Mary Spencer

Mary Spencer was born in Wiarton, Ontario - a small town just outside of her family's First Nation in Cape Croker.

When Mary was 6 years old she moved to Windsor, Ontario where she became active in sport. At 10, Mary dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player.

For the next 7 years she played basketball for various Ontario Basketball Association teams, as well as the CanAm Indian Friendship Center's "Windsor Ruff Ryders". In 2002 Mary played for Team Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games in what would be her last tournament as a basketball player. It was at this time that she took up boxing. Mary realized that in order to be the best she had to do more than show an interest in the sport. She had to take care of her body and have the kind of conditioning that could carry her through the strenuous exercises that would make her a champion. In 2004 Mary won her first Canadian Championship and she hasn't looked back since.

In 2005 she competed for a World Championship in Russia where she eventually won gold and was named the Tournament's Best Boxer. In 2006 that gold medal turned to bronze but Mary reclaimed the gold at the next World Championships in China in 2008. Now a 6-time Canadian Champion, 4-time Pan-American Champion and 2-time World Champion, Mary has new aspirations. With the recent inclusion of women's boxing into the 2012 Olympic Games, Mary became the first Aboriginal women boxer to compete in the Olympics and she plans to continue to train and compete at the Olympics Games in Rio 2016.

Mary is grateful for the people in her life that helped her succeed in achieving her goals. They went out of their way to help her and from this she has learned that when you help someone, not only are you helping them; you are also helping yourself become a better person. “I feel like there is a very good reason why I have the experiences that I do and that reason is so that I can share them with others” says Mary.

On behalf of Motivate Canada, Mary visits Aboriginal communities in Ontario and supports youth in the development of leadership skills through sport and physical activity. In 2009-2010, Mary visited her home community of Cape Croker First Nation where she supported youth in the development of a boxing club. Mary has also visited Saugeen First Nation and Seine River First Nation. She is currently working with a group of young Aboriginal women in Atikameksheng First Nation near Sudbury Ontario

Mary knows what it takes and what it feels like to fulfil her dreams, and she is determined to inspire others by sharing her story, and motivating others to go for their dreams in her role as a Motivate Canada GEN7 Messenger.