CSCA Advisory Team Spotlight – Jennifer Stielow

Published On: July 28, 2023Categories: Career

CSCA Advisory Team Members Jennifer Stielow is the Performance Pathway Manager & Performance Data Analyst at Alpine Canada. She strives to support individuals who can train sensibly and systematically in a safe, clean, and professional manner for individual growth, enjoyment, and the development of performance excellence in both sport and life.

CSCA: How did you initially find out about the CSCA? 

JS: After online searching for credentials in Canada, I found the website and subscribed to the newsletter. I was struck by the content and thought, here is a group of people doing great work in Canada to help connect and educate S&C coaches. I then had the opportunity to connect with Carla Robbins, a CSCA Advisory Team member, about her experience with the Association. Following our conversation, she sent me an application to join the team.

CSCA: What are your current duties with Alpine Canada? 

JS: In my role, I focus on implementing project-based training camps and leading nationally selected teams to international competitions at the U16, U18 and U21 levels, including the Junior World Ski Championships from 2019 – 2023, intending to progress athletes along the podium pathway. I work closely with the Provincial and Territorial Technical Directors and Coaches to identify and develop NextGen coaches and athletes. Furthermore, I am responsible for developing the athletes’ Gold Medal Profiles in alpine and ski cross disciplines, including the deployment across the Canadian Sport Development System. 

 In addition to my administrative and system development duties, I lead the development, implementation and management of athlete monitoring and evaluation tools for Alpine Canada. The metrics used by our sport include daily health and wellness, workload metrics, and injury statistics, along with tracking of performance-based metrics with all identified athletes within the high-performance pathway. With these metrics, we are also looking to develop simple tracking methods for the coaches and athletes. We strive to be thoughtful in designing our tracking tools and techniques from a financial and staffing perspective. For example, it isn’t always easy to travel with force plates!

CSCA: You own your company, Summit Training Systems, which you started in 2010. Has Alpine been supportive of you running your private company, and what is the focus of your company? 

JS: Alpine has supported me in maintaining my consulting company since I joined them over seven years ago. My business sometimes takes a back seat to my primary position, as Alpine is my priority. Around my planned summer downtime, I can coach athletes and coaches from various sports at various developmental levels through Summit Training. Having this opportunity available from a professional development perspective is a privilege. The work within my company helps keep my mind fresh by being presented with new challenges, which motivates me and helps to recharge my batteries. It also enables me to expand my industry connections, which I have occasionally utilized to benefit my current role with Alpine. However, I purposely do not consult with other Snowsport National Sport Organizations and teams to avoid conflicts. 

CSCA: Knowing what you know now about working with high-performance athletes and managing your own company, what advice would you give yourself 20 years ago?

JS: Mentorship is critical. Find good mentors as soon as you can. Find mentors that push you, guide you and those you can rely on during difficult situations. Also, critical thinking is vital to development. Make sure you know yourself and your values. Try to be aware of your confirmational biases. Become a great documentarian and researcher. Have the courage to say this is right or wrong. Search for self-awareness and stay grounded in the fundamentals. 

CSCA: Finally, what do you consider to be a critical factor contributing to your success and career? 

JS: When deciding which school to attend, I interviewed the professors at the prospective schools I was considering. I did not rely on a school’s reputation but instead met with people at the institutes to gain a sense of their philosophies. I did my homework. As a result, I gained the best possible experience for myself and gained the applied skills I desired based on a philosophy that matched my needs.

One of the keys to my success in business is the guidance of my parents. My dad is an accountant, so it was helpful when getting started to be aware of being financially responsible, how to set up my business and not overstretch myself. For those less fortunate than myself, several free resources are available to new and current business owners in each province and territory through business and economic development offices. Building a business takes time and will ebb and flow; don’t panic! 

CSCA: Thank you for your time, Jenni, all the best during ski season!

Jenni with husband Duane Baird

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