It is no wonder how Axley Legal Assistant Becky LeDonne maintains a remarkable work ethic and fosters a true community within our firm: she has spent over 15 years immersing herself in her “second job” – playing competitive Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate (the word “Frisbee” is trademarked) is a team-based, flying disc sport that encompasses principles of soccer, American football and basketball. When LeDonne’s proficiency within the sport earned her placement on Team USA for the prestigious World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Dubai, UAE this March, she prepared to embark on an excursion that would last less than two weeks – yet whose memories would last a lifetime.
Due to her exceptional application and a reputation of success on the field, a committee within USA Ultimate – the national governing body for the sport – selected LeDonne to join the Women’s Masters Division for the tournament. Her team would consist of distinguished athletes from cities around the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago. For six months, LeDonne developed a regular, independent, goal-oriented training program to prepare for victory.
“In sports, similar to the legal world, having strong project management skills is essential for success,” says LeDonne. “Being able to set clear objectives, and determining how you and your teammates can work together to accomplish those goals, is what separates the leaders from those just getting by.”
With an aptitude for critical thinking, LeDonne fronted her team’s Strategy Committee. Prior to the trip, and upon arriving in Dubai, she initiated meetings with her teammates – reviewing effective game techniques; creating plans to efficiently adapt to change; scouting other top competitors; and calculating ways to confront uncontrollable factors like strong winds and sandstorms.
“It’s all about maintaining a proactive mentality – anticipating the unexpected, and modifying the game plan in stride,” states LeDonne.
LeDonne’s initiatives paid off, as she led her cohorts to becoming the first American team to be awarded a gold medal in the tournament. Dominant, deliberate and uncompromising, LeDonne’s team outscored their opponents 95-14 over the course of eight games. LeDonne caught the first goal of the game and threw two goals (including the game winner) in the team’s gold medal match. Fortunately, she was able to celebrate the team’s win with her brother, who competed in the tournament’s grandmasters division – which also claimed a gold medal.
“Winning a gold medal with this amazing group of Team USA women was such an incredible and exhilarating experience,” LeDonne remarks.
LeDonne’s international activities were not restricted to the turf – or the sand, in this case. Feeding her lust for adventure and desire to broaden her horizons, LeDonne sought out opportunities to explore landmarks among the Arabian Peninsula, such as the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world (located in the Dubai Mall [one of the world’s largest shopping malls]); she also visited the souks (traditional markets) in Dubai. Along with her friends, LeDonne toured the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. After the tournament, LeDonne flew to Oman, where she visited Muscat and other coastal cities.
Though competing in international tournaments like the World Championships of Beach Ultimate is not necessarily a new phenomenon for LeDonne – in fact, she has previously competed in Italy and Prague – her Middle Eastern journey was still able to make a lasting impression in her mind.
“This experience demonstrated the universal importance of doing everything possible to take something to its utmost potential,” says LeDonne, exhibiting a practice that she applies not just to Ultimate, but to her work, as well. “I am so grateful to Axley for allowing me to pursue this once-in-a-lifetime trip.”
Staying involved in the Ultimate community, LeDonne will serve as Great Lakes Regional Director for the inaugural USA Ultimate Beach Championships from May 2-3, 2015. Assuming several administrative roles, LeDonne will help coordinate the Virginia Beach-based event, bringing this exciting competition to the States for the first time. More information can be found on USA Ultimate’s website.
As LeDonne awaits her East Coast trip, she will continue upholding an unmatched dedication to enhancing teamwork around the office; furthering her professional and athletic expertise; and seeking (and claiming) gold in all of her endeavors – refusing to settle for mediocrity when success is at stake.
Becky LeDonne may be contacted at 608.283.6741 or [email protected]; no autograph requests, please.
For World Championships of Beach Ultimate photos and information, please visit http://www.wcbu2015.org/
To learn more about the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, please visit http://www.whatisultimate.com/