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How to Build High-Performing Teams: Olympic Lessons from Team Canada

Practical insights on trust, communication and well-being

Thursday May 23, 2024
1:00-2:00 PM EDT
A number of colourful arrows combine together to create one bright red arrow pointing upward. The Canadian Olympic Committee and Smith School of Business logo.

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What does it take to create an effective team — one that can think big, plan ahead and handle critical moments with ease? There is no better place to look for practical lessons than the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympic Games. 

Whether on the track or behind the scenes, the Olympics are a monumental event to bring to life. Teamwork is crucial for success. 

So what can we learn from the staff at the Canadian Olympic Committee who put together everything needed to send Team Canada athletes to an Olympic Games? What steps do they take that the rest of us can learn from and take back to our teams and projects at work? 

As Team Canada prepares for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, now is the perfect time to find out. 

On Thursday, May 23 at 1 p.m. (ET), join Smith Business Insight for this free 60-minute webinar on teamwork strategies and lessons developed by “the team behind the team” to ensure Canadian athletes are set up for high performance at the Games. Featuring Olympians and current Canadian Olympic Committee employees Erica Wiebe and Marie-Andrée Lessard, you will find out what it takes to get Team Canada to the Olympic Games — and working together to reach the podium. 

You will learn: 

  • Key steps to prepare a high-performing team for success
  • How to create trust among the group and align values
  • The importance of clear communication and collaboration
  • How to eliminate distractions when the pressure is greatest
  • Ways to maintain mental health for team members

This webinar will offer unique insights into leadership and teamwork, and will be of interest to anyone who works on a team, no matter the venue. 

Session Participants

Marie-Andrée Lessard

Senior Director of Games, Canadian Olympic Committee

At five-foot-six, Marie-Andrée Lessard is an unlikely London 2012 Olympian in the sport of beach volleyball. She has been senior director of Games with the Canadian Olympic Committee since 2019, navigating an Olympic Games postponement and two Olympic Games during the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a graduate of the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA Americas program (class of 2024), and a certified Clifton Strengths coach. Marie-Andrée leads with authenticity, courage, vulnerability and an unrelenting desire to see those around her reveal their full potential when it matters most.

Erica Wiebe

Manager of Athlete Relations, DEI and Safe Sport, Canadian Olympic Committee

Erica Wiebe is the 2016 Olympic Champion in the sport of freestyle wrestling. She is also an eight-time national champion, World University Champion, two-time Commonwealth Games Champion and 2018 World Championships bronze medallist. Erica is a passionate advocate for the power of sport and volunteers her time as a coach and ambassador with Right to Play, Fast & Female, Kidsport Alberta and as vice-chair of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. When not taking people down and/or promoting sport as a tool to create positive social change, she works as a manager of athlete relations, safe sport and DEI at the Canadian Olympic Committee. Erica is a graduate of the EMBA Americas program, a partnership between Queen's and Cornell universities. 

Mitch Gudgeon


Mitch Gudgeon is the director of partnerships and special projects at Smith School of Business. He holds an MBA from Smith, and is a former Senior National Team Rugby and varsity basketball player. He has also worked as a sports marketing consultant and is a serial entrepreneur. He has a passion for building high performance team culture and enhancing collaboration.