In this 35th episode of the season of the Her Spirit podcast BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin and BBC Triathlon presenter Annie Emmerson talk to Olympic Gold Medalist and conservationist Crista Cullen.
Crista is an accomplished athlete, achieving both Gold and Bronze medals in three Olympic appearances, culminating in 197 international caps and a three time World All-Star team member. She has a strong belief in the power of teamwork – built through the highs and lows of a 15-year international hockey career.
Having grown up in rural Kenya, Crista spent her teenage years at boarding school in England, where she found a sense of belonging through sport. Over the next decade she progressed through the ranks of elite hockey. From the lows of failure to qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympics, to the highs of Olympic gold in Rio 2016.
At the Olympics in 2016 Cullen notched her 58th international goal in the final against Netherlands, arguably her most important strike to date. It helped GB to a 3-3 draw with a gold medal following from the shootout win.
Throughout her athletic career Crista maintained her role in the corporate world – creating a sense of balance and perspective that was central to her sporting performance. One that embedded in Crista a deep belief in the crucial role of culture, community and teamwork.
A belief in cultures that empower, not enforce. A belief in communities that embrace diversity and constantly seek alternative perspectives. A belief in teams that create genuine alignment around shared values.
Crista is now using the lessons learned from her personal journey to help other teams, organisations and individuals with their journeys.
She recently set up her own charity Tofauti, her deep understanding of the challenges facing Africa’s animal and human populations – the place she grew up and the place she still calls home.
Team Tofauti is now small but growing. Diverse in our backgrounds, experiences and skill sets. United in our goal. To come together to make a difference for Africa’s wildlife and communities.
Crista talks to Annie and Louise about adjusting to life at boarding school in the UK, her journey over 15 years playing hockey and her zest for people and excellence.
To find out more about Crista's charity go to www.tofauti.org.
These podcasts have been made possible through the support of Medichecks www.medichecks.com and Sport England www.sportengland.org.
Medichecks offers an easy and affordable way to check your health from the comfort of your own home with their simple and personal at-home blood tests. From hormones and nutrition, to cholesterol and diabetes, there is something for everyone.
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