Jennifer Reynolds, CPA, CA
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I like to joke that “sports” is my only hobby. Growing up in Calgary I played as many sports as I could, including six different sports teams throughout high school. When I entered into the Commerce program at Queen’s University in 2009, I took a break from competitive sport for the first three years to focus on my courses, playing intramural soccer and basketball instead. However, my competitive spirit fueled me to join the Queen’s Triathlon team in my fourth year of university. With my dedication to training, I was named team MVP in my rookie year, as well as placing first in Ontario’s university triathlon competition for the 2012/2013 season.
Upon graduating from Queen’s in 2013, I moved to Toronto for work, and also obtained my Chartered Accountant designation. Currently, I work at Deloitte on Strategy and Growth initiatives in the Mergers and Acquisitions practice. Having left the varsity sports world, I channeled my athletic energy towards checking off a sub 4-hour marathon from my bucket list, as well as playing intramural sports three times a week.
Over the past few years, I have combined my passion for sports with my identity as gay through my volunteer work with the non-profit organization You Can Play. You Can Play works for LGBTQ inclusion in sport for all athletes, coaches, and fans. In my role as co-chair of You Can Play’s Board, I lead 25 volunteers in community outreach and fundraising activities across Eastern Canada.
How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?
Sports has a unique way of uniting individuals as they come together to achieve a common goal as teammates, or cheer for same the team as fans on the sidelines. Being involved in sport has played an integral role in shaping who I am today as I have been challenged to continually refine my communication, teamwork, relationship building, and leadership skills. My practice of setting goals to train harder and perform better in sport has helped me develop healthy habits for goal setting in my professional life. I am strong believer in the saying “you can achieve anything that you put your mind to” and have been able to see the impact of this across both my athletic and professional pursuits.
How has sport helped you be a better leader?
Authenticity is a key element in my effectiveness as a leader, both in the workplace and in sport settings. I believe that teams perform best when each member is able to be their true self as they are not holding back any part of who they are. When I came out as gay five years ago, I was fortunate to be accepted and supported by my various social circles in sport and at work, empowering me to be my true, authentic self. I attribute the courage I have today to the strong female role models I had growing up, many of which were my sports coaches. As a leader I choose to lead by example. By being confident in who I am, it enables others to view me and respect me as a leader.
What is one piece of advice would you have for young female athletes today?
Don’t be afraid of failure. Your ability to overcome obstacles and be resilient is considered success on its own. If you never try, you will never know.