Further Athlete Career Programme success stories
Meet Shawn "The Hustle" Russel. He joined Adecco Australia more than two years ago and has worked across many of our Shared Services departments in that time.
To most of us, he's a friendly voice over the phone or email; supporting us, and our candidates, with Payroll enquiries. But there's something many don't know about Shawn.
An amazing athlete, he travels the world playing basketball with various teams, including our national men's wheelchair team, The Rollers.
Shawn was able to join Adecco Australia two years ago through the Athletes Careers Program and the Victorian Institute of Sport. Through Adecco's partnership with the institute, Shawn was encouraged to find true balance: success in his career whilst pursuing his passion for basketball.
Better Work, Better Life: in Shawn's words
I lost my leg when I was 17 and needed a way to stay active. I was in love with basketball so I decided to try out wheelchair basketball. Once I had a taste of the game, that was it. I was hooked. Since then I've been involved in many teams including the Australian Mens' team, The Rollers for the past six years. Though I've never made a major tournament, I've come close, as a first reserve for the London Paralympics. The tournament I was most recently at is the Lakeshore Championship which is a friendly tournament between Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the USA. Before starting, we had a week at the University of Alabama training twice a day, with games at night against their University team. Since being part of The Rollers, I've played all over the world - and also played in Spain for a year with Celta Vigo which was a life changing experience. This year we have two more trips: one to Brazil and the other to Japan for the World Championship qualifying tournament.
My Adecco journey began two years ago and has included of six months in the Data Conversion team, seven months in Adecco Assist and now, Payroll. The Athletes Careers Program, which Adecco is part of, has been an amazing opportunity for me and the work/life balance has enabled me to progress with a full time career and also chase my basketball goals. This is an amazing example of the world of opportunity Adecco provides – not only for candidates around the world, but our very own employees as well. We're proud to work for an organisation that supports and promotes the diverse interests across all of our brands and locations.
Thank you to Shawn for sharing his story with us – we'd love to hear your stories on Better Work, Better Life too!
Being a record-breaking Olympic swimming champion is no guarantee of a career in the 'fast lane' after retiring from elite sports competition. Despite winning the 100m Breaststroke Gold in the Atlanta Games(1996), numerous World and European Championships and breaking 3 world records, Belgium's Frederik Deburghgraeve, born June 1973, highlights one of the key challenges athletes can face, "Many potential employers struggle to look beyond the sporting success to see the qualities and athlete can bring to conventional roles."
Since retiring from competition in 2000, Frederik fought hard to establish a career in sales but in 2011 turned to the IOC Athlete Career Programme for career guidance and work search support. Despite participating in the IOC ACP a decade after he retired, Frederik appreciates the programme's value, "The hunger and ambition to win is something I have taken from sport into my mainstream career. My Adecco ACP manager helped me communicate that effectively in interviews. He also connected me to a broader array of job opportunities, helping me step-up my career."
Whilst participating in the IOC Athlete Career Programme came later to Frederik than most, he urges fellow athletes to get involved, "Start the programme during, not after, your sports career. Retirement from sports might just be around the corner due to factors beyond our control, such as injuries."
Getting a working career on the move whilst still training and competing at elite level is a challenge for any athlete. As member of the Ventilair – Steria cycling team Belgium, Jeroen Lepla (born August, 1990) knows all about the rigours of competing in top level cycling, representing his team in the Union Cyclist International tour events around the world. His life ambitions however include also a successful business career. This is why he dedicated time and effort to study for a degree if Office Management, and enrolled in the Belgium Athlete Career Programme.
An internship in his 3rd year of study is a key criteria for completing his course. Through the support of his ACP advisor, Jeroen stepped into a two months internship at an Adecco branch in Ghent. This is a real opportunity to gain experience in an administrative support role, including receiving and calling candidates, listing job vacancies and applying of social legislation in regard to recruitment.
Jeroen said: "The role gives me a variety of responsibilities and the opportunity to learn. At the same time, I have the flexibility to adhere to my training schedule without problems. So my sporting and career ambitions are both on the road."
4x100m relay running
In August 2011, Frauke Penen (born 20 February 1985) was forced to end her elite sports career because of an injury to her Achilles tendon. The high point of her career was the silver medal for the Belgian 4x100m relay team in the 2008 Olympic Games and her participation in the 2006 and 2010 European Championships.
Frauke first came in contact with the Belgium ACP in 2011. This allowed her to do a four month internship at Adecco's ACP department where she helped the ACP Manager for Adecco Belgium on communications projects for the Programme.
After her internship with Adecco, Frauke moved to Spain to gain some experience abroad. Nevertheless she stayed in close contact with the Belgian ACP Manager. In November 2012 she decided to come back to Belgium and involve the ACP to support her in finding a job. She was invited to give a testimonial at the European Employment Forum in November 2012 together with Adecco ACP representatives and this impacted her career plans considerably. She met with the Belgian Country Manager who encouraged her to apply for a job with Adecco Belgium. Things moved quickly and she received confirmation from Adecco to start as Recruitment Consultant at the Adecco Antwerp branch! Frauke testifies: "My last athletic year started very promising with hard training sessions, good results and a great internship at Adecco where I could put my energy in the development of the Belgium Athlete Career Programme, a project where I was able to create opportunities for athletes to get work experience. And suddenly I found myself in the same situation of needing support and a job. Really fantastic! 2011 ended very painful with injuries, sadness and the end of my athletic career. But I acquired work and a cultureal experience abroad and I had a plan for my future. Now I'm very happy that I can start to work for Adecco Belgium as a full time consultant which is extremely exciting, fascinating and promising. For sure, it will only go better!"
Arriving at the 'finishing line' in first place is the goal of every elite swimming competitor and the dedication required for success is immense. Belgium's Tom Vangeneugden (born January 1993) proved he had what it takes in the pool, breaking the 1500m national record and competing in finals at two European Championships in 2007 and 2008. But as Tom points out, without the guidance of the IOC ACP lots of athletes can be completely unprepared for the 'start' of life after sport.
Tom joined the IOC ACP in early 2012 and benefited from a professional analysis of his CV and introductory letter. He was also connected with a whole range of vacancies relevant to his degree level education and interests in a career in the sporting, cultural or communications fields. Tom highlights that athletes can bring ambition, drive and motivational skills into the work arena; "The ACP experience helped boost self-awareness of my skills and potential, giving me the confidence to secure a job myself in sports/fashion retailing. It's a positive start-point from which I can build. The IOC ACP really helps athletes, bridge the gap between sports and a working career."
Since the age of 9, wheelchair basketball has been the all-consuming passion of Canadian Paralympic athlete Joey Johnson (born July 1975). Degenerative hip disease has been no bar to sporting success and Joey is proud to have been part of the Canadian Gold medal winning teams in the 2000 and 2004 Paralympics and the 2006 World Championships. Joey and his team's sights are now set upon victory in London 2012 and gaining a 4th Paralympic podium finish and medal.
In recent years, Joey has worked hard and supported his wife and family as a successful professional wheelchair basketball player in Germany. Earlier in his twenties, he gained a BSc in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Joey first connected with the ACP via a workshop for the Canadian wheelchair team in Toronto in early 2011. It was a timely introduction for Joey: "You are always thinking about 'what's after' and I realize the end is in sight in terms of top level competition. As an athlete, the concern is that we have no job training or skills to help us in another profession. The workshop helped me realize that this is not necessarily true. Most of our skills sets – such as leadership, working under pressure and goal orientation – can carry over from our sport to the professional world and will be valued by employers. I'd recommend any athlete to get involved with the ACP. It is so valuable to have professionals 'on your team' to help guide and mentor you in finding a new career."
Shaping a training schedule that allows an athlete to also study and earn a living is a major challenge. This is especially so for elite swimmers whose days often start with 5.45 a.m. arrival at the poolside. The ACP has played a pivotal role in enabling Finland's Anni Alitalo to successfully combine swimming commitments with her education at Helsinki University, as well as get her foot into to the working world through Adecco with an IT company.
A semi-final appearance in the 2012 European Swimming Championships makes her optimistic about her swimming potential, which is not compromised due to the flexibility of her employer: "Through the Adecco and the ACP I have found a great company that has agreed to work shifts allowing me to attend competitions and training camps. My colleagues don't mind if I arrive at work in the morning with still drying hair as they recognize I am equally dedicated to do a great job. I am keen to fulfill my long-term career as well as sporting goals which make me strive to be a dedicated, professional and reliable team player for my employer and swimming team. In the pool I'm driven by technical excellence, the stop-watch and my peers. This is very comparable to work: I am striving to get the job done in the best way and fastest time possible, supporting my colleagues whenever needed."
Anni's ambition is clearly to keep in the fast-lane.
When competing at highest level, sport is an all-consuming way of life. When leaving the world of sports becomes a reality, finding your way is an exciting but also significant challenge. That has been the experience of Mikaela Ingberg (born July,1974). She retired from athletic competition in the spring of 2010, after injury brought to a close a top-class javelin throwing career that included winning two World and one European bronze medal.
Mikaela did manage to study for a BA in Marketing whilst training, but work experience opportunities were limited. Contracts in the sporting world, such as being an Account Manager at the European Championships in Helsinki in 2012, have been easier to find. But Mikaela turned to the ACP for longer-term guidance and as 'sounding board' for the wider world of work: "After finishing my athletics career, I experienced a sense of being alone when it came to considering questions about the future. It's great to have access to the professional expertise and feedback of my Adecco ACP coach. Whilst working in sports might be a natural option, my ACP coach has helped me realise that I do have many transferable skills from sport that can help me establish a career with any company in any area. The ACP has given me the direction and expertise to aim high and go further career-wise."
Jenni Mikkonen is majoring in industrial management at the Tampere University of Technology in southwestern Finland. She started canoeing in her home town of Lahti at the age of 9 and took up serious training when she was 14. Jenni holds multiple national solo kayaking titles. She competed in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, and won bronze at the World Championships in 2006 and silver at the 2008 European Championships. Her main goal is an Olympic medal in 2012.
Under the auspices of the IOC Athlete Career Programme, Jenni took part in a career seminar for athletes run by Adecco. Despite intensive training commitments, Jenni hopes to complete her bachelor's degree in 2010 and master's in engineering before the London Games. "The main lesson I've learnt is that a sports career counts as a valuable work experience".
Professional speed skating had become a way of life almost 24/7 for Finland's Vesa Rosendahl, right up until he retired from competitive sport in December 2005. For almost a decade, Vesa (born December 1975) competed at the top level, regularly representing his country. In 2002, Vesa achieved 3rd place in 1500 meters in the European Championship and participated in the Salt Lake City Winter Games. Vesa, based in Harjavalta, Finland typically traveled 150 to 200 days a year to train and compete. What little spare time he had was used to complete a Master of Science in Economics at the University of Helsinki between 1996 and 2005. Funding from the Finnish Olympic Organization Committee and sponsors were Vesa's only source of income. Having retired at 30 years-old with no work experience beyond sports, Vesa faced a significant career challenge at that point in his life. Thankfully, two years prior to his retirement he had begun to prepare for a career after sport with the help of the IOC ACP Programme and Adecco Finland' s Virpi Ojakangas-Palmunen. Virpi helped Vesa develop his first ever CV, identify job opportunities and apply and prepare for application forms and tests.
Vesa highlights the benefits: "I'd always had an interest in banking and Virpi helped get me into 'business shape' to succeed and get my first job. Amongst other benefits, going through the stages of the IOC ACP programme with Virpi helped me identify the relevance of my sporting experience to potential employers: I am very dedicated; can cope with pressure and have always been very goal-orientated."
Vesa ended-up being offered two jobs and started his career in banking as a trainee team manager early 2006. This role proved a springboard to promotion and a successful transition into a working life. Vesa concludes: "Athletes need help when they enter the labour market and the IOC ACP helped get me on the right track."
Gaël Da Silva
As long as his body allows, French gymnast Gaël Da Silva (born in December 1984) aims to compete at the highest level. He loves the adrenalin gymnastics gives him during competition and the five hours of daily training. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are in his sights after finishing 10th in the individual floor exercises competing for France at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Gaël is aware of his competitive spirit, "I am a born competitor and that's what allows me to go further in every activity I engage in." He knows all about the importance of preparation and training to win – and that applies to developing his long-term career prospects. Despite training 25-30 hours per week, he managed to complete a master's degree in mathematics and obtained a State Certificate as a sports instructor, which has been a great way to develop his coaching skills.
Not having clear plans about his career beyond gymnastics, Gaël linked up with the ACP after London 2012. Gaël got the guidance he needed to find another focus point and passion and has now embarked on a six-year training course in osteopathy at a highly prestigious specialist school in Marne la Vallée, France. "My ACP coach listened to my concerns and then took me through a process that gave me the clarity I needed to decide on my next steps towards a long-term goal. The skill assessment was particularly valuable and I realised a career in osteopathy was the right choice for me because I would like to utilise my experience as an elite athlete for my future endeavours. So far, I have accumulated 19 years of professional experience in gymnastics and all that is needed to become and stay amongst the best in the world."
A taste for competition and a passion for sailing inspired Vincent Garos (born June 1992) to achieve an elite standard in the dual 470 class.
He became a member of the French Olympic Team from 2007-2012, and after finishing 2nd in the World Championships in Barcelona in 2012, achieved a creditable 7th position at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Without diminishing his focus upon sailing, reaching the pinnacle of the sailing world success, Vincent always had ambition for a business career. This translated into a high level of dedication and adaptability to also complete a BA in Material Sciences and Engineering, part time work in the technical sales department of an industrial company and fulfill a one- year contract in the Navy.
When the decision was made to retire from elite sport after the London 2012 Olympic Games, Vincent's openness to ideas and expertise from others encouraged him to participate in the ACP. Seven meeting with his ACP career coach and professional the assessment of his transferable skills helped Vincent sharpen his career goals and embark upon a business role in the sports sector: "I had very frank exchanges with the ACP career coach and together, we mapped out a way ahead through practical and productive advice. I urge any top level athlete - even those still fully focused on sports - to get in touch with the ACP early and as it will get you ahead in the race to secure a future after sports."
Drive and dedication helped Franck Perque (born November 1974) achieve his sporting ambitions. He became a world champion in 2002 and 2004 and represented his country in the Olympics, reflecting a stellar on-track career.
Participation in the IOC Athlete Career Programme has reinforced his belief that if you apply sporting values to the more mainstream working, you'll also be 'on-track' for career success. Moreover, the IOC ACP has given Franck the practical know how he needed to make a successful transition, "Since I was lucky enough to follow the IOC ACP, I have worked with an Adecco consultant who gave me a lot of support and encouragement, and that helped me to prepare for different professional interviews, increasing my self-confidence. I have learned a lot and really progressed both with my writing - and with my verbal skills to prepare for interviews. In this way, my consultant and I were able to target companies and focus on opportunities that really corresponded to my profile." Now Franck is enjoying an exciting track career with a role in sales for a cycling equipment company, as well as helping manage a sports events company. He has become a strong advocate of the Programme: "I think it is essential to follow IOC ACP and I totally recommend it to all athletes. Job transition is by no means easy and this programme helps us to make a connection between the world of sport and the difficulties of the job market."
Striving for success in elite professional cycling can be all consuming, with demanding training schedules and world-wide race commitments. Matthias Friedemann (born August 1984) rose to that challenge admirably, deserving his place in various pro teams from 2004 and achieving podium finishes and world-class rankings right up until the end of 2013. That was when his team abruptly ceased to operate and his contract was terminated. Matthias's web search for career support led him to the ACP website and the Adecco ACP coach in Germany.
During the first meeting, it quickly became clear that he would need support from the local Leipzig branch. Matthias had already decided to pursue a dual education course at University, studying economics combined with paid work experience - which is where the ACP's support came in. "When I met with the Leipzig branch team, I could see they had the professional expertise I needed to set up an action plan in order to provide me with the right orientation and advise to uptake my University and labour market career." Matthias was also coached by one of the Adecco Leipzig consultants about how to prepare for interviews, successfully undergo aptitude tests and assessment centre challenges in the following weeks. All the engagement paid off as he got the confirmation to be accepted for o a University Dual Course in engineering for which he had qualified as well, thanks to the sound preparation. "I am very glad for the support which I received from the ACP – especially for the help provided by the Adecco team in Leipzig. I never really focused how an application process works and did not know exactly what kind of possibilities there are with regards to my desire of starting a dual career. But due to the great advice and support I was given, I am confident to get on the right path for my next career after sports!"
Maria-Lena Kate (born in 1987) has been a national athlete in equitation, more specifically in eventing for many years. Eventing comprises dressage, cross-country and show jumping always with the same horse. For the first time, Maria-Lena took place in the German Championship when she was only 10 years old – the youngest participant ever - followed by many international and European Championships.
Despite her successful career, she never wanted to make sports her main career. After her college degree, she focused on her studies in international management and did some internships during her studies. She realized that competitive sports meant a lot to her and that she wanted to combine her studies and passion for eventing. In the fall of 2008, she changed University and started in Ansbach with a bachelor degree customized to the needs of elite athletes.
"I realized that I was more productive in my studies when combining them with competitive sports. This may sound contradicting as you have a lot more pressure but I felt that the balance between mind and body activity was just what I needed in order to succeed".
Adecco is working closely with the University of Ansbach to support athletes with the difficult task to successfully manage higher education and sports. In 2010, more than 100 athlete students took part in a career fair where international companies explained about their business and the people they are looking for. A perfect way for both sides to get in touch and network. Maria-Lena was one of the participants. During a fruitful discussion with Annette Schmitt from Adecco Germany and the ACP project Manager at Adecco Janine Bischoff, she got offered a six months internship with Adecco in Hamburg preparing her for the final step to finish her career – the master thesis.
"The IOC Athlete Career Programme has helped me to find the right way and get an idea of my career path. As an athlete, there is nothing more rewarding than to have a clear goal of what you want to achieve!"
In his cycling career, Kim Lachmann (born August 87) from Neuwied near Bonn, Germany showed that he has got what it takes to be a 'peak' performer. In 2009, he became the under-23 German Hill climbing champion, recorded a national league win and competed in many top cycling road races world-wide. A highlight of 2010 included taking part in India's first ever professional cycle race 'the Mumbai Cyclothon'.
At the same time Kim was enrolled in the Ansbach University's BA in International management course for top athletes: "Combining 170 days away for cycling competitions, plus daily training and studying hard has developed my ability to focus, be goal-orientated and to be resilient when the going gets tough. Now, these abilities are helping me on the road to a successful business career," says Kim. All students enrolled in the University's top athletes course can join the IOC ACP programme and Kim was one of those who took advantage, meeting with Adecco Germany's IOC ACP manager to help map a future beyond sport. Kim said "Even though my passion for cycling remains strong, I have always had an eye on a future career and decided to retire from sport at the end of the 2010 season. A career day at my university attended by Adecco Germany led to me securing an initial 6-month contract with the Adecco Legal and M&A team in Zurich, Switzerland." As the final part of his BA course, as well as his day-to-day team duties, Kim is also going to complete a research dissertation that may be related to Adecco's business. Kim concludes: "Now I'm thriving on the challenge of balancing work and study. I'm gaining great insights and experience as well as contributing to the team's goals. This makes me confident I can build a successful 'off-road' career in international business.''
For many years, Stephan Münchmeyer was among the top athletes in Nordic combined, a sport that consists of ski jumping and cross country-skiing. Between 2000 and 2006 he participated in numerous World Cup competitions and scored well. But Stephan was always aware of how important it is to build a solid basis for a professional future apart from sports. So in 2006 he became one of the first 26 athletes to enrol in a bachelor's degree course specifically for elite athletes at the Ansbach University of Applied Sciences. Adecco has been the main sponsor of the course from the start. After only two semesters, Stephan was already planning an internship to gain initial work experience. His sports career had previously left little time for practical experience in the job market, however, which prompted his first contact with Adecco's Athlete Career Programme.
In a series of counselling sessions, Janine Bischoff, the programme's project manager, coached Stephan through the application process. Ultimately, he decided on Adidas as his employer of choice. Thanks to additional targeted coaching, Stephan's interview was successful, and in September 2007 the athlete began a seven-month internship with Adidas. At its conclusion, he was given the opportunity to continue on a 30-hour-per-week basis in the company's Olympics business unit. In July 2008, Stephan was also accepted into the Adidas 'ReBound' programme for a temporary position which ended in August 2009, at the same time as he had completed his studies. When he noticed a job ad for a position at Adidas as an assistant product manager in the marketing department of Men's Training, he contacted Adecco again. Interactions with American colleagues in the Athlete Programme gave Stephan the support he needed for all his questions throughout the entire application process in English, which involved three rounds of interviews. The job offer from Adidas finally arrived two weeks ago. For Stephan, the transition from elite sport to professional career has gone better than he ever dreamed possible.
"The last months have been very stressful. I was really hoping to get an offer from Adidas. Now I can hardly believe my luck in finding a permanent position in marketing right out of school. Adecco's Athlete Programme was enormously helpful. I still remember how hard my very first application was. Without the additional coaching, I would never have ended up with Adidas".
Martin Rickmann has played in 67 internationals as an attacker in the German national sitting volleyball team, winning a runners-up medal at the 2002 World Championships as well as coming fourth at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. At club level, Martin has helped SV Berliner to second place in four European Championships, in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005.
Since moving to Berlin, Martin has been looking for an appropriate job that would gave him the right balance of work and training time to allow him to continue his volleyball career. For a long time, he struggled to find the right opportunity. Martin said: "When I heard about the Athletic Career Programme I contacted the Adecco branch in Berlin and in March 2007, I started work as a Facility Manager at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin, working 28 hours a week. Thanks to Adecco, I was able to focus on preparations for the Paralympics in Beijing."
Stefanie Rothweiler (30) has been one of the top German sailors for many years. She started out in the 470 class and also achieved her greatest successes in that class. She was European champion for 2006 and 2007, three times German champion, and in 2001 she ranked 4th in the world championships. She also participated in several Olympic Games.
A few months ago, the career adviser for the Olympic facility in Munich, where Rothweiler trained, contacted Adecco after the sailor brought up the question of her professional future. Rothweiler wanted to leave her sports career and was looking for a job. She had passed her first German state examination in law, and now she hoped to fulfil her career aspiration to obtain a position in human resource management.
A phone conversation with an athlete consultant at Adecco followed. The first step was to help Rothweiler optimise her job application and search for suitable positions. Adecco supported her in the application process for several weeks, and provided her with tips for job interviews. Because the job market was difficult, an alternative option was to do some additional study with a focus on human resources. Adecco contacted a branch manager who had completed such training and was willing to share her experience. But a few weeks later, Rothweiler got the good news: An interview with a headhunting company had been successful, and Rothweiler had landed her first post-sports career opportunity. She has since been hired and now has a permanent contract.
"The last few months were not always easy, and the transition from the world of sports to everyday life in the office was quite difficult at times. But now it's really fun," the former top athlete says happily.
Teaming-up to achieve success was an essential part of Tim Wieskötter's (born 1979) sporting career. In his discipline – canoeing – Tim and his partner Ronald Rauhe won the world championship seven times and Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze in Athens, Beijing and Sydney respectively.
Tim's Olympic Career came to an end as part of a four-man canoe team in London, with a 4th placed finish. That's when Tim shifted his focus from sports to a next career, teaming up with the German Athlete Career Programme to which he was introduced by the German Olympic Sports Federation. Through his Adecco ACP career coach, Tim benefited from the practical guidance and support he needed to capitalise upon a degree in business logistics and to overcome a lack of work experience, "I've had great help developing a powerful CV that communicates my proven determination, stamina and the ability to work in a team - all qualities which are much in demand in the job market."
In addition, Tim took part in a 'Career-up' course that improved his IT skills: "I was amazed of how much knowledge I was still able to acquire. This opportunity to learn and develop my skills is something I am very grateful for too." Job offers started flowing and Tim immersed from his 'out of the canoe' career to working with an international power company showing the same energy and enthusiasm to achieve the set goals as before.
Canoe Slalom (K1 Men)
An ability to keep balanced, move fast and stay on track are vital ingredients for success in canoe slalom but also for a winning career. With the help of the Hong Kong Athletes Career and Education Programme (HKACEP), Sze Lui (born 16/4/1986) is keeping on course not just for the Olympic Games but also for a career beyond sports in recruitment.
Sze Lui has a BBA from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and has already represented Hong Kong in the 2010 Asian Games. With the help of the HKACEP he is focused upon preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games. After being introduced to the programme via the Hong Kong Canoe Union and the Sports Federation as well as the Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Sze Lui attended a career workshop. It was the first step to getting his career planning on track and gain work experience through a role with Adecco as a research associate.
"When the programme was introduced to me, I was supported by a career coach and felt more secure about my long-term future. Now I can focus on slalom training and competitions, safe in the knowledge that I am addressing my career as well." Sze Lui added, "The role with Adecco is boosting my career confidence. I can see my athletic ability and attitude help my work– I never give up, always give my best and keep positive whatever the challenges. My sport is helping me become a tough and hard working person." Next to providing help fine-tuning his CV, developing interview skills and career planning, Sze Lui found the Career Workshop familiarized him with the job market situation. He said, "In sports and in the working world, you have to know the challenges ahead so that you can prepare to succeed. That's just what the programme has given me."
Antonella Cecilia is a Paralympic Equestrian athlete who also took part in several international competitions, including the World Championships and the European Championships.
For her, a job is not just about earning a living, it is also about self-fulfilment. Through meetings with Adecco, Antonella defined her career objectives and undertook basic and professional training, as a basis for a more effective proposal to companies. On completing the training, Antonella achieved her target and obtained a position at a leading telecommunications firm.
For Paralympic Adapative Rower, Florinda Trombetta, the ACP has helped steer her towards success in a maintream career. As Italian national champion and part of her country's 2012 Paralympic games team, Florinda knows what it takes to succeed, not just in sport but working life. Saying: "Sport in general and adaptive rowing are based on clear rules, on respect for one's team mates and opponents and on efforts to achieve demanding goals. All these aspects are also present in my professional life today". Through the ACP, Florinda has had the opportunity to take part in individual work orientation. This enabled her to display her attitudes and professional potential, as well as to analyse her skills and to define a precise professional role and target. As a result, Adecco - who in cooperation with the Olympic and Paralympic Committees delivers the ACP - offered Florinda an employment contract in the Adecco Training Centre in Milan.
The challenge for Florinda is to combine her working activity with her dream of continuing to compete in the elite sport. "For us athletes, the possibility of working is a great opportunity to be independent but it is also a testament to our ability. The ACP is a great opportunity for all Olympic and Paralympic athletes. I intend to tackle in order to promote awareness of the importance of sport for persons with disabilities. And in my working life too I have set myself ambitious goals that I am determined to achieve".
"Before the ACP, my career – both professionally and as a sportswoman – was uncertain. I had faith that great things were about to come my way, but I was not ready to face the inevitable changes. I was excited and nervous at the same time. With the ACP, I suddenly felt more self-reliant, especially when it came to taking tough decisions. It helped me find my inner strength. I'm definitely a renewed Paola!
It was actually thanks to the ACP that I realised how much my approach to working was somehow shaped by my sport: I am a perfectionist, a hard worker, committed and always striving for excellence.
I now work for an Airline Accounting Centre. I am responsible for all the payments side of it: invoices, cash boxes, and account reconciliations. I want to become a financial expert and in the future help other sports colleagues obtain the working positions they want, because I believe athletes are such a valuable asset for both companies and society!"
Hayden McLaren's passion for running began at an early stage, inspired by forest runs with his father near his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Breaking the four-minute mile and competing for New Zealand at junior level in the world championships indicated elite athletic potential. These achievements fuelled Hayden's ambitions for the Olympic Games . However, Hayden (born August 87) is keen to assert his sights are set not just on Olympic glory: "We are not going to be sportsmen or women for our entire lives so it's important to prepare for life after sport. I have dreams of working in health promotion. I love seeing and helping people achieve their own personal challenges no matter what their level of ability."
To move close to his long-term goal, Hayden, who already has a BA, is soon to embark upon a health science degree. He recognizes work experience as a vital too. After attending an IOC ACP workshop and career discussions with an IOC ACP manager at Adecco, Hayden found an administrative position in the Earthquake Commission (EQC) in Christchurch. The EQC is a government agency, which was founded in 1945. Today, it is responsible for providing natural disaster insurance for New Zealand residents, as well as funding natural disaster research public education programmes. The EQC is heavily involved in the recovery effort from the major Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes that hit the country's South Island in September 2010 and February 2011 respectively. Hayden's role is structured around a 7am-3pm working day during the week, freeing up his afternoon and weekends for his sport. "It's been a great opportunity to meet people from other walks of life, make good contacts for the future and new friends." Reflecting his committed but balanced approach to everything he tackles, Hayden remarked, "I organize my time and get plenty of sleep to ensure I am properly recovered from training. I have a responsibility to bring my A game and positive attitude to the workplace the next day." Summing up his IOC ACP experience, Hayden said, "The programme is an extremely helpful way to identify how your skills as a sportsperson can be integrated into the labour market. I can focus, I'm calm under pressure and have a competitiveness that helps get tasks done! The Programme helps you learn about yourself, time management techniques and much more. It's brought a whole new dimension to my efforts to fulfill my aspirations."
Since retiring from competitive swimming in 1998, Portugal's Miguel Cabrita came up against the same career challenges faced by a lot of athletes: balancing his studies with earning money. As Miguel put it: "I had to choose between pursuing my studies without any financial help, or find a job and earn an income. This latter option prevailed."
Whilst he enjoyed teaching swimming professionally, approaching his mid-thirties and without a clear career path, Miguel was concerned about his long-term work and life aspirations. In 2007, the Portuguese Olympic Committee introduced him to Adecco and the Olympic Future Programme ("Programa Futuro Olímpico") – the ACP in Portugal.
This helped Miguel get his career planning on track: "I attended a group meeting with fellow athletes and then two personal interviews with training and programme specialists. The goal was to find the perfect match between our business, sporting and educational background and the areas in which we would like to work, regardless of our previous experience."
"Now, having attending these meetings, and thanks to Adecco's counselling, I'm confident I can put the doubts over my future to rest, whereas before I had absolutely no idea whatsoever about it! It's been an unforgettable experience."
Nuno Laurentino (born in 1975), has a bachelor in Exercise and Sport Sciences with a Post graduate in High Performance Training of Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. He started swimming at the age of 7 and left competition at the age of 32, after being one of the most successful Portuguese swimmers of all times with 200 national records, 125 national titles, several European and world major finals and two Olympic Games appearances – Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. From year 2000 until 2005 he was a member of the Portuguese Olympic Athletes Commission helping promoting new guidelines for the high level sports dual career in Portugal. In 2005, he entered in the IOC Athlete Career Programme and took part in the seminar for athletes run by Adecco. "I had no clue that all the hard work I have done for swimming and studying had given me so many skills for the working world but the IOC ACP proved to me that these skills were actually transferable!" Susana Cravo, ACP manager at Adecco and responsible for the implementation of the IOC Athlete Career Programme in Portugal, supported Nuno in getting a foot in to the business world. In 2007, Nuno was recruited to work with the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, part of the Portuguese Government responsible for sport, where, with is background as a top level athlete has played an important role on the creation of new high performance training facilities and legal measures concerning the athletes' sports career in Portugal.
Susana Feitor knows what it takes to 'go the extra mile' in the world of sports. Born in 1975, Susana is a five-time Olympian and 2005 World Championship Bronze medalist in the 20km Race Walk discipline. Through most of her athletic career, Susana, based in Lisbon, has faced the challenge of combining tough training regimes with her university studies in Sports Science: "Sometimes we have long training camps at altitude and keeping in rhythm and pace with studies is difficult". Whilst still training and competing, Susana regards the IOC ACP as her partner with the 'field knowledge' and tools to help her making a successful transition into a working life after sport: "I am going to leave a career that has been my life for twenty years and start another. I want to feel secure and happy in my 'new skin'. Susana's ambition is to find a role still connected to the world of sports, perhaps helping companies and people realize the connection between physical activity, wellness and productivity: "The IOC ACP has helped me build 'self- knowledge beyond the world of sports'. I discovered that I possess 'hidden skills' that will help me in professional life. It's also helped me better balance the competing interests of competition, training, study, friends and family. I have started building a network of contacts that will put me on the road to success in professional life. As a member of the Portuguese Athletes Commission I can see the value the programme brings our athletes seeking to transition to a working life after sport."
Cross Country Running
Romanian elite cross-country athlete Cosmin Suteu (born July 84) has a real 'fighting' spirit to compete and win both on and off the track. With the help of the IOC Athlete Career Programme that spirit is helping him start a professional career in Human Resources via a full time role at Adecco in Bucharest. Cosmin's adaptability as a person is already demonstrated by his athletic, work and educational achievements. In his sport, he competed in distances from 1,500 to 5,000m. Cosmin participated in the 2004 Olympics and two of his best achievements were 2nd in the European cross country championships (year 2003) and 2nd in the 3,000 m European Cup event (year 2007). He also won two running titles at the World Firefighting Games (years 2008 and 2010) for which his four years experience as a Fireman made him eligible to enter. Whilst training and competing he studied for a Master's degree in Sports and Physical education and at the same time took a course specializing in HR. After retiring from elite competition, the Romanian Athletics Federation connected Cosmin to the ACP in late 2010. In March 2011, Cosmin did a short internship at Adecco, creating a favorable impression. Subsequently, he was pleased to accept the offer of a full time role in administration and payroll, with Adecco Bucharest. Cosmin is now channeling his energy and capabilities into HR:"The HR world is proving to be an interesting challenge and I want to be the best I can in this new arena. Working in a very well organized environment allows me to learn many new skills. The fact that I have traveled worldwide and met with a lot of people in my sporting life helps me to communicate and integrate into a team very quickly."
Zuzana was named to Slovak Womens National Ice Hockey team in 1997 at the age of 17 and captained Slovakia through the greatest success ever (2004 - 2009). With her team, she achieved a ranking in the highest division through participation in the Winter Olympic Games Vancouver in 2010. During qualification for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Slovakia defeated Bulgaria 82-0. This win is the most lopsided in the history of the IIHF. At the Olympics, however, they lost 18-0 to Canada, marking the most lopsided victory in Olympic competition. Zuzana has dedicated her life to ice hockey and the Olympic Games 2010 surely marked and topped her career.
Zuzana received her MSc in Anthropology in 2005 in Brno, Czech Republic, having divided her time between University and a busy game schedule. When she was seriously thinking about what she wanted to do for a living after she quits playing ice hockey, she contacted the Slovak Olympic Committee to join the Slovak Athlete Career Programme.
She is sure that sports means a lot to her but it is not the only thing that counts in life. She is very confident about her experience, education and future professional career: "It is time to start making a living and I dream about a combination - sports and education. The IOC Athlete Career Programme in cooperation with Adecco supports me just perfectly in reaching this goal."
Zuzana is currently working at Adecco in Slovakia as Marketing Assistant.
For South African rower Lawrence Ndlovu, whose early interest in sports and rowing was encouraged by his school head, attended an IOC ACP workshop held by Adecco and SASOC in Johannesburg in May 2011. It was an experience that helped get his career development heading in the right direction: "The session we had about how to develop a career path ready to take on after retirement from elite competition, was a real eye-opener. I have never really thought or planned my future beyond rowing. It gave me a new focus and a new outlook on life. The workshop exercises also provided me with insights to key skills such as networking and interview technique." Lawrence (born September 1980) has big Olympic aspirations. He already has an impressive list of sporting achievements, including a top ten finish in the lightweight single scull category of the 2009 World Championships in Poland. Studying for a degree in Sports Science whilst also committing to an intense training regime is helping Lawrence with his time management skills, so that he can "balance the energy level and focus on both priorities." Some part-time work as a sports coach and the University degree are also helping Lawrence equip himself for a career in sport beyond competition: "I see my long-term career being involved in sport, perhaps as a coach. I can then help upcoming and talented young sports addicts build their career. I feel my current studies and the IOC ACP are helping me grow and keep me on course for a fulfilling working life after competitive sport."
Staying on the right track and being well balanced is an essential part of success, not just in bobsleigh, but also in building a long-running career. Alex Baumann (born in March 1985) was a member of Switzerland's bobsleigh squad in Vancouver 2010 and is aiming for success in Sochi 2014, as well as hoping to gain ground in his career.
Having completed a master's degree in food science, Alex turned to the ACP to help him find an internship to further improve his skills and career prospects. Alex's ACP manager helped him secure an internship at a prestigious Swiss chocolatier. For Alex, this was a perfect opportunity as he aims to add to his tally of European and World Cup medals at the Olympic Games, but also to progress his career in the working world: "It's an ideal flexible solution to combine with my training. I can establish myself in the working world and optimise my job opportunities after my athletic career. I enjoy applying my 'athlete qualities' - like discipline, dedication, persistence, ambition and motivation – to the challenges and opportunities in the working world. The ACP not only points out general strategies, options and alternatives, but also looks to develop individual, tailor-made solutions."
"Bella" Jefferson Bellaguarda
The right attitude is critical to success in any field, be it sport or work. Swiss Olympic beach volleyball player "Bella" Jefferson Bellaguarda, (born in Brazil September 1976) represented Switzerland at the London 2012 Olympic Games. "As a child I had the dream of being an Olympian and this dream came true in London where I proudly finished 9th. Now I dream of becoming a tram driver in my adopted home town of Zurich, Switzerland."
Bella has definitely got the mindset to succeed and with the help of the Swiss Olympic Athlete Career Programme (ACP), he is on track to reaching his new goals. Encouraged by the Swiss Volleyball Association to get involved with the ACP, Bella was given practical support through career coaching, as well how to enhance his job search- and application skills by his Adecco ACP coach. Bella soon found a position as a postman whilst also enrolling in a course to improve his German. Both steps will increase his chances of reaching his goal to become a tram driver. "I'm happy to get a wage every month, and when the time is right, I know I will be at the steering wheel of a Zurich tram fulfilling my dream in the working world!" Bella added: "My sporting success shows I have got the qualities of commitment, attention to detail, trust and teamwork. Now, thanks to the support of the ACP, I realise these qualities will help keep my career going in the right direction. I urge any athlete thinking about seeking advice from the ACP to 'give your next dreams a try'!"
For many elite athletes pursuing the Olympic dream can be an all-consuming activity, leaving little or no time to gain work experience. Patrick Heuscher (Born December 1976) reached the very top of beachvolleyball. Competing in three Olympic Games, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 with a bronze medal in his pocket from Athens together with his partner Stefan Kobel, he is also an eight-time Swiss Champion and a two-time Grand Slam Winner, rounding up his achievements of a stellar sporting career.
Patrick got a lot out of the circumstance that his sporting career blossomed under difficult conditions, however, his thoughts only turned towards a mainstream career after first linking up with the ACP in 2008, post-Beijing Olympic Games through the Swiss Olympic Committee. After fulfilling his last Olympic Dream at the London 2012 Olympic Games time was right for Patrick to start planning and working with his ACP coach for a new challenge. Patrick was quick to see the value of this cooperation: "My ACP coach gave me real insights into the labour market and how employers think. She encouraged me to ask the right questions to myself in order to discover what's right for me. Above all she gave me realistic view of what was possible and I had the chance to meet fantastic people".
Patrick has now embarked upon a Master degree in Banking and Finance which will request the hard work and passion he demonstrated on the field of play. He has a clear goal – as he always did - graduating in 2015. He will be all set to combine academic know-how with the dedication and winning mindset of an elite athlete and Olympian.
Since 2002, Stéphanie Jäggi has been part of a Curling Team and competing on the highest international junior level. Three times she won the Junior Swiss Championships and participated in four world junior curling championships. Her goal is to win a medal at the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sotschi. Stéphanie studied Business Administration with the major in tourism in Luzern and achieved the bachelor in 2009. After finishing her studies she was searching a trainee job in marketing or tourism to gain experience in the professional world.
To Stéphanie Jäggi Curling means a lot, but it is not the only thing that counts. She is very conscious about her education and future professional career.
"Although curling always had a high significance to me I always wanted to have a good education. Because I have always known that I will never be able to make a living of my athletic performance and my goal has always been to combine both - sports and education.
The IOC Athlete Career Programme in cooperation with Adecco gave me a perfect start in to the world of work together with reaching my goal. Through this temporary job experience, I am able to get my first experiences with the world of work but I also have enough time to prepare for the upcoming sports season".
Beijing Olympic Games competitor and European Swimming Champion (2008 and 2011) Flori Lang (born in January 1983) knows that his passion, discipline and dedication will give him a head start in the career race. Taking the sporting analogy a stage further he realizes it's still a major challenge entering the mainstream working world: "The limited amount of work experience you bring with you is the main disadvantage transitioning athletes face when competing with the talent pool in the career marketplace."
Whilst swimming for the National team, Flori managed to complete a bachelor degree in banking & finance and also gained work experience as a junior investment controller during his studies. After retiring in 2012, he was encouraged by the Swiss Olympic Committee to meet up with the ACP coach for support with his professional career. "The face-to-face advice on preparing my CV and interview techniques was invaluable. The e-learning tool emphasized some of the knowledge I already had acquired and gave me confidence in my skills. The professional support helped me look at my strengths and weakness objectively and taught me skills and pointers when going through job interviews. I learned that with honesty, my educational background and the will to succeed I could address any interview situation with confidence." After a period of intense networking, Flori's preparation paid off and he landed a role as a business analyst with a renowned financial institution.
Flori is enthusiastic about the future, "I feel I am in the right lane for my career to develop. I'm ambitious, able to work under pressure, target oriented, competitive and have a great opportunity to contribute and progress. I am looking forward to being in a position where I meet challenges again and at the same time get the support and know-how necessary to add value to my team and the company."
Since 2003, Stefanie Marty has been part of the Swiss Women's Ice Hockey team and competing on the highest international ice hockey level. She has participated in five World Championships and two Olympic Games: Torino and Vancouver. In 2007 Stefanie Marty decided to study in the US to pursue her athletic but also academic career. She studies Finance and Economics at the Syracuse University and spends her summer breaks at home in Switzerland. The 2010 Olympics, where her team was ranked 5th, marked a highlight in her career. Stefanie scored a record-braking nine goals in Vancouver, resulting in her selection for an Olympic record in goals.
To Stefanie Marty sports means a lot, but it is not the only thing that counts. She is very conscious about her education and future professional career: "I have always known that I will never be able to make a living of my athletic performance and my goal has always been to combine both - sports and education. The IOC Athlete Career Programme in cooperation with Adecco supports me just perfectly in reaching this goal. During my summer break, Adecco helps me to find the perfect employment. Through this temporary job experience, I am able to get my first experiences with the world of work but I also have enough time to prepare for the upcoming sports season."
Nathalie Meier, a young Swiss javelin thrower (born September 93) not only has her sights set on the distance she might throw, but also on how she can develop a dual career combining sport and work. Nathalie, who achieved 7th place in the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, said, "My sporting goals are long-term – after the next goal which is participating in Rio in 2016 my heart is set upon winning a medal in the 2020 Games, so I'll need an income along the way." Whilst training hard to build-up her athletic abilities, Nathalie is also finishing an apprenticeship for Athletes with the Swiss Olympic movement. So time management skills are a key component of her day-to-day life. Joining the ACP programme is the next stop that is helping Nathalie prepare for the paid employment she'll need to sustain her life alongside her athletic activities. "The IOC ACP sessions have helped build my confidence about my work prospects – I now realize that the skills I have developed balancing sport and education, as well as the teamwork approach I have developed with my javelin teammates and coach, will be a valued asset in the workplace. I'm aiming high in sport, work and life and the IOC ACP Programme gives me the support and knowledge I need."
Keeping all the balls in the air is tough for most international athletes. The pressure to train, travel and compete really put athletes to the test when it comes to gain work experience, generate an income and plan for a career beyond sports. Sarah Meyer (born January 1984), an international beach volleyball competitor for Switzerland was doing just that until her competitive career came to abrupt end in 2010, after a hip injury.
Thankfully, Sara had managed to complete her Bachelor degree in communications and she got in contact with the IOC Athlete Career Programme. The Swiss ACP manager supported her in finding an internship at an assurance company, which proved to be a great stepping stone and network for a full time role as Managing Director at a Swiss volley ball club. Sarah said, "It was not planned to stop my sports career from one day to another, but you have to be prepared for every situation in life. Luckily, I had people supporting and advising me on how to bring my positive attitude from sporting life into the working world. The internship really got the ball rolling for my next career and now I am even aiming to achieve a Masters Degree to further deepen my management skills. In beach volleyball you have to give everything to win and that is what I transfer to my next career!"
Mapping the right route to a successful career whilst still competing in elite sport is not an automatic priority of athletes that are dedicated to sporting success. Sometimes it is only when injured and out of their daily training routine that athletes seriously think of the challenges of creating a life after sport. This is certainly true of Lea Müller (born 07.05.1982), a world-class orienteer from Liestal in Switzerland. In 2005 Lea, together with Simone Niggli, won the world relay championship; in 2008 she was 8th in the World Championship and in 2009 was 4th in the World Cup final. However, in 2010 an Achilles tendon injury put her rigorous sport and training routine on hold for many months. Lea had successfully completed a five-year sport and sport sciences diploma at Berne University in 2008, but sporting ambitions still dominated and the injury was a major setback. But as Lea explained, with the help of the ACP she was still able to make a positive step forward in her life: "As holder of a Swiss Olympic card, I knew about the ACP. It was an ideal moment to discuss my career prospects with an expert and plan my entry into the professional world. A meeting with a Swiss ACP advisor led to a three-month assignment at the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre in Muttenz, negotiated for me by Adecco. I worked in performance diagnostics and biomechanics. I jumped in at the deep end and my responsibilities grew week by week. For me the placement was the perfect solution to my forced injury lay-off. After sport, I can imagine working in this field. This placement gave me the opportunity to visualize and experience what life will be like beyond sport and it has been incredibly valuable."
Simone Näf has the ambition, focus and balance in her life to succeed both in international fencing and the working world. Living in Bern, Simone (born March 86) began fencing in 1998 and first represented Switzerland in 2003. Since then, her sporting highlights include finishing 8th in the 2008 world championships in Doha and winning a team bronze in the 2008 European Championships in Bulgaria. With London 2012 on the horizon, Simone is underway in an intense physical and technical training regime to help the Swiss team qualify for the Games. She has the clarity of mind to focus on her Olympic goal safe in the knowledge that she has the support of an IOC ACP career coach to help her fulfill her long-term career goals.
Whilst completing her three-year Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication in 2010, Simone was helped by Claudia Kaufmann, ACP manager of Adecco Switzerland. Claudia identified some administrative work in a national fundraising organization that has given Simone valuable experience and useful income. Moreover, Claudia helped Simone prepare a professional CV and portfolio of her visual communication capabilities that include all manner of on and offline-print and production. "Like I have coaches for fencing, Claudia is my career coach. With Claudia's support I'm looking at internships where I may be able to apply my visual communication skills, or possibly join a special military programme for sports-people. With the IOC ACP's help I aim to achieve my ambitions not just in sport, but in my working career too."
Not all athletes have a clear vision of work and life aspirations after elite level sports. However, sustaining themselves economically along the way, whilst gaining a range of work experience is an essential strategy for many during the sporting journey. That's how the ACP has helped Swiss curler Irene Schori (born 1983). Already a 2014 European and World Cup champion and Olympic competitor, Irene has set her sights on Gold in the Winter Olympic Games 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. An employer that understands Irene's need for flexibility to meet her training and competition schedule is essential, "I need a part time job and decent salary – I can work all week in the Summer but during winter one or two days a week work time is all I can fit in." She realizes it has to be a 'win-win' situation for the employer too: "I am mentally very strong and have a lot of life experience through traveling worldwide with my sport. Whatever the role, I'm focused and have a sense of responsibility. I am conscious I need to make a positive contribution to my employer and colleagues with whom I work". The ACP Project Manager helps Irene find a role with the right fit: "My project manager takes a tailor- made approach identifying opportunities. She has even made sure I don't miss out on suitable opportunities by submitting my CV on my behalf during a week I was focused on competing abroad. I recommend the ACP to every athlete, not just as their sporting career is ending, but along the way!"
Whilst growing up in Germany, Turkey's Metin Coruk's (born 1988) sporting prowess shone initially on the football field. But at 16 he stepped inside the boxing ring and thrived, establishing himself not just in the premier league of amateur boxing in Germany, but in the Turkish Boxing Team. Whilst transitioning from the field to the ring was seamless, getting moving on a career path was tougher.
Despite demonstrating an ability to combine sport with academic work – Metin achieved secondary level in the German school systems – a lack of experience was cited as a reason many job applications did not get him an interview, let alone a job offer. After joining the IOC Athlete Career Programme, his Adecco ACP coach helped Metin step-up his approach. Metin learnt how to communicate that the discipline and dedication required for success in the ring, was transferable into the working world. Soon, an opportunity arose for a temporary position at an Adecco on-site recruitment office for a leading car manufacturer in Baden-Württemberg, Metin's home-town. Starting in an office admin role, Metin proved a 'big hit' as a team player with his colleagues and was given the flexibility to meet his training and competition schedule. The offer of a full-time position as a recruitment consultant with Adecco soon followed and was gratefully accepted.
Metin said: "In my boxing life at national level, I've benefited from being trained by top professionals: Now the IOC ACP has given me the professional approach required to get between the ropes of the working world with confidence. I've now got the best of both worlds – the flexibility to pursue my sporting dreams plus a start on the career ladder which gives me an income, experience and prospects for the long-term."
Veronica Day (born March 1989) exemplifies how many elite-level athletes are able to apply their drive and ambition not just to their sport, but also to a mainstream career. As a promising college long and triple jumper, Veronica's potential was spotted by the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and she has already made her mark in national Skeleton competitions.
Now, Veronica has made her next goal to be a medal in the 2018 Winter Games. But as a graduate in Business and International Studies, she also has accessed the ACP to help keep her long-term employability and career development on track:" When I'm done with sport, I want to make sure my skills are up to par with everyone else in the market. I don't want the résumé of a recent graduate that finished 8 years earlier. I want to continue to learn and keep current."
Through the Team USA ACP, Veronica landed a marketing and events coordinator role with Adecco North America. Amongst other projects, she helps orchestrate one of the company's global CSR Programmes called Win4Youth, which consists in supporting the individual markets to coordinate their big events around the country and motivate employees to participate in running and walking events that raise money to prepare disadvantaged young people for the working world. This job often involves travel and long hours, but also provides flexibility and the opportunity to work remotely. Veronica thrives on the challenge: "The discipline, work ethic, time management skills and commitment to excellence that define me as an athlete are now paying dividends in my working life. The ACP has helped me get a great job and develop my career skills whilst earning a living and still training and competing at elite level. I think competing and training with the best in the world only breeds excellence and this overflows into the rest of my life, including work. I love what I do and it encourages me to get out there and do the best job that I can for my Adecco and Skeleton teams."
Excellent, smooth 'transitions' are a vital component of success in weightlifting. Few know this better than Carissa Gump. Living in Colorado Springs, Carissa's weightlifting career culminated when she was able to represent the USA in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, after which she retired. This was a great way to finish a twelve-year sporting career that saw her break several national records and become the first to represent her country in the 63 kg category. But making a successful transition from sport to what Carissa calls 'normal life', presented a whole new set of challenges compared to those she found on the weightlifting stage. That's where the IOC Athlete Career Programme (IOC ACP) provided a helping hand.
Carissa had already gained some work experience whilst still competing and studying for a BA of Science in Business at the University of Colorado that she completed in 2010. Carissa's work experience included various customer services roles for a major chain of gyms as well as a role at the Athlete Service Centre of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). After a further short contract with USOC between May and July 2010 as an Account Manager helping organize Olympic Day Celebrations, Carissa was looking for a more permanent full-time role. Support on CV development and interviewee technique from the Adecco IOC ACP Career Coach, Lou Albertson, had made sure she was in great shape to seize the right opportunity: "Working together with Lou on my CV opened my eyes to the transferable skills and qualities I had displayed in my sport, education and work experience to date. Amongst other things I'm a goal setter and a planner with great degree of determination." The next step was a job placement as Athlete liaison with Adecco North America. So now Carissa helps other athletes find job placements and obtain career support through the IOC ACP programme: "I know what these athletes are going through – it's tough juggling sport, education and work and have concerns about life after sport. So it's great to help others transition into mainstream work through this programme."
As a bronze medalist in the Women's Team Epee at London 2012 and Pan-American Champion in the same year, Maya Lawrence (born July 1980) knows what it takes to set and achieve goals. The aspiration to become an Olympian began in Maya's teens and Rio 2016 is still on her agenda. Meanwhile, Maya – who has a Masters degree in education and some teaching experience - has set her sights in a career in the world of marketing and communications, applying the same ethos that has made her a fencing champion: "My sporting career has allowed me to learn how to set goals, make a plan, stick to it and achieve those goals. I've learned that steadfastness and hard work can get you a long way. Simply, I want to be the best I possibly can be at whatever I do."
Getting a foothold and gaining experience in the marketing and communications field was Maya's career goal. This door opened when she learnt - at the London Olympic Village - about the IOC Athlete Career Programme. After speaking with a representative, Maya was directed to the Team USA Athlete Career Program. She signed up and benefited from a range of on-line and personal career coaching and resumé support sessions, as well as mentoring. The fact that she was able to do this remotely was key for her because Maya lives and trains in Paris. Her involvement in the programme led to a 3-month internship which was organized through the cooperation between the Adecco US ACP manager and the Adecco France ACP responsible.
Maya is now an intern with a not-for profit organization based in Paris which supports young entrepreneurs in realizing their business ideas. She is working with the Head of Communications on the NGO's event planning and social media activities. "The ACP and the people behind it helped me figure out what path I wanted to take and reinforced my confidence that I have the qualities I need to successfully transition from sports to a career I've had my eye on. I know I have what it takes to achieve these new goals", states Maya.
Mechelle Lewis Freeman
Sprinter Mechelle Lewis Freeman knew that she had the dedication and focus to reach the top for Team USA. A world championship gold medal in 2007 in the 4x100 relay was followed by a stellar performance in the same discipline at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In 2009, injury forced her to take a premature retirement, but even with a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and work experience in the same field, navigating her way ahead proved challenging. Unsure as to her post-sporting career path, Mechelle reached out for the support of the Team USA Athlete Career Programme: "It's a mind-set transition to navigate your way through a new path, setting and lifestyle. You need guidance through that rediscovery period, and you need people to help you clarify your skill sets and then go about transferring them. In a huge time of uncertainty, it was a huge help to have the ACP by my side. As an athlete, you always want to make something work. For the first time, I felt like an underdog going into the workplace. You have to prove that you are more than just an athlete. The ACP helped me to see what I could do with my skills."
Through the ACP, Mechelle got an opportunity to work at The Coca-Cola Company in its Olympic Games Management group, which proved to be a win-win partnership. It gave her hands-on involvement in a wide range of sponsorship and communication activities while inspiring and motivating colleagues around her. Mechelle adds, "Athletics taught me to overcome obstacles and break barriers. If you carry that attitude into the workplace to show what you can do, to help you troubleshoot, achieve goals and set precedents, then you will do well."
Emma Preuschl is gearing up for the London 2012 Paralympic Games – and Adecco has been a source of support throughout her training. Emma is a member of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team-Rowing. She found employment with a major conglomerate through the Team USA Program while she trains for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Adecco's Team USA Program is for National Team athletes who are currently training and/or competing in Olympic/Paralympic events. In partnership with the USOC, Adecco helps Team USA athletes find temporary employment during their training with select USOC sponsor companies throughout the country.
Less than a year ago, however, Emma was in a very different place. She couldn't figure out how to train and pay her bills, which were mounting. Employment remained elusive. During job interviews, hiring managers seemed interested in her story as an athlete, but they were unwilling to hire someone who needed to work a 10am-3pm schedule, with additional time off for travel.
Emma was all but ready to give up her sport – until the Team USA Program "literally saved my athletic career," she said.
Now, Emma is working for a supportive employer and isn't as concerned about money, which allows her to perform better in her sport. "Being on the edge of poverty is stressful to your athletic performance," she said. "In March, I reached my personal best on my rowing test, and I credit that to Adecco."
When Keeth joined the ACP in 2006 he was working at a telecoms company as a financial research analyst. At that time, he was having difficulty balancing his work commitments, training schedule and commuting, so he looked to the ACP for answers.
With the ACP, the focus was on building his confidence so that he could re-position himself effectively and get his working life on track. "With my increased ability to describe my position and translatable skills, rather than getting a new employer, Verizon worked with me, kept me on the team and enabled me to have a balanced scheduled that included working, training and competition."
Now Keeth is preparing a new move, studying for an MBA, and the ACP is helping with guidance and practical help on his future career plans.