Week 9: Viola Cheung, DC, MPA


Tell us a little about yourself.


I’ve been involved with sports in a variety of roles – as a competitive basketball and volleyball player, team trainer, and the Pam Am Games medical team. My interest in body mechanics led me to pursue Physical Health & Education, and ultimately my Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Clinical practice was extremely rewarding, but it also highlighted the far-reaching challenges faced by our health care system. With an opportunity to impact health on a larger scale, I returned to Queen’s University and completed a Masters in Public Administration. Currently, I’m enjoying the best of both worlds – working in health policy with the Ontario government, while maintaining a mobile chiropractic practice. Sports continue to be a key part of my lifestyle, with time for basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and softball.


How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?


Through my experiences, I’ve really appreciated the mental toughness developed through sports. Whether it was overcoming doubt in executing an offensive play, taking risks to get a crucial defensive stop, or pushing through lactic acid and exhaustion, having a positive and persistent mindset proved to be extremely valuable. I’d even say that it was my x-factor in both achieving success and overcoming failures. This mental toughness has been transferable to the demands of any workplace, for example, tackling an interview, preparing for a major presentation, or managing high stress levels.


How do you define leadership? What values matter to you most as a leader?


There are many aspects of leadership, but I define it as the ability to enable and motivate peers and teammates. While recognizing the different experiences, strengths, and weaknesses of each individual, using that insight to bring everyone together to work towards a collective goal is a powerful attribute. Under different situations, this could mean taking lead and directing the group, or in other cases, it is knowing when to lean on teammates and learn from others. What matters the most to me as a leader is not the what I do, but the how I choose to do things.