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Living from your Soul | Chelsea Donelon
As a fresh graduate Chelsea Donelon is in the midst of an uncertain time in life. In May she finished her undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London to begin pursuing a career in human rights and international development.
She has faced uncertainty before. Growing up as a competitive ski racer with dreams of the Olympics, she suddenly had to re-evaluate life when a car crash left her paralyzed. What’s more that same car crash tragically killed her mother, grandmother, and grandfather forcing her to realize the uncertainty of life itself.
She hasn’t let this tragedy or her spinal cord injury hold her back however. Shortly after the accident she learned to walk part-time using a brace that allowed her to use her core to compensate for her paralyzed legs. After, she not only returned to high school but joined the swim team forcing the establishment of a para-division for competition.
In her pursuit of becoming a “renaissance woman” she has worked during her degree in a vast range of areas including MRI research of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, coordinating ticket sales at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and interning with a Vice-President at RBC Dominion Securities. She has also volunteered on committees of groups like Amnesty International, Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, and Royal Holloway Students Union.
Embracing life’s challenges: Breezy Bochenek
Breezy shares her experience of getting cancer at age 9, having her leg amputated, and overcoming it by having a positive attitude. Even in the early days of her diagnosis, she focused on only the good, like crossing the finish line at a difficult triathlon with a prosthetic leg or becoming a role model to others in need. Listen to Breezy’s story as she talks about embracing and overcoming life’s challenges.
At 12 years old, Brianne “Breezy” Bochenek has marshaled strength and maturity beyond her years. At age 9, she faced one of life’s biggest challenges when diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer. Breezy endured months of chemotherapy and made the brave decision to amputate her left leg. Her positive attitude and resilience has inspired many and ignited a community of support. As Breezy gets back in the game, she is helping those in need along the way. Breezy is determined to be a role model, sharing a powerful message of how she chooses to live each day.
Teaching moments from the Winter Olympics by Hank Berkowitz
Like many of us, you probably can’t tell the difference between a Double Lutz and a Triple Toe Loop. But, I’m sure you can tell the difference between a great team effort and a great team meltdown as the American men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams demonstrated so painfully this weekend in Sochi, Russia.
Granted, both teams lost to superior opponents. But, the way they went down in defeat was UNACCEPTABLE. As men’s team captain Zach Parise admitted: “We got outplayed. We didn’t deserve to win. I’m kind of embarrassed where we’re at now.” Zach, so are we.
If you have young people working for you, or if you’re the parent (or grandparent) of young athletes, please make sure they understand that “USA” stands for the United States of America—not “Uninspired Sports Association.”
Lesson No. 1
Let’s start with the women. With four minutes left in the gold medal game against Canada, they had a comfortable 2-0 lead which they worked very hard to earn. But, instead of staying focused till the final buzzer and running down the clock, they started thinking about how they’d look on the podium with gold medals around their necks and a worldwide audience watching them sing the Star Spangled Banner with tears in their eyes. A dumb penalty here, a bad bounce there. Next thing you know, the indefatigable Canadians tied up the game in regulation and scored again eight minutes into the overtime period to claim the top spot on the tear-filled medal podium.
Lesson: No matter how strong, skilled and experienced your competitors, when you have them on the ropes, you don’t ever let up. Don’t let them into your market when you’ve worked so hard to carve out your niche. Don’t ever let them steal your best clients or employees, and don’t ever think you’ve got the Big Market, Big Contract or Big Client locked up until the ink has truly dried on the contract.
Lesson No. 2
Now, on to the men. Unlike the women, the men’s team is composed of highly paid NHL professionals. They lost a tense 1-0 semifinal game on Friday to the eventual champions, Canada. But, instead of showing some pride in the bronze medal game against Finland, they’d played like an amateur team that had already packed its gear and checked out of Sochi. Their uninspired 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the highly motivated Finns sent the U.S. hockey program home medal-less and back to the proverbial drawing board.
Lesson: You’re never as good or as talented as you think you are and you never underestimate or disrespect your competition. You’re not always going to land the Big Contract, Big Client or Big Speaking Gig that you worked so hard to get. But, when the next opportunity comes around, you can’t waste time lamenting “the one that got away;“ you have to be ready to land the next one.
Congrats to Finland and Canada (twice) for winning with class and for putting their big contracts and Stanley Cup aspirations on hold to represent their countries with pride. That’s what the Olympics is all about.
There Are Some Fates Worse Than Death: Mike Drowley
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Drowley “Johnny Bravo” is Commander, 66th Weapons Squadron. He is a US Air Force Weapons School graduate and command A-10 pilot with multiple combat tours. Prior to his current position he was the Commander of Cadet Squadron 15 at the US Air Force Academy.