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As an elite athlete on the French canoeing team, he has flexible working hours at Lerøy in order to balance his sporting and professional life. By finishing fourth in the world championships, he secured his place on the team for his home Olympics, which will be hosted by Paris in 2024.
Finding the right balance between life as an elite athlete and his office job is vital for Leonard. His regular workplace is Lerøy’s office in France, but much of the time he works from all over the world so as to fit everything in.
–The key is good planning. I’m also lucky to be working for Lerøy, as they have complete trust in me and allow me to combine sport with my work, says Leonard.
He normally does three training sessions a day. First up in the morning is canoeing, in order to increase his endurance. Next, he does a high-intensity strength training or paddling session, before finishing off the day with a run in the evening.
In other words, Leonard’s results as a sportsman depend on him having flexible working hours.
–If my job at Lerøy didn’t allow me to do as much training as I do, there is no way I could have achieved these results. Equally, I have to work, as I wouldn’t be able to earn a proper living as a full-time elite athlete in France.
Loïc Leonard was born and grew up in St. Laurent Blangy, a charming little village in Northern France. As a young schoolboy he began exploring the opportunities available there, and that was when he discovered canoeing – a passion that would shape his future.
However, he has never been able to rely on natural talent alone: his success has been the result of many years of dedicated training and hard work. As time went by, Leonard started to realise that he was good enough to compete in big competitions, and now he has achieved something that many elite athletes can only dream of – qualifying for the Olympics.
–For me, the Olympics in France in 2024 are an opportunity and a dream come true. To reach this stage in my career, and above all to be able to compete on home soil, is a unique experience”, he says.
At Lerøy France, Leonard works in communications and marketing, and his tasks often include improving processes and increasing efficiency. Although balancing an intense training programme and his profession can be challenging, Leonard has discovered that many of the skills and principles he has developed as a sportsman are just as valuable in his working life.
His abilities to organise, set goals and deadlines, cope with stress and take a proactive approach to problem-solving have all been vital to his success as a canoeist, but they are equally relevant to his work.
–I need to be efficient and solve problems quickly in both competitions and my working life. The goal is always the same: to perform his tasks as well as possible.
Leonard does not just draw on the principles of sport in his work. He also loves transferring the values he has developed through sport to his work and his colleagues. Emphasising the importance of mental health and wellbeing at work, he encourages and challenges staff to take part in a variety of sporting activities.–Leonard is a source of inspiration for everyone at work. He has introduced several important initiatives that are promoting staff wellbeing. This includes developing a daily warm-up programme that factory workers do daily, launching ‘lunch and learn’ with a mental coach, as well as organising enjoyable mud runs, says Per-Arve Husevåg, the managing director of Lerøy Seafood France.
The initiatives appear to have achieved very positive results, with a significant reduction in sickness absence and an improvement in employees’ physical and mental health. In conclusion, Leonard encourages all companies to introduce equivalent activities.
–Anything is better than nothing. Whether it is a light muscle warm-up before work or a stroll with your colleagues during your lunch break, I think it helps to clear your mind, he says.
For Leonard, the coming year will be very hectic, but incredibly exciting. We wish him lots of luck on his journey to the 2024 Olympics!
*This article is one of a series of pen portraits of employees throughout Lerøy’s value chain. Lerøy’s values are openness, honesty, responsibility and creativity, and we strive hard to be a discrimination-free workplace.