Martha Henderson represented Canada with her sailing team at the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing.
We met in Toronto’s Bloor West Village neighbourhood at a lively café to talk about her Olympic journey, becoming an entrepreneur and how resilience played a part in both journeys.
She started her story by telling me that she sailed at a high level for much of her life. Being introduced to the sport by her father who is a two-time Olympian in sailing, you might say that its in her blood.
She began sailing at age six and racing at nine.
When some considered her to be “too old” for competition, Martha was in her 30s when she assembled a team that would train to qualify for the 2008 Beijing games.
Recognizing her seniority, Martha recalls, “I was a good 8 to 10 years older than some of my teammates. This didn’t affect our rapport, because we had the same goal, but I did go to bed a lot earlier.”
Assembling a team is not a simple feat. In Martha’s case, she was also working as a consultant but treated her burgeoning team like a small business.
The sailing component was just a small part of the operation.
“There was fundraising, marketing, recruiting team members, shipping the boat to competitions, renting cars in foreign countries and building the right team with the right personalities that would fit together.”
At 40 years of age and in a career highlight, Martha and her team finished 13th at the Olympics, which should have put the naysayers who told her that she was too old to shame.
She now runs a business called, Rising Tides. Her vision is to inspire men and women to be better everyday through health and wellness, public speaking engagements and experiential travel.
What she learned in and out of the water is true to the old saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
She is taking her leadership expertise and doing for her clients what she did for her sailing team. Proving that the steps you make everyday will help you achieve your goals.
Learn more about Rising Tides at www.risingtides.ca
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