We find, celebrate and learn from the heroes that walk in our midst every day. We are honoured to hear the true stories our guests reveal so openly and authentically with us. It is a privilege to capture each hero’s journey and to share their experience and wisdom with our listeners.
Episode#74: Claire Hanna
If you were ever wanting to hear the story of someone who
has worked for absolutely everything she’s ever gotten in life, then, you’ve found the right story. Our guest today is Claire Hanna. Most recently, you may have seen Claire on the sidelines of the 2023 Grey Cup championship game as part of the TSN broadcast. Or, you may know her name from the volleyball world, in which, she is a 3-time National champion with the UBC Thunderbirds, she went
on to play pro AND was a member of the Senior National women’s volleyball team for 4 years too. She is a 2-time Canada West libero of the year and even nabbed the CIS Libero of the Year title in 2010.
Claire’s dreams didn’t stop when volleyball ended though.
Her dream of becoming a TV broadcaster for TSN was also on her list… and much like she pursued her volleyball dreams, she went after the TV dream too. The best part is she feels the best stories in her life are yet to come… but stop for a bit and listen to this one. But be careful, you may be inspired to put in a whole lot of work after you do.
Episode # 73: Mark Borowiecki
“A 30-year reunion… do your ex-teammates want to come sit at a table with you because you scored a bunch of goals or was it because you were a good person and a good teammate? That’s always kind of stuck with me.”
That’s just one of the things recently retired NHL hockey
player, Mark Borowiecki said when we chatted about his life story. You see, he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators and played there for a decade before being
traded to Nashville, where, only recently, his playing career came to an end.
But Mark doesn’t only have a hockey story… he’s been on a mental health journey of his own as well. When he played he was a fighter. A tough guy. But on the inside there were some dark times. He talks about that,
his motivation to carry on and how he now wants to use every experience he’s had to help others and with his current job in Professional Player Development
for the Nashville Predators, he is poised to do just that!
Take a listen and hear the story for yourself!
Episode #72: Danny Zhilkin
“I think the biggest thing is just finding the motivation within yourself. If this is something you want to do and if this is your passion, I think you’ll have no problem having that motivation to succeed.”
Well, 19-year-old hockey player Danny Zhilkin is certainly motivated, and he has been since he was a 9-year-old boy in Russia, when his entire family moved to Canada so that he could pursue his dream of not only making it into the NHL but winning the Stanley Cup. He’s not there yet but with his focus and confidence, truly the sky’s the limit.
Never mind he’s already started “Zhilkin’s Vision”, a foundation committed to creating safe spaces for athletes to speak out and find resources to help with their mental health journeys too.
He is currently playing for the Manitoba Moose in the Winnipeg Jets organization and if you ask him what he needs to do to make it all the way, he’ll tell you this: “Just stay focussed. I know what my goals are and what I need to work on. Putting in the work every single day. Dreaming beyond your beliefs. Dreaming of that Stanley Cup every single day. Keep being motivated and passionate about what I do. Just – keep -- going.”
Listen to Danny’s story and you’ll be cheering him on to do just that.
Episode #71: Team Toogood
“It’s not just about, ‘How can I get a million people to buy
my stuff?’ it’s ‘How can I get one person to be affected by the stuff that we
are saying and that we are sharing’ – and that for me is this.”
“Heroes in our Midst” host Michelle Sawatzky-Koop said that
in conversation with creator Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, when asked about what
“Heroes in our Midst” means to her. That’s it. Being the vehicle for some
incredible humans to share their stories and then, for us to learn from it all.
Sport is an incredible vehicle for stories of challenge, 100% commitment,
dedication, hard work, perseverance, pure joy and devastation… potentially all
in the same season. We live life in seasons too, so why should we not learn
from each other.
In this episode, Michelle and Adrienne look back at their
most recent season of guests and find that as they unpack some of the things
they’ve heard, the lessons just keep coming.
“It’s more about getting to know yourself deeply and
understanding how you work, so that you can show up authentically as yourself
and you know how to manage it, so you can get consistency out of your
performance when it matters the most.”
Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood
Take a listen and be inspired to listen even more!
Episode #70: Sara Orlesky
“Hard work pays off and we all fall down at some point, the
important thing is to get back up.”
Those are the words Sara Orlesky ended our conversation
with, in this episode of “Heroes in our Midst”, and the stories she has to tell
along the way lead us to that.
Sara is now the Senior Host and Producer of the Jets content
team and it’s been a lifetime of stories that has gotten her there. Sara has
been “all in” since the day she decided on her chosen career and when you hear
her share her life story, you will be amazed at her work ethic and her
willingness to do whatever it took to reach her dreams.
Episode # 69: Catherine Wreford Ledlow
“Winning Amazing Race Canada has made my platform much bigger and I’m able to reach out more to people and be a bigger advocate for brain cancer and every kind of cancer and people with disabilities and people who don’t think they can do something – I’ve proven them WRONG!”
She most certainly has.
Catherine has danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, she’s performed on Broadway and yes, won “Amazing Race Canada” all while living with a cancer diagnosis that will, as she will tell you, end her life. But she has NO plans on stopping anytime soon. She is a best friend, a wife, a mother of 2, a champion and an inspiration and advocate for so many!
So, really… who is this incredible human? Listen to find out.
This pod is such a great listen! I love how in depth and interesting each heroes story is. I love the host Michelle and how she is so well spoken and just an amazing human! Keep up the great work guys!!