Then and now (a series) Part 1: Emily

From 1996-1999 I managed a retail store in Whistler and we ALL grew together as leaders regardless of what our titles were in the store.  For this series, I reached out to as many of the 60+ employees that made up what I considered my “family” in Whistler. I look back at this picture and am in awe at the talent here, smiling as I think of these leaders today changing the world in their own way. I asked each of them one simple question: “What does EVERYDAY LEADERSHIP mean to you… and what if anything inspired that philosophy from your time working in Whistler at Can-Ski over 20 years ago?”

This is their individual stories… in their words.


Emily Schmid

Student Researcher, Community Psychology
Wilfrid Laurier University

To me, EVERYDAY leadership is using your power and privilege, whatever advantages you may have, to help those you around you to succeed. Be it with family, friends, co-workers, or employees, it is a guiding principal. To me, true leadership involves sacrifice, humility, empathy, and the willingness to identify and nurture potential. That doesn’t mean coddling or enabling. It means providing opportunity, sharing knowledge, extending trust, and having faith, as well as giving emotional support. Sometimes, everyday leadership involves taking the reigns and guiding. Sometimes it involves taking a step back and letting those around you take a turn up front. It always involves putting what’s best for others before what’s best for you.

Much of what I learned about leadership was cultivated by the leadership team at CanSKI over 20 years ago. I am very fortunate to have been shown what selfless leadership is. Christine’s leadership team was taught to believe in people, develop their strengths while encouraging their interests, and always focus on building an inclusive and supportive culture. The team was also encouraged to constantly challenge themselves to be better and learn more. This focus on people always produced exceptional results and created an environment where everyone was invested in the business and the team. After moving on from CanSKI, I continue to apply the principles I learned from Christine and the rest of our leadership team to every everything I do. Christine’s constant challenge to be better, develop my interests, and learn more, played a part in leading me back to university where I am driven to help marginalized populations succeed through making a meaningful contribution to social policy.


After a very short foray into downhill mountain bike racing, Emily Schmid embarked on a very interesting, 20-year, sales and marketing career, spent almost entirely in the exciting snow-sports and bicycle industries. After experimenting with more lucrative sales positions in less passion-driven industries, Emily began evolving into the woman she is now and found her calling in the Community Psychology department of Wilfrid Laurier University where she researches gender barriers to employment. Her goal is to greatly improve employment experiences for marginalized people. Emily lives in Waterloo, ON, with her two beautiful children and two cuddly kitties.