Australian Canoe Slalom paddlers Noemie Fox and Kate Eckhardt understand the work-life balance better than most.

Both women have been members of the Australian Canoe Slalom team for a number of years, representing Australia on the international circuit at both World Cups and World Championships.

Outside of the boat, Fox is working as an Analyst for IT company Accenture, a challenge which she says is extremely rewarding.

“I started nearly two years ago now which is crazy,” Fox said.

“The double project is something I always had growing up – it’s something that my mum, and coach, really enforced on us…get an education, do well in school and do well outside of the boat.

“I believe it’s really important to have that full education and see what else is out there,” she said.

Fox is currently in Europe preparing for the international season, which will be crucial for Australia to qualify quota positions for the Paris Olympic Games.

Although at times tough, Fox admitted she’s works hard to perfect the balancing act between sport and her professional career.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve realised how balancing both can help me perform in life and in sport,” Fox said.

“Having a balance, having a purpose and being able to switch off…when I’m training I’m training, and when I’m working, I’m working.

“I know I have to be as efficient as possible in both. It is extremely hard and something that I’ve worked really hard on.

“It’s not something that you can just switch on, and it’s something I’m really proud of to have formed dual careers. It does come with challenges, but it fuels me to keep moving forward,” she said.

Fox said her success in the boat and at her desk would not be possible without the support of her employer.

“I’ve got a great employer, Accenture…they let me go overseas for six months and work part time or not work at all if I choose to.

“It’s definitely a flexible work environment, and I’m not taking it for granted,” she said.

Fox’s teammate Kate Eckhardt has also been working hard to pave a career for herself outside of the boat.

The Tasmanian born athlete now calls Canberra home, where she’s working as a physiotherapist.

It was the time she spent in COVID-19 lockdowns where Eckhardt capitalised on the chance to complete her Masters degree.

“I’m a physiotherapist, and have been fully qualified since June last year,” Eckhardt said.

“It was something that I was ticking away at in the background in the years before COVID], but I took the opportunity during COVID to knuckle down and do my Masters.

“I love my work – it’s really important for me to have that other avenue, whether it’s studying or working, to come back to. It’s your base and gives you a sense of purpose in what you’re doing,” she said.

In their sport, both Fox and Eckhardt continue to be brilliant role models for the next generation of canoe slalom paddlers. When it comes to giving advice, Eckhardt said having a sense of purpose outside of sport is non-negotiable.

“Having your sport and career, balancing both and having a vision of what you’re going to be doing is so important,” Eckhardt said.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have a sense of purpose outside of your sport as well.

“It’s something that’s always been instilled in me by my family and my coach Myriam.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is in keeping you motivated, healthy and happy through the journey in your sport,” she said.

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