World travel? The thrill of competition? The Olympic Games? Mary Cicinelli has known them all. She landed the coveted position of team manager for Field Hockey Canada at a young age, not long after graduating from university with a degree in physical education.
“I had the opportunity to really delve into my sport,” she recalls. “What’s more, I travelled the world and gained valuable management experience as I went along.” The job took her all the way to Seoul, Korea after the team qualified for the 1988 summer Olympics, “a highpoint,” she says. Today, Cicinelli is President of Field Hockey Canada.
Shepherding a team of elite athletes proved to be good practice for a career in human resources. In addition to managing the needs and expectations of the different players, Cicinelli upheld the values of the team, a kind of company in its own right. “I’m absolutely committed to promoting fairness and equity,” she says.
Following the Olympic Games, she resumed her work in office management. She became well-versed in project management and finance while working at smaller organizations, where the job descriptions tended to be diverse. But Cicinelli never gave up working with people. “I feel as though I’ve always been doing some aspect of human resources. Eventually I decided to work for my certification.” She achieved the designation of Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) in 2001.
Today, Cicinelli is an integral part of the executive team at the Institute for Work & Health. In addition to managing all aspects of human resources, she oversees the annual budget, grants applications and corporate services.