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We Spoke To Olympic Champion Tessa Virtue About Her Career Change & Here’s What She Told Us

"I dream of launching my own business, for sure!"

The pandemic wasn't something anyone had anticipated happening, and it's impacted every aspect of people's lives, from how they live to the way they work, and even what it looks like to interact with friends and family.

Think about the way that your life has changed over the last year. Maybe you're working from home and have stopped going for weekly brunch with your pals. Perhaps catching up with your grandparents changed from in-person visits to phone calls. You might be using your laptop more than ever before to stay entertained, keep in touch or continue your education.

No doubt, having technology within easy reach has been particularly helpful for people adapting to this new way of life.

From catching up with loved ones over video calls when it wasn't safe to do so physically, to entire companies meeting virtually from every corner of the world, you could say that technology made getting through this pandemic possible.

Someone who's no stranger to transformation is Olympic and World Ice Dance Champion Tessa Virtue. Following her retirement from ice dancing, Virtue has moved on to the next chapter of her career. She's taking her competitive nature and winning attitude to the business world, pursuing her Executive MBA at Queen's University and starting a new job at one of Canada's leading consulting firms.

Virtue is adapting to this way of life and is doing her learning virtually, using products from Microsoft to help navigate this new and exciting path. With products like Microsoft 365, Surface Laptop Go, and Surface Duo, Microsoft has helped Virtue transition from the ice to the office seamlessly.

These products have also helped to make flexible work environments possible, as Virtue has seen firsthand in her transition to the workplace and classroom while working and learning from home.

In this interview with Narcity, Virtue discusses the next chapter of her career and the personal challenges that come with it, how COVID-19 has impacted her approach to her education and career, and how technology has helped her with that transition.

Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.

Let's start off by speaking about something that's affecting us all right now: the pandemic. These are challenging times. What's it been like for you?

"What a strange and scary time it's been for everyone! Relatively speaking, I have been incredibly fortunate in that those closest to me have remained safe and healthy. And every day I am grateful to have a sense of purpose with both work and school!

"Grappling with such widespread uncertainty has meant turning inward for meaningful self-reflection and I'm emboldened by the outcome of that self-work. Thank you for asking!"

You announced your retirement from professional skating after more than two decades (and five Olympic medals) on the ice with partner Scott Moir. That must have been a huge transition. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your decision to retire from competitive ice dancing and take on new challenges?

"I am completely obsessed with improving and learning! I knew it would be pertinent for me, once leaving sport, to set short-term, tangible goals that required the adoption of new skills and a sense of pressure (what can I say, I prefer to live in the "uncomfortable" to challenge myself!).

"Having worked on building my brand in the business realm 10+ years, I wanted to get a deeper understanding of the corporate landscape. Not to mention, after being defined by a job that was so physical in nature, part of me wants to prove my worth academically, too!

"My school experience has been abnormal from about grade four or five on, given the demands of training. Prioritizing education now feels like such a privilege!"

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's Moulin Rouge at PyeongChang 2018 | Music Mondays www.youtube.com

You've taken on the fashion and beauty industry with several collaborations. What drew you to take on the world of business and get an MBA?

"I dream of launching my own business, for sure! But it's not something I take lightly and, if I pursue an entrepreneurial path, I want to do it right. I'm fortunate now to have been hired by a top consulting firm, where I can practically apply the lessons I'm learning in school and gain experience in various departments.

"By exposing myself to new and different roles, the goal is that I will then be able to develop a clear path forward. Even as I say that sentence, I get excited about future possibilities!"

What does your MBA journey look like right now? What do you hope to do after graduation? Will you launch your own business?

"I dream of launching my own business, for sure! But it's not something I take lightly and, if I pursue an entrepreneurial path, I want to do it right. I'm fortunate now to have been hired by a top consulting firm, where I can practically apply the lessons I'm learning in school and gain experience in various departments.

"By exposing myself to new and different roles, the goal is that I will then be able to develop a clear path forward. Even as I say that sentence, I get excited about future possibilities!"

Would you say that the drive that you find as an Olympian is ever-present in your life? What skills as an athlete do you find are proving transferable in the business world?

"It is amazing to me just how applicable the inherent skill set of an elite athlete is to the business realm (or in any life situation, really!). Goal setting, teamwork, resilience, embracing failure, managing pressure, and so much more!

"The difference is that athletes have the luxury of time to hone their craft — usually a very specific, repetitive task — mastering a particular technique or preparing to peak at one specific moment is paramount to success.

"Most executives, on the other hand, are expected perform at a high-level all the time, in all situations! One thing I'm observing most these days is that athletes crave feedback in a unique way that is not always reflected in corporate structures. I think remaining open to constructive critique — letting go of our egos — is one of the most valuable gifts!"


Transitioning from constantly being on the road and being a professional athlete to going back to school must have come with a steep learning curve. How do your Microsoft products help you feel competent and confident enough to take it on?

"Training my brain to focus for long periods of time was one of the most difficult things, as was finding confidence! With the help of Microsoft Surface, I felt equipped to manage the heavy workload knowing my work, assignments, and correspondence were seamless, intuitive, and organized.

"The devices allow me to unlock my academic and professional potential by allowing me to optimize performance and productivity. And not only that, but they're also beautiful!!! As a skater, I desired excellence and valued innovation. The same is true now and that is reflected in my technology choices."

Knowing firsthand the challenges that can come from a career pivot, do you have anything you want to say to Narcity readers out there looking to make a change in their own lives?

"Go for it! And if it is daunting and frightening, well, that probably means it's worthwhile! The magical meeting point of hard work and opportunity is where the joy lies, but it is completely unattainable if you don't take the risk."

As Virtue knows, and as we all have found out over the last year, the pandemic changed how we live our lives. With flexible work and learning here to stay, Microsoft's suite of products like Microsoft 365, Surface Laptop Go, and Surface Duo can help make navigating new careers and new challenges easier than ever. And until June 30, you can get $200 off the Surface Laptop Go - devices purchased through Microsoft Store on microsoft.com come with the Microsoft Store Promise with free 2-3 day shipping, an extended return policy, low price promise and expert help when you need it!

To learn more about Microsoft's products and how Tessa Virtue is using Surface to accelerate her career goals, visit the Microsoft website. To keep up with all the latest news, follow them on Instagram and Facebook.