More Than One Way to Support an Olympic Dream
Career Management, which is part of Game Plan, aims to help athletes explore and engage in different career paths. The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) takes it a step further by directly helping current and retired Olympic, Paralympic, and National Team athletes find work experiences that are flexible and purposeful.
Cara Button, Director, Stakeholders Relations at the CSI Calgary, has been instrumental in the implementation of Game Plan, a program that ensures athletes are well prepared for life beyond their sport.
Strongly believing that part of being prepared is having confidence in the workplace, she discussed the opportunity to provide a more meaningful experience to athletes by offering something different than the typical sponsorship package with Christoph Faig, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Calgary based software development company aclaro softworks.
Faig jumped at the chance, and team aclaro currently sponsors individual athletes directly. As part of the sponsorship program, they offer the ‘team aclaro’ athletes the opportunity for part-time work experience. The team is comprised of skeleton athlete Micaela Widmer, biathlete Christian Gow, biathlete Scott Gow, speed skater Gilmore Junio, and track cyclist Monique Sullivan.
“We are not a huge company, and you don’t need to be to hire athletes and to have an impact,” says Faig. “Offering employment to athletes has not been charity for aclaro – we have benefitted hugely from having athletes at our company.”
Skeleton athlete Sarah Reid was sponsored by aclaro for the 2013/2014 season. Forced to take the 2014/2015 season off due to injury, Reid began working in the aclaro office. Blogging about the value the employment program provided her with, Reid writes, “It can be a pretty frightening thing to take that big step off of the ice and into the office. I had no post-secondary education, no work experience, and a very short resume. What I did have though, what we [athletes] all have, is an abundance of very unique life experiences to bring to the table. Through sport we have learned what it means to work as a team. To succeed and to fail. To persevere. To accept criticism and to commit to something.”
As aclaro has shown, there are many ways that a company can invest in an athlete’s Olympic dream. Faig insists that the key to success when employing athletes is flexibility with hours and using the resources available through the CSI Calgary to ensure the correct athlete-company match is made.
Further information and resources can be found at www.csicalgary.ca/game-plan.
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler