You would never guess that there is a connection between the 2016 bombing of the Brussels Airport and the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo… but there is and it involves someone who refused to give up and refused to quit!

Beatrice de Lavalette started riding horses as soon as she could stay upright on one. Her family is filled with horseback riders and also filled with crazy horseback games – she and her brothers used to play Horseball (basketball on a horse). When she was 16 she was headed from Brussels back to the US for Spring Break and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She became one of the most severely injured in the Brussels Airport bombing which killed 32 and wounded over 300. She had internal injuries, severe burns, spinal cord injury, and would need to have both legs amputated below the knees. As she looks back on it now, Bea accepts that her life is completely different than what she had anticipated but she has not quit.

After months of rehab and a tremendous amount of support from her family, friends, and four legged friends she began to chase a different dream. After a hospital visit from the US Ambassador to Brussels and an entertaining discussion about the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Bea decided that she would compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. The Olympics had never been her dream before, but now she needed this to recover and become whole again. This past August 2021, Beatrice de Lavalette competed and placed 5th in the Dressage Equestrian Individual Test and 6th in the Individual Freestyle Test!

When we look at ourselves as leaders, where is our threshold for the ‘never quit’ mentality? As we lead our people, we should instill this desire to become the best we can be at any given point. Exceptional leaders strive to be their best no matter what the situation. Followers of a leader who never quits learn the resilience needed to survive and thrive and thus become leaders in the future who ‘never quit’.