Sami Jo Small

Gold Medal-Winning Goalie with the Canadian Women's Olympic Hockey Team

The night before the Olympic game, in the race to the gold medal, Sami Jo Small was told that she would not be on the ice. At first, she was devastated and angry, but eventually, she chose to rise above those feelings and embrace her new role with enthusiasm. Small became a force of positivity in the dressing room, on the bench, and on the ice, and in doing so ultimately helped the team become champions. A graceful storyteller, Small shows audiences that a “team” needs all of its members ― regardless of their role ― if they are to succeed.

As a goalie for the Canadian Women’s National Hockey Team, Small has won five World Championships, was twice-named championship MVP, and is a three-time Olympian, who played on two gold-medal-winning teams. After a lifetime of training for the “big game” in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Small never got to play in it. “Not playing in the final game in Salt Lake forced me to focus on the accomplishment of the team above my own feelings,” Small said.

Today, Small is a Certified Speaking Professional through the National Speaking Association and a management consultant working with corporate clients to help them build stronger teams and workplace cultures. She has also worked as an NHL analyst for TSN and Sportsnet, and provided colour commentary and play-by-play for the men’s and women’s hockey games as part of the Beijing Olympics broadcasting team. In addition, Small owns a hockey school that runs throughout four provinces.

Prior to this, Small was one of the founders of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and worked as the general manager of the Toronto Furies until it discontinued operations in 2019. Small released her autobiography The Role I Played in September 2020.


Lessons in Teamwork: “It’s Not About the Medal”

Sami Jo Small uses storytelling to exemplify many aspects of developing more successful teams. She leaves audiences with concrete strategies to support the people and the teams around them.

In often changing business environments, Small shows organizations how to stay the course and how to focus on the big picture while still taking care of the details. Through her unique stories of perseverance and drive, she encourages audience members not only to seek out advice from others but to also share their knowledge and expertise as mentors. Drawing on her personal experience, Small demonstrates how we all have value and are capable of contributing and finding value. Ultimately, she strives to help audiences build cohesive teams capable of taking on the world.

Teamwork: It's Not About the Medal

A three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic gold medallist on Canada’s famous women’s hockey team, Sami Jo Small helps to show the audience that a “team” needs all of its members, regardless of their role, if they are to succeed.

Small uses her motto, “In life, you don’t always get to choose the role you play, but you do get to choose how you play it,” to talk about teamwork, being a valuable team member, and facing one’s feelings about failure.

Audiences will learn:

  • How to motivate in turbulent times.
  • Build the capacity for stronger teams.
  • How to become a more trusted team member.
  • How to connect and forge deeper relationships in order to be more successful as a team.

This virtual presentation can run up to 60 minutes. Length and format is customizable to meet your needs.