Sport and Business Share Common Ground when it comes to Performance.

On April 29, 2019, a unique event was held on the floor of the Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Velodrome) in Milton on Leadership Lessons In Sports (read about the event here). This event was held by the Town of Milton and the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre and produced by Silicon Halton. The presenters provided almost three hours of valuable leadership lessons. 

We’ve captured the salient points below.

Keynote Presenter

Dr. Nicole W. Forrester 

Dr. Nicole Forrester is an Olympian, 8-Time Canadian Champion, Commonwealth Games Gold and Bronze medalist, and a Pan American Games Silver and Bronze medalist. She is an assistant professor at Ryerson University, specializing in sport psychology and high performance. She is also a registered consultant with the Canadian Sport Psychology Association.

Lessons Learned: 

Top medalists performance is 90% mental and 10% physical

Strategically tie short term goals that you can control with long term big goals; think of it as a process

“Everyone on your team has to know the Goal (your mission)”

To improve performance, in athletics (in life and business!), establish an IST (Integrated Support Team); use same approach to teams that Jim Collins talks about in Good to Great

Belief in your ability to make the challenge your faced with

[LinkedIn] [Twitter] [Web] [Optimal Zone Inc.


Educational Keynote

Dr. Simon Taggar, Professor of Management, Wilfrid Laurier University, BSc, MBA, PhD.

Simon is Professor of Management in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University.  Dr. Taggar researches leadership, creativity and strategic human resources management. In addition to his research, Simon’s experience includes working as a management consultant and as a commercial Banker.

Lessons Learned: 

“A Leader’s ‘Mission and Vision’ has to win the hearts & minds (of employees, customers, the board, etc.)”

The essence of Fit = 1) do you have the same values and 2) do you have skills that are complementary to the team?

Better leaders focus on visible performance outcomes

Competence as team is critical to success

The great leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. She the one who jets the people to do the right things

Leadership is defined as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals.

Obviously we all want great players, but find the ones who think team first – that’s a challenge

Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your habits, they become your character.



Industry Presenters

A series of short sprints from a cross-section of industry speakers, covering a unique aspect of their business or market, and a leadership and team techniques that works well in their company or market, or by them personally. 

Ben Zimmer, Founder & CEO, Enable Education

Enable Education helps local business onboard, upgrade, and engage their staff by creating custom training experiences at their innovative facilities in Milton, Ontario.

Lessons Learned: 

“If you don’t live your values, they are meaningless”

Values is not just words they have to be lived. Enable’s values is: RECIPE (Revolutionary, Effective, Curious, Inclusive, Passionate, Ethical)

“We added a company values video to Job Postings and overnight it changed the quality of candidates (we received)”

[LinkedIn] [Twitter] [Instagram] [Facebook] [Web


Michelle Stanford, Senior Vice President, Industry Services, Canadian Welding Bureau

CWB Group is a non profit regulatory body overseeing the welding sector in Canada. They provide certification, education and consulting services to companies and ensure the quality and safety of welding in manufacturing and construction and has their head office in Milton.

Lessons Learned: 

“High performing welding teams know the big picture”

“Welders take pride in their work and they’ll even brag about it. They’re reinforcing when they do something good and right”

Seconded importance of “IST”that Keynote Nicole Forrester referred to.

Everything you need personally and professionally is available to our employees in the Town of Milton.

Key traits of high performance people and teams: 1) Character, 2) Competence and 3) Commitment

[LinkedIn] [Twitter] [Web


Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine Mohawk Park

Jessica has the good fortune to help grow and promote standardbred racing in Ontario while creating an entertainment destination for the region.

Lessons Learned: 

“We were intentional as to what type of culture to create”

“We look for new people who can fit our values”

Leadership of (our) company is driven by 9 values and beliefs.(posted on their website)

[Instagram] [Twitter – Woodbine] [Twitter – Jessica] [Web]


Matt Cavalieri, MBA, P.Eng. Plant Manager, LVDA at Eaton

Matt joined Eaton in 2010 as part of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) and has held a number of Operations & Engineering Leadership roles within the Milton Low-Voltage Distribution Assemblies (LVDA) operation. In June 2018 Matt officially became the youngest Plant Manager in LVDA history!

Dixon Lee, Product Manager, Residential, Retail & Light Commercial. Joining Matt will be Dixon Lee who joined Eaton in 2008 as Product Specialist, Automatic Transfer Switches & Power Quality, leveraging his unparalleled passion to quickly advance through the ranks of the Canadian Marketing organization.

Lessons Learned: 

“Our company is ‘values driven’ with ‘passion’ being one (of the values) and the glue that marries strategy with the hearts and minds of the people that care deeply about the things they do”

Expect leadership to think strategically

“We interview for EATON values”

“Collaboration 2.0” – EATON leverages Yammer for online collaboration to reduce barriers to collaboration across borders and functions.

 Augmented Reality is used on the factory floor. One benefit is faster onboarding of new employees

“We only have to walk across the street to get talent” (once Wilfrid Laurier University starts classes at MEV Innovation Village)

We’re using to collaborate and innovate

[Web] [Twitter] [Matt LinkedIn] [Dixon LinkedIn]


Lisa Macneil, Divisional President of Ontario, Gordon Food Service

From the beginning, Lisa’s career has spanned across three major corporate acquisitions. Her diversified professional experience has taken her through many key positions within the organization, ultimately leading to her current role as the President of the Ontario. Within this role Lisa oversee’s all aspects of the Division from Operations to Sales, Marketing, HR & Finance.

Lessons Learned: 

We have a Values driven leadership (values posted on their website).

Shared how they communicate to each person that “Your role has a purpose and impact”

[Web] [Twitter-GFS] [LinkedIn]




Primary Deck:


Keynote Dr. Nicole Forrester Presentation:


Academia Keynote Presentation: Dr. Simon Taggar, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University:


Twitter Threads: Live During Event | Post Event



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