Olympian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser holding Canadian flag open

In an interview with CPA Canada, Hayley Wickenheiser shared her thoughts on finance and leadership, emphasizing how more can be done to champion women in the profession. (Richard Lautens/Contributor/Getty Images)

Innovation | Events

‘Stay steady’ in age of disruption, says hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser

The four-time Olympic gold medallist shares her insights at the annual Financial Executives International Canada conference

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In an age of disruption, ride the tide and stay focused through the chaos, advises Canadian hockey icon, Hayley Wickenheiser.

“That’s not an easy thing to do, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow for a while,” she said in an interview with CPA Canada. “Stay steady through that, before you get normalizing through your new normal.” 

The four-time Olympic gold medallist—who is regarded as one of the top female hockey players in the world—was on hand as the closing keynote speaker during the Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada) conference. CPA Canada is one of the FEI’s national strategic partners and was a platinum sponsor of the annual event, which was held in Halifax, N.S., from June 13 to 15.

There, Wickenheiser addressed around 400 finance professionals—from CFOs to directors to treasurers—speaking to the conference theme, Oceans of Innovation, which highlighted trends that are changing the world, sustainable practices and the evolving roles of CFOs.

In an on-site interview, Wickenheiser shared her thoughts on finance and leadership, emphasizing how more can be done to champion women in the profession and how, to stay relevant, we must rise to the occasion, embrace change and think outside the box.

“Opening doors, whether it’s male leadership opening doors for women to come up, or women who are in senior positions to sort of champion and bring along other female leaders,” she said.

“The world of finance is changing on a daily basis; the way that we are looking at money and how we transact things. So, you have to be very nimble, on your feet and ready to adapt to change.” 

Wickenheiser believes part of this is seeking new ideas and approaches within the industry that perhaps challenge the status quo. “That’s where diversity is also important,” she added. “People with different ways of thinking can often come up with much better ideas than one single-minded vision.”  

Since announcing her retirement from hockey last January, Wickenheiser, 39, has continued her educational pursuits at medical school, after receiving a master’s degree in science from the University of Calgary at age 37, and accepting an honorary degree from NorQuest College in Edmonton, Alta. She also coaches and mentors hockey players around the world, which included a recent trip to North Korea to work with female and male hockey teams following the Winter Games in South Korea.

Other speakers at the conference this year included OpenText vice chairman, Mark Barrenechea, and lead economist for The World Bank, Ejaz Ghani. FEI Canada is an all-industry membership association that provides professional development, thought leadership and advocacy services to its 1,500 members within 11 chapters across Canada.

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