Employee Tuesday – What does a VP Partner Management do?

by Marie Terhechte

End of last year you started your position as VP in Partner Management. How does this differ from your previous positions and what does a typical work day look like for you?

I’d already filled part of the role on an interim basis for most of last year, however I’m now more focussed on strategic involvement rather than day to day operations and tasks, as well as technical development and continuous product improvement to benefit our partners. I work even more closely with the product, data and controlling teams at Urban Sports Club and our studio software partner Fitogram. I also support the international markets as a sounding board for their needs and struggles. 

There’s no typical workday in such a dynamic environment, but one of the most important aspects of my role is making sure the team has everything they need. They are the driving force behind most projects and processes, so my focus has to be on creating an environment where they can thrive. Sometimes this means asking difficult questions, delivering a clear project scope and delegating responsibilities. Sometimes I need to challenge the status quo or simply answer questions. Here, listening is crucial and sounds easier than it is. I certainly struggle at times during stressful periods, but without listening, we’re working on assumptions and fixing problems nobody needs fixed. So I try to always listen, ask questions, create a clear scope, define a goal, then let the team go to work and support them along the way. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The best thing about my role is seeing my team develop. I love to see team members come into the company, develop, be challenged, go beyond their limits and break new ground. Through the years there have been so many amazing examples of this and it’s a privilege to witness their journey. I also enjoy developing and planning new strategies, and asking questions like where should partner management be in two, five or ten years? What do our partners and stakeholders need and how can we support them? I really enjoy asking and tackling these questions with the team. 

How do you unwind after a stressful week at work?

I like to take a long walk with my dog or get beat up by my brother in a kickboxing session. 

Which of our company values has the greatest impact on your life?

It’s tough to choose, but for me “Embrace Vulnerability” has a huge impact. Growing up, showing vulnerability was seen as a sign of weakness, so I spent most of my 20s hiding my vulnerabilities. Along the way I realized that the most influential people in my life and the ones I looked up to most were all able to show vulnerability! That’s when I began to understand three things:

  1. Showing vulnerability and sharing your struggles with your friends and colleagues takes a lot of courage and is a sign of strength.
  2. It’s easier to act on your fears or vulnerabilities once you speak them out loud, as it makes them concrete.
  3. Once you share it with others, they are very likely to support you along the way, because they understand how they can help.

To have this as a company value is huge and acts as a daily reminder that we’re all a work in progress. We have our good and bad days and especially on the latter it’s easy to fall back into old habits.

Your turn! Pick a question you’d like to answer or you think is interesting.

It’s not a question, just a beautiful quote I try to live by: 

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” – Maya Angelou

I had (and still have) great mentors in my life and although I can’t remember everything they ever said or did for me, I’ll never forget how they made me feel and I try to pay this forward as much as I can. So try to make everyone in your life feel good and most importantly – don’t forget yourself! 

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