What are your different identities?
I would say my different identities include being a wife, a higher education policy advocate, a competitive cyclist, a triathlon coach, and a charity board member.
Give our readers a brief insight to your career background?
I actually graduated with an Honours degree in Criminal Justice back in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) which is where I am originally from. I spent a bit of time traveling Europe after I graduated and was looking for an opportunity to try something new and different. At the time, that meant getting on a plane and flying to Australia to start a new life! I had previously done some work researching domestic violence at a research institute in a hospital prior to coming to Australia and I came across a research job in a university here. The field was completely different from what I had studied previously but I was open to the challenge. I currently work for a student union providing higher education support and policy advice to the elected student representatives. While higher education policy was never an area I had thought I would be particularly passionate about, I have not only learned a great deal about the tertiary education sector in Australia, but I have a renewed understanding of theneed for an accessible, properly funded, quality education sector in Australia. I take great pride in my job and getting to work alongside those who aim to protect the integrity and accessibility of education in this country.
What made you decide to become a competitive athlete?
I have always had a bit of a competitive spirit, so naturally I was drawn to sports. I had previously been a soccer player from about age 5 until 25 years old when I decided to make the switch to triathlon shortly after I came to Australia. The weather was perfect to train all year round and having to master three sports was a challenge in itself. I hired a swim coach to teach me how to swim (I'm pretty sure her only other clients at that time were probably children!) I picked up a second-hand bike that did not fit me at all, and I got myself a triathlon coach so I would have a group of people to train with. I spent four years competing in triathlon, completed 8 Half-Ironman races and finished 7 half marathons.I decided to commit fully to cycling in late 2016 which has been an incredible change to my focus of cycling as a stand-alone sport.
Most of my motivation comes from self-improvement. I am a big data nerd so I love training data, and when I can see that my hard work and dedication is paying off and is reflected in the data, it is really rewarding for me. Even starting with triathlon, not knowing how to swim or cycle, or run - it has always been about learning something new and just trying to be better than I was before. The great thing about being a beginner is that you can make big improvements quite quickly if you are determined and I found that this was really motivating for me. All the small improvements have added up to make me competitive in my sport. This outcome has been fantastic but is just a bonus to the fact that I have improved over time and I am making progress in my goal to be better than I was before.
Your work around Advocacy is admirable. (Corrie is an accomplished Advocate within the Higher Education, Sporting and Public Health sectors). Can you give us some examples of major challenges “Women in Sport” face today?
I think one of the biggest challenges from women in sport at the moment is getting the exposure needed to promote women's participation. I understand that the money comes from sponsorship and sponsorship comes from exposure, so it is a bit of a tough battle for women's sports to try to fight for the exposure when the money really isn't there. This means that the wages for women in sport aren't feasible for most to live on and means that less women will pursue careers in professional sport if they can't support themselves or their families. I do however, believe that the situation is improving with more recognition for women with equal prize money in World Tour (cycling) races, and even locally, women are being offered a great number of initiatives to increase their involvement across all sports.We are definitely seeing a shift in the attitude and perceptions towards female athletes which I hope will continue on an upward trajectory.
You are currently a a Triathlon Australia Accredited Development Coach and pursuing a higher level coaching accreditation . What made you decide to pursue this path?
Having been a novice athlete and having to work so hard to get where I am in the sport now has really inspired to me help others try to achieve their goals. It was also a logical step to launch my coaching alongside my husband's business, Valetudo Health, which provides a great location for our training squad to operate from with a number of Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists, Dieticians, and massage services available for all our clients to access at the clinic/gym. I really enjoy teaching others about the sport, watching them discover new talents and making progress towards their goals. I am passionate about coaching because I love to see people do what they once thought was impossible. I find that my experience in the sport really helps me identify with a lot of the athletes that I coach because I know the ups and downs you come across in your journey. I hope that my own athletic journey can inspire others in some way as well.
You also sit on the board for the “Be Inspired Foundation", what do you aim to achieve through this?
The Be Inspired Foundation provides scholarships for disadvantaged Western Australian youth living with cancer, chronic disease, disabilities or major trauma requiring access to active rehabilitation. Scholarships from Be Inspired Foundation provide access to a treatment plan for dietetics, exercise physiology and counselling. As a member of the board, I think it is a valuable use of my time to support a charity which serves to improve the quality of life for youth who are unable to access services that can really have a life-changing effect for them. It has been incredible to have been on the board since the start of the charity and to see it grow to the level it is now due to all the hard work and dedication of the Board and its members. I hope to continue to play an active role and support the charity as it helps more and more youth access these incredibly valuable services.
You recently married, congratulations! I believe there’s a beautiful story here.... please do tell....
Yes! My wonderful husband, Shane, and I were just recently married in November. The day was better than I could have hoped for and we had a fantastic time. The engagement story is equally as unique as the day we were married. Shane proposed to me on top of the lookout at City Beach (where our first date was). We had a bit of time to kill before dinner so we decided to take a walk up onto the lookout to see the sunset. Shane told me to check my phone and I had a few messages from him that I had yet to check. The first one had an image with "Corrie" written in what appeared to be awkward hand-writing against a green background. The next messages that followed were also hand written on a green background but said "Will You Marry Me?". I looked at Shane and he was on one knee with a ring! It turns out the awkward handwriting and green background was actually a screenshot of the GPS Data (using his running watch) where he had mapped out on a field "Corrie, Will You Marry Me?" and run around the field to make the handwriting for the proposal images.
Being a passionate runner, and given the fact that both Shane and I are endurance sport enthusiasts, it was a very fitting proposal (to which of course I said YES).
How do you balance having multiple careers? (I.e What is your secret to performing at your optimum level?)
I think that being organised is definitely the key, but also making sure that you have time to enjoy your life and relax. My to-do list is often very long but I always ensure that after I complete a great deal of tasks, that I enjoy some downtime to refresh and re-energise, whether it be watching terrible Netflix shows, having a nap, catching up with friends, or getting a massage. Our daily list of tasks is never-ending but I think it is important to determine what needs to be done NOW and what can wait. Nothing kills my productivity more than being stressed out about not being productive. If you set smaller goals and achieve them, you will feel far better for having accomplished these tasks than trying to bite off more than you can chew.
What advice would you give to other “Modern Day Women” out there to inspire them to embrace their multiple identities?
My advice would be not to feel pressured to be everything all at once. There will be times in your life when you can only manage a few 'identities' at once, whether it be a wife, mother, entrepreneur, athlete, or volunteer. No identity is any more or any less worthwhile or valuable than any other. So long as you are doing your absolute best at being whatever person you decide to be, that will always be good enough.