Employee Tuesday – What does a Corporate Development Manager do?

by Alena Diduch

Kate, can you quickly explain what a Corporate Development Manager is and what a usual day looks like for you?

Great question, one that I’m sure our whole company wonders about as Corp Dev usually operates behind the scenes! We like to call our little team “small, but mighty” as we handle a wide variety of topics ranging from project management of many of the group’s strategic cross-department topics, post merger integrations, international expansion and supporting the M&A team with investor requests.

I am normally staffed on around 2-4 different projects at a time, so you really have to be able to prioritise your time well based on how important the project is and how urgent it is needed. You are responsible for getting a project going, keeping it moving along and seeing it over the finish line- and sometimes it can be a real marathon! I spend a lot of time aligning with different stakeholders and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, and reading the same book (to borrow a phrase from Stas Hagemans!) 

This also means coming up with solutions to solve hurdles the project faces to keep things moving and planning ahead for the next project phases. As the projects are important for the groups strategic goals, there needs to be a lot of communication through regular updates and presentations to the Founders, Executive Circle as well as the Board. No two days are ever the same and it’s awesome to get to know the different departments on new projects. Can I add a shameless plug that we are hiring right now? Link

You’ve got quite a story to tell. Starting at a bank in Ireland, joining the cosmetics industry in Paris, then over to pharmaceuticals before arriving at Urban Sports Club in Berlin. What has been your main takeaway so far?

When you graduate with a business degree it’s hard to know what you want to “be” afterwards, so I jumped around a bit to try to figure out which area of business I wanted to be in, which city I wanted to live in and which industry suited me best. Looks like I found a pretty good fit with Urban Sports Club! My main takeaway is that the cosmetics industry definitely has the best perks, damn I miss the free products haha but seriously, I think the biggest takeaway has been don’t be afraid to fail and to do things outside of your comfort zone. I love this quote from Carrie Fisher and think it’s a great philosophy to live by- “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

You are currently playing two Irish sports here in Berlin. Tell us a bit about Gaelic Football and Camogie. 

So you’re wondering how do I even pronounce that word- “camogie” [ka-moh-gee] and what the hell is it? Well camogie is the best sport in the whole world and comes from the greatest country in the world- Ireland… I guess I’m a little biased here 😉

It’s also known as hurling (for men) and it’s the fastest field sport in the world as the ball is moving faster than a hurricane! Here’s a little video which shows a bit how it’s played but in a nut-shell it’s a stick and ball game, played on a grass pitch with H shaped goalpost at each end, where the aim is to score the highest amount of goals (under the crossbar) and points (over the crossbar). 

I’ve been playing camogie since I was 5 years old, but unfortunately had to give it up when I moved abroad. I was shocked and delighted to learn that Berlin had not just 1 but 2 clubs playing gaelic games (GAA) and I’m currently playing 1-2 times a week in my new home away from home at Berlin GAA. 

What’s the sport with the most check-ins in your Urban Sports Club app as we don’t feature camogie?

Someday I hope for Irish sports to be part of the offer, that will be my aim before I leave Urban Sports Club 😉 Actually I had to look this up because I am a bit of a sports hopper. During the pandemic I did a lot of online courses to keep myself sane when lockdowns were happening and working from home everyday. But now I’m back outdoors doing HIIT training and of course making use of my monthly massage! 

When you think about the Urban Sports Club values, which one do you feel most connected to and why?

For me I feel most connected to “leave your ego at the door” because whether it’s in your work life or your personal life, life is always easier when you have a kick-ass team around you that you trust, that always have your back and that is your #1 cheerleader. If you’ve ever played team sports you know that the closest and best teams are the ones that build each other up and make each other successful. We celebrate our wins together, no matter how big or small and this is a super important value in Urban Sports. 

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