Maxime Dufour-Lapointe; Montreal; @maximedufourlapointe
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I am a professional amateur athlete. I make a living doing the thing I love the most in life, which is skiing moguls. I’ve been part of the national team since 2006, and I became an Olympian at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. [It’s a family affair: Maxime’s sisters, Justine and Chloé, are also freestyle mogul skiers.]
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I did my CEGEP in Sciences at Collège Ahuntsic. My next life goal is to become a physician!
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
My first paying gig was being sponsored for my athletic career by Saputo. I was very lucky to have been supported by them so early on in my career, it really made a huge difference in my life.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
My big break was when I saw my sister Chloé compete at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. That’s really when I realized what the Olympics are about. They have this power to bring out the best in humanity and bring everyone together, no matter where you’re from. I really wanted to be a part of this extremely inspiring movement, and that’s how I realized that I wanted to become an Olympian.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
When I finally got over my fear of failure in March 2013. I was having a meeting with my coaches when this topic came up, and we all realized that my fear of failure was holding me back in competition. So, my coach told me: “Failure doesn’t exist. It is always an opportunity to learn, so that the next time you’ll fix it. And we’ll keep on trying to do new things, until we find exactly what works for you.” From that point, I started to see all the possibilities, I began to love taking risks, and most of all I could express my true potential during competitions.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
One of my biggest setbacks was being sent back to compete on the Nor-Am circuit in 2011, because I was having bad performances on the World Cup circuit. It was a really hard, emotional moment for me. However, this helped me remember why I love competing so much, and once I did, I started getting onto the podium again, thus earning my spot on the World Cup team by the end of the season. It is especially in the hard moments that I’ve learned valuable lessons that made me grow and I am very thankful for it.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Dare to dream, and have faith in yourself because if you truly commit yourself to whatever you want to achieve, you will find the solutions, and it will all work out!
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
None. I guess I have been lucky enough to always have had great coaches and support staff around me!
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I never felt like I had to deal with barriers in my field because I was a woman. It is a fact that men do more difficult jumps, and ski faster than women because of our physical differences. However, I’ve always seen it as a motivation to jump and ski like the men can. Every year we see all the female competitors push our sport, and that is awesome!
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
Making a fair income is quite challenging for any amateur athlete. This is just the reality. But my sisters and I have been lucky enough to have great sponsors to support us along our journey in sport.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
There are many things said about millennials, but I truly believe that when millennials feel deeply connected and have a purpose, they are extremely creative and engaged, and these are very valuable qualities.