Employee Tuesday – What does a Partner Manager do?

by Alena Diduch

Laura, you work in Partner Management in Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille. What are the key differences between these places?

I was recruited to develop our partner network in Marseille. I found the people there were very open to new challenges, and our exchanges were dynamic and pleasant. I felt a hint of curiosity towards Urban Sports Club, however I had to build our network from the ground up so there was a lot of work to do! 

That hasn’t changed – there’s still a lot to do, especially now we have to reactivate our community after months on pause. But we’re working on it!

In comparison, Paris has more competitors, however the concept was already established which made partner acquisition slightly easier. 

Bordeaux is a mix between Marseille and Paris. Some activities that have been popular in Paris for a while are now gaining traction in Bordeaux. However, some sports are specific to the cities of Bordeaux and Marseille because of their proximity to the sea, such as paddle yoga, and racket sports are more popular because there’s a lot more space.

I think I speak for all Partners Managers when I say it’s crucial for us to meet our partners, see their spaces and understand the atmosphere they want to create by participating in one of their classes or sessions. I do this in all three cities to ensure I have a full understanding of their offer. 

You used to work as a sommelier assistant in Melbourne. How does that complement your current position?

The skills I learnt during this experience weren’t directly useful in my mission as Partner Manager, but the adventure of living in Australia and particularly Melbourne really helps me break the ice with my partners, either because they’ve done something similar or because they’re curious about it. But I hope one day to show my skills during a business lunch by choosing the wine that will accompany our dishes ;)!

You’re a founding member of the Employee Participation Board (EPB). Why did you want to be part of this?

I joined the EPB team when we were still in the middle of the corona crisis and our future was full of doubt. I wanted to participate in a project that spoke to me and helped me connect with my European colleagues to help improve the conditions our team was facing during the crisis. 

The pandemic forced us to work, consume and live differently, which impacted all of us in varying ways. I found it interesting to experience the widely varied reactions, mindstates and viewpoints and try to find new options and solutions that helped the individual and the team as much as possible. 

As mentioned, we started the concept from scratch with the aim of finding solutions that serve the best interest of everyone.

Has there been a silver lining for you from the pandemic? 

The pandemic put my priorities, my desires and my life goals into perspective and forced me to live in the present moment. I had to adopt new coping strategies to deal with all my plans deteriorating, and although it was frustrating at first I soon learnt to let go of my negative emotions and release control.

As they say – “Time will tell!” 

Which Urban Sports Club value do you feel most connected to and why?

“Challenge yourself and others.”

When I look back on my 18 months at Urban Sports Club, this value stands out because I wasn’t just starting a new job, I was also living in a new city. Paris is a stimulating and exciting city with tons of opportunities, but it can also be exhausting.

A new living environment coupled with a new job and a new team forced me to get out of my comfort zone – and I like it! This was followed by the pandemic which led to a period of… lots of challenges! I had to focus on resilience and solidarity as well as performance. I had to find solutions to lots of problems while trying to stay connected to family and friends. Who knows what the next few months will bring, but I hope to be guided by this value for many years to come.


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