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Athlete Jamie Broder is competing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but thanks to her BCom she’s also taking care of her long-term future with a budding career in finance.


thechallenge

At 5’7, Jamie Broder is one of Canada's shortest pro beach volleyball players.

“A lot of coaches would look at me and say ‘you’re a great all round athlete and you’re really dedicated, but we don’t see a ton of potential for you internationally,” said Broder. “That really annoyed me and fired me up - I wanted to prove them wrong."

Today, her Olympic future is certain. She’s heading to Rio to compete for Canada in the 2016 Summer Games. But it wasn't always that way.

In 2010, Broder had just graduated from UBC Sauder’s BCom program. It took considerable determination and time-management skills to successfully balance a business degree with Varsity athletics, but in the short term she had her sights set on a professional beach volleyball career. So upon graduation Broder moved to Toronto to train.

That’s when the ground fell out from under her.

“Unexpectedly I was cut from the team,” said Broder. “It threw a wrench in my plans and made me question whether what I was pursuing was worth it."

Not ready to give up her dream, she stayed in Toronto training and waiting for another shot, while her newfound business skills enabled her to work.

thepersonality

Broder doesn’t gloat about proving past coaches wrong, even though she was once so close to missing out on her dream. Instead, she talks up the coaches and teammates that supported her. One such coach is Doug Reimer, who led the UBC Volleyball team when she was pursuing her BCom at UBC Sauder.

“He did such a great job fostering our development and really cared about us as people on and off the court, not only as athletes,” said Broder. “We had such a great group of girls that year, and Reimer helped bring out the leader in all of us."

In her BCom, Broder specialized in real estate and human resource management.

“Human resources most aligned with me and my set of skills,” said Broder. “I think being on so many teams growing up and having to deal with so many personalities gave me a lot of the skills needed to manage people."

This was one of the first times she realized how applicable her skills in sport were to business, and vice versa.

Jamie Broder quote

theexperience

Broder has spent many years balancing two demanding schedules: sport and business. It hasn’t been easy.

“You travel a lot for a Varsity team, UBC’s team was playing matches every weekend in a different province,” said Broder. “And there are a ton of group projects to work on at UBC Sauder, so I had to coordinate and juggle meetings from the road and ensure I stayed connected."

“I think it’s so important in sport, in business and in life, to hold yourself to high standards,” she said.

Broder said she’s done her best to maintain those standards in her professional life, first at UBC Sauder and now at RBC, where she’s part of the RBC Olympians Program. This program allows her to work on a flexible, part-time schedule while she’s training.

“Finding hands-on and meaningful work is a challenge as an athlete, there aren’t many companies that can support our lifestyle,” said Broder. “RBC has been incredible in doing that. Both they and UBC Sauder have given me the tools I need to build a foundation for life after sport."

Part of Broder's deal with RBC involves speaking engagements. She helps communicate lessons in leadership, drive and self-discipline from her world of sport to the world of business for colleagues in the office to use.

thechange

Broder's five-year indoor volleyball career came to an end at UBC Sauder, when she helped UBC win their first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league championship in 30 years. She won the honour of becoming CIS championship tournament all-star, and her team's victory that year kicked off a six-championship winning streak for UBC in the CIS.

In 2010, she fought for her spot on Canada’s team and won it. “The coach saw my dedication and perseverance and I made the national team,” said Broder.

Then, in 2015, Broder made Canadian history by winning the first ever medal for Canadian Women’s Beach Volleyball, a gold medal at the International Volleyball Federation Open in China.

Now, she’s heading to Rio for the Olympic Games.

“It’s very exciting, I’m thrilled to be going to Rio to represent Canada,” said Broder. “It’s kind of crazy that we are here, but at the same time we planned for this and worked for it so now that we have the result it’s just icing on the cake."

She hasn’t made concrete plans for after the Olympics yet.

“Part of me is wondering if I’ll retire from beach volleyball or keep playing longer,” said Broder. “But whatever I do I just want to make sure I use both my business skills and athletic background to inspire other young women to have the confidence to meet their goals in life."

 

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