CTHRC Announces Olympic Champion Nancy Greene Raine as Its Spokesperson

New CTHRC Spokesperson Nancy Greene Raine

Olympic Champion Nancy Greene Raine is the CTHRC’s new spokesperson, supporting the Council in promoting tourism careers and first-rate HR practices.

Ms. Greene Raine was named Canada's female athlete of the 20th century for her triumphant ski career and her continued contributions to the sport. She won gold and silver medals at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics and overall World Cup titles in 1967 and 1968. She holds a Canadian record total 13 World Cup victories and won 17 Canadian Championship titles.

In partnership with her husband, Al Raine, she played a pivotal role in the development and promotion of ski tourism in British Columbia, greatly contributing to the growth of the Whistler Resort, and later Sun Peaks Resort.

“When I retired from ski racing, Canada didn’t really have a big winter tourism business,” states Ms. Greene Raine. “Both my husband and I knew Canada had great mountains and snow. With good planning and controlled development, we knew ski tourism could have a major impact on the economy. We looked at the mountains out west with more and more interest.”

“Having travelled and lived in Europe, my husband used his experience to introduce innovative design in the development of Whistler Resort. Then in the early 1980s, we spent two years in an established Swiss ski resort, getting good experience as part of a mature resort. When we came back, we bought a piece of property in Whistler Village and developed Nancy Greene’s Olympic Lodge, the first non-strata hotel in Whistler. This gave us unique insight into how all the different components of tourism fit together: a naturally strategic location, solid transportation links, marketing, and human resources.”

The couple worked hard to make their business a success. Goal-setting was an important part of their strategy.

“In business, as in sport, you set goals – a long-term goal and short-term steps to get there,” she explains. “To succeed, learn how to develop a business plan that takes you through those steps. If you’re not succeeding, go back and analyze why. Be flexible and open minded. Learn from leaders in your field.”

The couple eventually sold Nancy Greene’s Olympic Lodge and moved to Sun Peaks Resort, north of Kamloops, BC where they were once again involved in the development of a new ski destination. They built Nancy Greene's Cahilty Lodge where they made their home and Nancy has been Director of Skiing for the resort.

Both have enjoyed their careers in the tourism sector and stress the importance of great staff in being successful.

“It’s very important to hire good staff and help them grow within your business,” she says. “We learned over the years that if you choose great staff, they will soon outgrow their position. Unless you have the internal opportunities for them to advance, you’ll have pretty regular turnover. Retaining staff is as important as recruiting and training them, however it’s important to recognize there’s a lot of mobility in the tourism industry. You mustn’t be upset when staff leave. You have to wish them well and encourage them to spread the message that they’ve enjoyed working for you. A good employer should expect to offer training and should not be discouraged when that investment goes on to benefit the next employer. In reality, you are also looking for people that somebody else trained.”

With her wealth of experience in tourism, Ms. Greene Raine is perfectly suited to her role with CTHRC and sincerely encourages work and professionalism in the sector.

“Tourism offers young people a job experience that is second to none. Right from the start they will work as part of a team, often closely with the owner or manager of the business. It's a great way to get experience in working with people and in multi-tasking. It can also be a great way to learn about being a business entrepreneur.”

Ms. Greene Raine will figure prominently in the Council’s upcoming promotions, particularly leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Games. Specific endorsements will include emerit tourism training and certification, Discover Tourism and careers in the tourism sector, and the employee-rated Employer of Choice program.

For more information on Ms. Greene Raine, her role with the Council, and her experiences in the tourism sector, please continue to check cthrc.ca over the coming months.