World Sailing is the governing body for competitive sailing at the international level. On Sunday, November 1st, Yann Rocherieux, Manager of the Translation and Production-Quality Departments at VirtualExpo Group, was elected vice president of the Board of Directors of World Sailing.
In our interview with Yann, we learn more about his passion for sailing, his career at VirtualExpo Group and his goals as a vice president of World Sailing.
What were the highlights of your sporting career?
I discovered sailing on Lake Geneva, in the middle of the mountains. At the beginning, I didn’t like competition! Then, everything happened pretty quickly after being selected almost by chance for a French championship: sports study program, championships and entry into the French team in 2002. At the time I was sailing a dinghy, a 49er, with a teammate. We were substitutes for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, then we were selected for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where we ranked 10th.
In 2012 I was the European champion with a new teammate. The same year and again in 2016, I was the training partner for the members of the French team selected to participate in the Olympics. Then I decided to stop high-level competition.
What has been your career path at VirtualExpo Group?
As a materials engineer, I discovered VirtualExpo Group during an internship at NauticExpo. I might have a slight addiction to boating!
I then became a Content Manager on NauticExpo for several years, then I worked on DirectIndustry before taking over managing outsourced projects. Today, I’ve evolved within the company and manage the translation team and quality-training department.
How did VirtualExpo Group help you follow your passion?
VirtualExpo Group agreed to sign the agreement for the professional integration of high-level athletes. This agreement allowed us high-level athletes to have a foot in the working world while pursuing our sporting career at the same time.
For me, it was important to have a professional project to complement my sporting career. When you make a career out of sport, you are faced with many uncertainties: there are ups and downs, the risk of injuries… It is difficult to live solely from professional sailing.
When I started at VirtualExpo Group I was working part-time. It was really a balance that allowed me to spend 8 years in good training conditions while continuing to acquire skills within the company.
How does your passion and expertise for sailing help you in your daily work?
Sailing is a multi-dimensional sport. There is, of course, the athlete who must be in the best possible physical condition but who can have failures nonetheless. And we also rely on very technical equipment that can get damaged and on weather forecasting, which is not an exact science. In order to succeed, you have to be constanting adapting.
An Olympic campaign is all about teamwork, not only with your teammate, but also with a whole staff, finding private partners, communication, sharing success stories and finding solutions in difficult times.
Multitasking for 15 years has helped me a lot when it comes to managing my teams and projects. I like when there is a lot going on and lots to do.
You were just elected vice president of World Sailing. Can you tell us what your duties will be during your term?
World Sailing is in charge of the promotion and development of sailing worldwide; the management of sailing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games; and drafting sailing racing rules. The Board is composed of a president and 7 vice-presidents elected for 4 years by the 147 member countries of World Sailing. While the Board members are unpaid positions, we have 30 employees and offices based in London. I have been involved with Word Sailing for 8 years now representing the athletes. Today, I am delighted to have been elected, the youngest in the history of the federation, to continue to contribute to the development of this sport that has brought me so much. This volunteer position as a director will also allow me to learn a lot from other directors who often have impressive professional careers. Because of my background, I will be very involved in all the projects that are closely related to the Olympic Games. And, in 4 years, for Paris 2024, sailing will be in Marseille!
What are your future plans?
Stay happy, find a little more time to go on sailing trips and, above all, keep running away from people who have more problems than solutions!