London, UK,

Raising a NextGen athlete

Yvette Hughes, Civil engineer

The Rio Olympics is in full swing. My youngest son Marshall is a sprint kayaker on Canoe Kayak Canada’s Senior National Team. He is also a NextGen athlete, training for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Being the parent of two successful young men I sometimes wonder who has raised whom. They both have chosen a path in life that has opened a world of opportunity. Clearly, Marshall’s journey as a high performance athlete is fuelled by passion, hard work, excitement, disappointment, and sometimes reward. As a parent I get to share in this amazing journey, which for me is filled with one constant roller coaster ride of emotion! The principles that propelled Marshall to the Senior National Team are the same ones that can propel a good client relationship into a great one.

Marshall started paddling at Cheema in Waverley, Nova Scotia, when he was ten. I remember his first race and cheering him on from the shore…… until he stopped in the race and said, “Mom, you’re not helping!” He is 21 now and our family has done a lot of cheering and supporting. Marshall won his first international gold medal in the 2012 Pan American Canoe/Kayak Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has competed nationally and internationally in many competitions since then.

The world of sport enriches all who venture in it, both athlete and parent. As a parent, I see the focus, work ethic and determination that Marshall brings to his training and competition. Imagine if we all were taught at a young age that, 'today you will strive to beat your personal best'. A very empowering message and valuable life skill to learn. One that applies equally to the business world and to approaching work with clients. Each day should be approached with the thought, “How can I exceed my client’s expectations?” The same focus, work ethic and determination that has helped Marshall get to the level he’s at, can also help a business achieve results for clients that exceed their expectations.

A parent’s support is only a part of what it takes to raise an athlete. Raising a high performance athlete requires the support of coaches, sport organisations, sponsors, friends and family. Thanks to the dedication of coaches, when an athlete graduates from the career of high performance sport they bring with them valuable life skills and the work ethic it takes to succeed. To a sponsor, the support for an athlete is a very sound investment and as our next generation of leaders, athletes bring high performance to a company’s organisation and to our communities. In business we require the support of our colleagues, managers and supervisors to ensure we are successful. When a client succeeds, we succeed. Our past successes become the showcase of our high performance and dedication, one that we take with us into our next challenge.

I am an avid fan of the Olympics and am planning to be sitting in the stands in 2020 sharing (and cheering) in Marshall’s goal to be an Olympian.


Meet the blogger

Yvette HughesYvette Hughes has 30 years’ experience in the consulting industry providing construction materials engineering, geotechnical engineering and QA/QC services for various civil infrastructure projects. Yvette is a Civil Engineer with a Master degree in Concrete Materials Technology. As a Concrete Materials Specialist at Amec Foster Wheeler, Yvette specializes in the design of high performance concrete for structures that will be in service for more than 100 years. Previous roles include Business Unit Manager responsible for supporting discipline leads in servicing client needs, developing and meeting performance targets consistent with the Amec Foster Wheeler’s local business model and managing human resources. When she is not consulting, she enjoys catching up with her two sons, John and Marshall, and husband Tom. She has taken on many volunteer roles in industry and in her community and is currently Past Commodore for Cheema Aquatic Club in Waverley, NS.