Marnie McBean

Marnie McBean, O.C.

Three-Time Olympic Gold Medallist | Specialist in Athlete Prep and Mentoring to Olympic Teams

Marnie McBean is one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians, and an expert in turning potential into performance. As a former Specialist in Olympic Athlete Preparation and Mentoring for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), McBean prepared athletes emotionally and psychologically to ensure that they performed at the highest level. Drawing on her years of experience with the COC and as a top competitor, she leaves audiences with a recipe for success that can be applied to all endeavours.

McBean is a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In recognition of her work, she was named Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In this role, she acts as a spokesperson for Team Canada and a mentor for the athletes, coaches, and staff, all with the aim to create an inclusive environment conducive to optimal performance.

Currently an ambassador for Right to Play, Fast and Female, and Plan Canada’s Because I Am a Girl initiative, McBean is actively involved in helping to promote the safety, health, and activity of Canada’s youth. She is also the author of The Power of More: How Small Steps Help Us Achieve Big Goals, which outlines how she, a three-time Olympic gold medal rower, sets and achieves goals, both in sports and in life.

McBean holds a degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, as well as three honorary doctorates.

The Power of More: How Small Steps Help Us Achieve Big Goals

Marnie McBean’s ideas regarding performance — rigorously tested and proven — pave a path for the preparation, communication, and teamwork that are essential to winning in any competitive environment. With anecdotes and hard-earned wisdom, she connects with audiences as a real person, and leaves them with a framework for success that transcends sports and that can be applied to any competitive endeavour. Marnie helps your team do what she has done time and time again: turn potential into outstanding performance.

Start Happy Finish Happy

How do you keep the “fun” in a long career? As we progress through a career–the joy of achievement, learning and ‘winning’ starts to get nudged out by expectations.

Marnie McBean looks back at the nine Olympic Games she’s been involved in, and the lessons and impact that they’ve left her with, perhaps one of the top being that, “you can’t finish happy if you don’t try to start happy.”

In this talk, Marnie describes the four key elements to starting happy, using relevant and interesting examples to elucidate her points and give audience key and immediately implementable takeaways to start on the path to personal success:

1. Be aware of your “done” list

2. Don’t wait to start hard conversations.

3. Use the expectation of change and challenge as a weapon.

4. Know that you are the somebody that you’ve been waiting for.

Be a Career Champion: Training to Win on the Bad Days Too

In sport and life, flukes count but relying on them is an anxious bet. Career Champions are those who manage to succeed in any condition; almost despite the system or environment. Marnie McBean has been countless champions and shares some of the secrets to their success.

Our Hidden Impact: The Impact of Effective Mentoring, Teaching and Leadership Isn't Always Obvious

There are some lessons that are taught that require objective measurement, such as improving test scores and performance, but there are many areas where leaders, teachers and mentors have an impact that is not quantifiable.

We can’t measure growth in confidence, focus, values or commitment, and yet improvement in these areas tends to give us the greatest satisfaction.

As a mentor to Olympians, Marnie McBean takes no credit for the performance of the athletes, but knows the importance of being part of their preparation.

Host / Emcee

Start Happy! Finish Happy!

Workshop Goal

To take team building to a higher level, further instilling confidence and courage into staff so that they are exactly the kind of people who can achieve huge goals. Quick group exercises will give attendees the tools to reinforce their commitment and dedication to challenging tasks as demands increase.

Workshop Content

This workshop focuses on the 1st and 4th pillars of Starting Happy: [i]

1) Be aware of your Done-List

2) Start Hard Conversations

3) Use Expectation (of change and challenge) as a weapon

4) Know that you are the Somebody that you have been waiting for

Team Behaviour – More starts with you

Using a set of questions, your group will discuss amongst themselves and ultimately decide how to answer the statement “My Team Is…”

~Who do you want to be?

~What kind of co-worker/colleague do you want to be seen as?

~What kind of work environment do you want to work in?

~How do you want your competitors to see you?


Communication – Starting Conversations

Whether in sport or in business, communication always lays the foundation for effective team collaboration and goal achieving. This exercise goes beyond simply asking what your team members need from each other to be successful – it directs them towards how they can get it. They will discover that more often than not this is achieved simply by starting a conversation. This is how the best teams work, grow and win together.

Confidence – Know what’s on your DONE list

The nature of ambition requires that we focus on our To-Do list, but confidence and swagger come from a proud awareness of our Done List. In small groups, your team will be asked to recall, list and discuss some items on their Done list – personal & corporate – that make them who they are. It’s pretty impressive and motivating when the whole group puts there Done items into a pile.

Going Forward – Getting to Finishing Happy

At the conclusion of the workshop your group will have answered the question “My Team is…” and, having been freshly reminded of what they have already accomplished, they will be confident and eager to achieve more! The Done list that they just created as a group is an objective reminder that they are very ready to be, and to achieve everything that they want to.