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  • Writer's pictureSidekick

Kickin’ it with Sidekick: Gord Grace

Celebrating awesome entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs just like you. Learn from others’ stories, successes, advice, and actions.

Gord Grace

Meet Gord Grace, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) for over eight years. Gord has an illustrious career in sport and in particular, university sport. Prior to joining the OUA, Gord was the Chief Marketing Officer at U SPORTS, the national governing body of university sport in Canada. His university sport roots, however, go back even further, having spent time at Mount Allison University before joining the University of Windsor, wherein he served as the Director of Athletics and Recreation for 11 years.

We love how motivated Gord is by his work! His story is a prime example of how passion goes a long way. Get to know Gord and his thoughts below:

1. How do you stay motivated to keep your cup full?

With the line of work that I'm in, it's never been hard to be motivated. I get to develop sport opportunities for student athletes, which truly excites me. If you have a passion for what you do, you love it, and you know it means a lot to the people you serve, it doesn't seem that hard.

Beyond that, I am motivated by attending sporting events and seeing how much student athletes enjoy their experience. I get a lot of juice from seeing their excitement.

2. Do you have any personal ethos that helps guide your choices and decisions? If so, what are they and where did they come from?

More than anything, it's working with good people. They inspire you, give you guidelines, and they reinforce your values.

3. What is the most important lesson that you've learned throughout your career so far?

I could share 100, but here are three that stand out:

1) Think long-term. I didn't think as long-term as I should have when I was younger. Think about what job or experience you want next, but also those you want in 5 or 10 years.

2) As you move through your career, there will be highs and lows. The highs will never be as high as you think, and the lows will never be as low as you think. While dealing with something uncomfortable, unsettling or disappointing, know that something good will be around the corner. You just have to prepare for the good things and bad things. That's just the nature of life.

3) Maintain your network. It's incredible how you much you can have in common with people when you ask a few questions. This is especially important for young people in their careers to fasten their networks and maintain those friendships.

4. Is there something you wish you knew before starting your current role/career?

Dream big. It's amazing how far you can go.

When you meet people who have accomplished a lot, you realize they are just people who happen to work hard and are passionate about what they do. Set your goals high because it is a long career, and it's not unattainable. You can get there if you are committed and build your network; it's all within reach. Whatever career aspiration that might be – the Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs or running a large foundation - it's all there if you want it.

5. What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like?

My first 30 minutes are often at 5 am, and then somehow, I can convince myself to go back to sleep. If I'm up at 5 am, I make notes on the pad of paper on my bedside table. I write down something I've thought of during the night or what I want to accomplish during the day. Being a sports person, I also check ESPN or TSN to see the outcomes of some games and what's happening in the news.

6. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

Time travel would be so cool. You think of things in terms of your life span, but what would the person who was me in the 1900s or during WWI be like? I'd be more interested in going backwards than forward. I find history fascinating and how much the world has changed in 100, let alone 20 years.

We loved learning Gord’s thoughtful and inspirational responses. From his motivations to his advice, Gord’s insights has something to offer for every leader or young professional.

Stay up to date with Gord on LinkedIn.

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