Former Jamaican-Canadian Athlete Chelsea Ziadie Embraces Major Corporate Role at Google

“Professional sports is excellent preparation for whatever you do afterwards,” says retired ice hockey player and Harvard graduate.

NEW YORK – Former professional ice hockey player Chelsea Ziadie, who retired from the sport in 2020, is embracing the challenge of her major new role with corporate giant Google, where she was recently promoted to the position of Senior Account Manager, Google Customer Solutions.

The Canadian born Ziadie- a Harvard graduate and daughter of former Jamaican soccer players Debbie Doyle Ziadie and the late Christopher Ziadie- also firmly believes that her life as a professional athlete has been instrumental in her newfound success in the corporate world, thanks to the “Rigorous discipline that being a pro athlete demands.”

In her new capacity, Ziadie now works on developing and executing business strategies for nearly 60 small to medium sized Google business accounts.

Chelsea Ziadie at Google
Chelsea Ziadie

“I specialize in growth in the retail and commerce sectors,” she says, “And in addition to my core role, I am also a Sales Inclusion Taskforce Ambassador as well as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pillar Lead- working with my colleagues to ensure that Google continues to prioritize and develop inclusivity and overall wellbeing for its employees across the organization.”

Prior to joining Google in 2021, Ziadie was also employed at Morgan Stanley as a Financial and Wealth Advisor Associate, managing accounts worth several million dollars.

Her latest professional accomplishment is a far cry from her days as a rising star in the fast paced world of women’s ice hockey, in which she was deeply immersed for much of her life until stepping away some four years ago. Yet according to Ziadie, “There’s no doubt in my mind that my ability to transfer many of the skills that I employed in my sport- leadership, tenacity, team building and empathy- assisted me in making the transition from the locker room to the boardroom. In many ways, being part of a professional sports team is the same as being part of a business organization- everyone has a role to play in helping the team to win.”

A career in professional sports- even temporarily- was perhaps always in the cards for Ziadie, considering her unique family background.

She was born in Montreal into a family of athletes. In addition to both her parents having represented Jamaica in soccer at the international level, her uncles Nicholas and Craig Ziadie and her grandfather the late Dennis Ziadie were all national soccer players for Jamaica also. Additionally, her older brother Ryan briefly pursued a pro career in ice hockey as well.

After spending her early childhood years in Jamaica, she moved with her mother and brother back to Montreal. There, she played  soccer and ice hockey, ultimately going on to the prestigious Hotchkiss School in Connecticut where she represented the institution in both sports as well as in track and field.

As a teenager, she was a part of Team Quebec and Team Canada Under 18 Women’s Hockey, winning a bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games in 2011. Moving on to Harvard , she was part of the school’s Varsity Ice Hockey team, became an Ivy League Champion and was awarded several accolades during her four year college sojourn, including the 2018  MVP Award- all while pursuing her BA Degree in Sociology and Economics.

It was in 2018 after graduating from Harvard that she signed her first professional ice hockey contract with the Metropolitan Riveters in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association (PWHPA).

She would remain with the league for two years, juggling her ice hockey career with her job at Morgan Stanley- a challenging experience but one that provided invaluable lessons in the art of multitasking.

“I would routinely wake up at 4am and leave my Manhattan apartment to travel to New Jersey for my 6:30am practice,” she recalls,  “And then return to the city to start my full day of work as a financial professional in the corporate world. My ability to balance both professions was due entirely to my  discipline and time management skills, which continue to serve me very well today.”

Ultimately, she elected to retire from the sport after two years in the league when the 2020 season was cancelled due to covid. Having played for over twenty years she decided that amidst the uncertainty, the time had come to hang up her skates. However, she is happy to note the changes that have taken place in the sport in the years since her retirement.

“The sport was -and still is- a growing one for women in North America, and at that time the financial support unfortunately wasn’t available to compensate players sufficiently for us to make it a full time profession. So I chose to step back to focus fully on my business career. But I’m happy to see that as the popularity of the sport has increased, so have the contracts that players can now negotiate.  And I’m hopeful that the trend continues so that ice hockey will become yet another sport that young girls can aspire to actually earn a living from.”

She remains grateful for the role that professional sports has played in enhancing her personal and professional lives, in much the same way it did for her parents.

“My parents have always been my greatest role models and I saw firsthand how they applied the lessons they learnt as sporting professionals to the careers they undertook afterwards.  They were my biggest motivators as I pursued my own athletic endeavors. My mom is still my number one cheerleader and although my dad passed away in late 2022, I still feel his presence encouraging me constantly, urging me to stay focused and to go for my goals.”

For now, her current goal is to apply her lifelong commitment to excellence to her new role at Google.

“Working at Google has been an incredible opportunity to collaborate with truly creative thinkers and growth oriented individuals,” she says. “One area that I will continue to focus on while here is the blending of my finance background with my new experience in tech, which I hope will ultimately lead to my working on the Google Growth fund.”