David Gray – Foundling.
Best Subject in school?
In law school, definitely contract law.
Last book you read?
Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss. I have a 16 month old daughter!
Last film you saw?
Wolf Of Wall Street.
Brent Laing (my partner who is an amazing curler in his own right)