Olympic Medalist, Two-Times Taekwondo European Champion, Knight of the Order of Merit decorated by the President of France, Champion For Peace, representing the Peace and Sport Organization, Marlene Harnois is currently enrolled in our MBA program.
As an athlete, passion and challenges drive me. I am convinced that with dedication and courage, all of our dreams could come true. While standing on the podium at the 2012 London Olympic Games, I realized that the most precious advantage of a victory lies in the impact it has on others, the positive values it promotes, and its power to inspire younger generations.
In that spirit, I then launched the Fondation Heart Angel, in Abidjan, to share my experience and contribute to the development of sport and education in West Africa. During this fulfilling journey, I mentored two young prodigies on their way to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I was blessed to see Cheick Cissé won the first Olympic gold medal in the history of the Ivory Coast. And Ruth Gbagbi became the first women Olympic medalist and World Champion.
Since these historical victories, I have been involved with the Peace and Sport Organization, placed under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. This organization promotes sport as a tool for development and peace and lead field actions worldwide. In 2017, with the support of Peace and Sport, I launched “La Caravane de la Paix” in Senegal and Mali (2019). It gathered Champions for Peace, governmental authorities, and NGOs, touring in the country to support local initiatives and to inaugurate water fountains near sports fields.
All those experiences have to lead me to continually evolve and have motivated my desire to further my academic education at the International University of Monaco (IUM).
IUM has tremendous assets on all levels. It goes from the diversity and excellence of the faculty Professors to the inspiring top executives and entrepreneurs who come to class and share their knowledge and experience with us. IUM’s small size cohort allows individualized resources that offer a unique and exciting learning experience. Also, the mentorship program stimulates the creation of synergies, produces limitless opportunities, and helps connections that last a lifetime.
What is the best advice you have ever received in your sportive professional life that you can apply in your business one?
All of the advice I have received through my sports career apply to my business life. They are both highly competitive environments where you have to set a goal, collaborate with teammates or partners, do the work in due diligence to succeed. The exercises might be different, but the state of mind and the process leading to victory or results remain the same. Whether in sports or business, you start by training to boost your skills. When facing problems, you reassess and adapt. And when you fail, you keep in mind that it is only an opportunity in disguise to create a more efficient solution, ultimately leading to a positive outcome. Success is only a matter of how many times you are willing to try again.
One piece of advice that I have learned through sport and believe that the workplace should reinforce: “alone we go faster, but together we go further.”
What is the purpose of sports today?
Sport is a universal tool that has the power to unite people, to inspire generations, and to contribute to building a culture of peace. The essence of the Olympics is to bring the world together to celebrate and promote values of Excellence, Friendship (Solidarity), and Respect, which are fundamentals in society today. Sport can also contribute to achieving many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in terms of gender equality, health, education, justice, and inclusive societies.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Happy and Passionate. No need to run predictive analytics for this one.
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