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Sami Jo Small

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

Bio

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 embraced her new role with enthusiasm―she 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, Sami 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 hockey team, Sami Jo has won five World Championships; twice been 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 Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, Sami Jo Small never got to play in it. “The biggest difference between myself and other Olympians,” says Sami, “is the whole idea of being placed in situations that were not the way I had envisioned living my Olympic dream. Not playing in the final game in Salt Lake forced me to focus on the accomplishment of the team above my own feelings.”

Sami Jo currently works as a motivational speaker, and is an owner of a hockey school that runs throughout four provinces. She also helped start the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, where she continues to play elite hockey for the Toronto Furies.

Topics

A Vital Lesson in Teamwork:
Embracing Whatever Role You're Given

Sami Jo Small shares a frank and pragmatic message of adjusting to whatever life throws at you, at any time; of making the most of a situation that is at direct odds of how you had imagined things turning out. After being told the night before the Olympic Gold Medal game that she would not be starting, Sami Jo was devastated and angry. But she rose above these negative feelings and embraced her new role with enthusiasm — she became a force of positivity in the dressing room, on the bench, and on the ice when the team won its Gold Medal. A graceful storyteller, Sami shows audiences that a “team” needs all of its members, regardless of their role, if they are to succeed. We can all try to do better than yesterday, try to push our personal limits, and try to play the roles that are given to us to the best of our abilities. “In life,” says Sami Jo, “you never know what you’re preparing for. You don’t always get to choose the role you play, but you do get to choose how you play it.”


Sami Jo Small
is represented by K&M Productions for speaking engagements. For more information and booking Sami Jo Small contact us.

Testimonials

I had extremely positive feedback from everyone after your presentation. Your stories and message were very positive and inspirational. Our President spoke at the end of the day and he referenced your experiences and "lessons learned" and related it to his own experiences and lessons this year. For me that was important because I wanted him to appreciate the opportunity as well and I know he did. It was great to meet you too and I really appreciated your efforts... It was very special for us to have you there.

–Miele Limited

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I had extremely positive feedback from everyone after your presentation. Your stories and message were very positive and inspirational. Our President spoke at the end of the day and he referenced your experiences and "lessons learned" and related it to his own experiences and lessons this year. For me that was important because I wanted him to appreciate the opportunity as well and I know he did. It was great to meet you too and I really appreciated your efforts... It was very special for us to have you there.

–Miele Limited

Sami's talk was highly motivational and as a leader, she embodied the three C's of Character, Competence and Commitment we had discussed in class. She shows high commitment, energy and a commitment to always improve. Another key point really resonated: "sometimes you don't get to choose the role in life, but you can choose how you play that role"...as best as you can.

–Western University

Just want to thankyou for considering speaking at Finance University. On reviewing our evaluations, you were regarded as one of the speakers that attendees enjoyed the most. I understand one attendee had tears. The committee was thrilled to see that your speech tied in beautifully with our keynote speaker.

–LCBO

Sami Jo, on behalf of EQAO I would like to thank you for taking time to be with us today and sharing pivotal moments of your life. You words have taught us that it is not only important to envision and set goals but to be prepared for the unexpected - and, when the unexpected occurs, to remember that there are choices for moving forward - pushing our limits, even in times of emotional discomfort. You are a true inspiration and touch the very core of being human. You have left us with the understanding that as individuals we are all members of a team and therefore rely on one another for support - beyond solo gains. Although we all have a unique set of life experiences, what we do have in common is the ability to pick each other up when we fall down. In following your motto, "try to do to better today than yesterday". Finally, thank you for reminding us to grab hold of our dreams and "light the fire within us"! It has been an honour to have you with us and share in this moment together. Again, thank you Sami Jo Small.

–EQAO

The 4 Directions Youth Program would like to officially thank you for your time and dedication to the youth and for their growth as individuals. The insights you shared with them during your presentation was very inspirational and uplifting. With the knowledge and wisdom you shared during the presentation will not only steer them in the right direction but will help them work towards a brighter, more positive future for themselves and for others they come into contact with throughout their lives. We know you made a big positive impact on theirs.

–4 Directions Youth Program

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