'Play your part. Therein lies your greatness.'
- William Shakespeare
She knew it right away. Realized immediately that she couldn't stand on the sidelines and watch it happen. She had to come back.
"There I was in The Agency Group's Toronto office," recounts über multi-tasker event-promoter/facilitator/cheerleader Kristen Robinson. "It was July 2003 and we were all following the action on our TV monitors. I was so excited. My old Mountain FM colleague Scott Roberts was on the screen, my former boss Mo Douglas was there too, Steve Podborski, Stuart Rempel - you know, the whole crew. So many people I'd known and worked with..." She pauses. Takes a deep breath. Lets it out slowly. "When the announcement finally came that Whistler had won the bid, I cheered like crazy. And suddenly I was profoundly homesick. My heart was in my throat. I had to get back!"
It's tough being a Whistler local when you have ambition. Particularly if you're a female. Opportunities are limited here. The range of jobs is fairly narrow. Sure, the skiing is great and the mountain biking is marvellous. As for professional development? Not so much.
But if you love the place - if you really, really love the place - then you do what you can to make it happen. You scrimp and save and find whatever work you can. Build up your career to a point where you think you might want to expand and grow. And then what?
"That's exactly what happened to me," admits Robinson. "I spent nearly 12 years here working my tail off. And I don't regret it one bit. It was so much fun to be part of this community. And at a time when things were really happening around here - the WSSF, Summer Concerts in the Alpine - I can say I'm a graduate of the University of Whistler." She smiles. "But by 2002, I'd hit the wall. I needed a change."
So she moved back to Ontario. Took a job with one of the biggest talent-booking agencies in the world ("the biggest!" she tells me) and watched her professional stock rise. "It's an incredible business but you have to be really passionate to succeed," she explains. "There's no romance there. It's all about long hours, successful transactions and selling bands. Still, it was an amazing education. And I knew there was a lot of room there for me to grow."
But when the Olympic siren call came, she couldn't fight it. Whistler had touched her soul. It was part of her. No way would she be satisfied watching the Games from afar. "So I came back," she says simply. And then giggles. "Just like the first time - with a little money in the bank but no job." Another fit of the funnies. "In fact, I didn't have much more than a coffee mug and a pair of skis..."
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