A Wonderful Opportunity for Someone

From time to time I do a spot of head-hunting. This time it’s for one of my favourite clients, a European, second generation family-run, profitable and innovative company. It is setting up something which will be quite ground breaking, disruptive even in a business sector which has longevity. I try and cast my recruiting net far and wide, as well as mining LinkedIn and XING. So I thought;  “why not use my blog?”

Ideally, I’m looking for someone with around 5 years’ experience in Digital Sales/Marketing and/or e-Commerce who’s German mother tongue, speaks some French and English, and is either currently living in or wants to live in Paris. Here’s the advert below, if you know of anyone who might be suitable and interested, please pass it on.

Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration and assistance.

Country Manager/Sales Manager Germany

We’re an international group, a leader in the sale of consumables, and we’re about to launch our German subsidiary.

Our proven Business Model and original approach allows us to differentiate ourselves from the existing competition.

We are looking for a passionate and capable candidate, an entrepreneurial self-starter, to manage this ambitious project from our office in Paris.

Candidates should have a minimum of 5 years’ experience, be capable of working on their own initiative and used to handling broad decision-making authority and responsibility.

  • Possibility of acquiring a minority stake in the company.
  • B2C Web experience essential.
  • Fluent German, good French and English required.
  • Management experience in FMCG would be beneficial, but not essential.
  • Ability to use web communication tools and social media to structure and develop business proposals for German customers.
  • In particular, SEO experience Google / Facebook required.

If you are interested in this position, or you know someone who might be interested, please contact me directly at the following e-mail address: sheree@wanadoo.fr.

 

 

 

 

Good intentions

The weather over the festive period has been very mixed albeit largely cold and damp. This has not prevented us from cycling most days though we have tended to limit our exposure to a couple of hours max, generally circumnavigating Cap d’Antibes from both directions.

The additional hours at home have enabled us to make inroads into the “To Do” list. For example: the Vuelta ironing mountain is now a molehill, all of my paintings have been hung or re-hung, the cakes have been adorned with marzipan and icing and the bookcases have been re-organised. In addition, we have finalised our vacations for 2010, determined which races we’re going watch live and, more importantly, booked the hotels. 

As befits someone who’s not overly fond of Xmas, I’m not a big fan of New Year. My beloved and I generally prefer to celebrate together, over dinner, at a restaurant, not too far from home, which is renowned for its fine cuisine. Of course, there’s plenty of candidates around here. Yesterday evening we ate at one of our favourite local restaurants which affords us a splendid view of both the coast and St Paul de Vence. We had a delicious, well-balanced meal washed down with my favourite beverage and then watched the numerous firework displays before heading home.

This morning we discovered that rough seas had overnight deposited most of the beach onto the coastal roads so our daily cycle was cancelled. However, the clean up operation has already begun, it’s remained dry all day and the outlook for tomorrow is sunny.

Again and again

Two days in the Hautes-Alpes and my allergies have flared up again with a vengeance. I’m not sure exactly what is causing me to wheeze like an asthmatic grandma but clearly there’s more of it in the hills than on the coast.

Despite the hacking cough, sore throat and watery, pink eyes, I had an enjoyable time tackling some of those legendary cols around Briançon,

Col d'Izoard
Col d'Izoard

watching a couple of stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné liberé and catching up with friends. I was staying in the same hotel as the team from Française des Jeux who must have been pleased at Christophe Le Mevel’s 10th place on GC and Sébastien Joly’s 3rd place on the final stage.

While this is not my first trip to Briançon, it was my first opportunity to tackle the Galibier and Izoard. Previous trips had been spent riding shotgun for my husband while he trained for L’Etape du Tour 2006 (Gap to L’Alpe d’Huez): successful completion of which netted Euros 80,000 in goods and cash for charity.

When we first moved to France in search of a different pace of life my husband had hoped to improve his backhand slice and golf handicap. In reality, running a global business means being available 24/7. So when he did have the odd hour or two, he would hop on his bike and ride. Sensing he needed more of a challenge than a 35kn round trip to Antibes and back, I applied, on his behalf, for a place at L’Etape du Tour. This is generally the most difficult stage from that year’s Tour de France, run on closed roads for 7,500 amateur cyclists. I confess at the time I didn’t fully appreciate the enormity of the challenge, and, more fortunately, neither did he.

Bearing in mind his travel and work commitments, I spent hours on the internet looking for the best kit, the most suitable bike and put together a training and nutrition plan, which I heavily policed. I masterminded his fund raising and wrote articles on his endeavours for the trade press. He joined a local bike club doing as many club rides and events as possible. His first trial run was scheduled for early May and we stayed in Briançon, in the same hotel we had booked for the L’Etape.

Over the long week end Richard covered a significant part of the parcours, climbing both L’Alpe d’Huez and the Col du Lauteret. The Col d’Izoard was

Another pit stop
Another pit stop

still impassable but he did cycle up it as far as possible. This gave him enormous confidence that with a further 10 week’s of training he would be able to complete the parcours within the allotted time.

I drove back from Briançon looking like a rabbit with myxomatosis and only after 48 hours at home my symptoms have subsided a little. Regrettably, I had to banish all thoughts of the Cimes du Mercantour and only now am I reflecting on a disappointing month of training. However, I do need to get rid of the congestion to get my training back on track and to that end I have been dosing myself on Vicks Vapour Rub, an old favourite, and some cough medicine from the Pharmacy which tastes no where near as good as Benylin. I could easily have become addicted to that stuff and used to swig it straight from the bottle, no spoon required.

My next goal is the club organised circuit race in early August. I took part last year and was lapped 3 times on the 9km circuit. The ladies, all three of us, raced with the Grand Sportifs (men over 55). Fellow club members advised me to stay in the bunch and in my big bracket. I would have been happy to comply but they raced away from me at the start, up the hill and that was the last I saw of them until they lapped me again and again and again.

Friends along the way

I took up cycling really on a challenge from my husband who said I either had to start playing tennis again, take up golf or cycle. He kind of snorted out the third alternative and I’m quite sure he never expected me to take up cycling. It wasn’t even a case of reverse psychology.

I had just gotten back from working as a volunteer at the World Road Race Championships in Salzburg. One of the few occasions when the guys, the gals and the youngsters all take part and one gets to see six races in a few days. I had originally intended just to go and watch but when I went on the site to buy tickets, I noted that they were looking for volunteers, so I volunteered.

I had said that I was happy to do anything and, given my relative availability the organisers asked me to turn up a week before the racing started. I found myself a small, family-run,  B&B just outside of Salzburg and set off into the unknown on what turned out to be the first of many solo, cycling-related, road trips.  

I spent my time in Salzburg largely looking after the volunteers. Firstly, I sorted and handed out the uniforms. These had been made in China and the sizing was all over the place. For example, I wore an XL t-shirt, a small jacket and medium trousers. Caps and bum-bags were thankfully all one-size. Thereafter, my new-found friend Valeria and I were in charge of distributing the packed lunches each day to the 2,000 volunteers. Yes, an army of volunteers does march on its stomach.

Fortunately, our billet was round the back of the podium, next to all the TV wagons and their chow truck. Needless to say we were sitting pretty with refreshments on tap all day long.

We ensured that the packed lunches were distributed well before any racing started and then settled down in our ringside seats to enjoy the action.

During the podium ceremonies we were entrusted with the handbag of the Lady Governor of the province of Salzburg. This was our equivalent of a backstage pass and, as a consequence, got to meet and have our photos taken with some of the winners.

Vino and Sheree
Vino and Sheree

On the last day, after presenting the medals in the men’s road race, the presentation party left the podium via the back stairs. We were standing at the foot of the stairs, undertaking our bag guarding duties, and we duly shook hands and were thanked in turn by the afore-mentioned Governor, the Mayor of Salzburg and the President of Austria.

The best thing about this event wasn’t meeting the riders, or even seeing all the cycling up close and personal, it’s all the people that you meet along the way that make it such fun. Like this gentleman in the photo.

Super Mario
Super Mario

He’d retired before my interest in cycling was borne and was therefore fairly ambivalent until I met him – what a charmer!

I’m looking forward to meeting up with some of the people I met at Salzburg at this year’s Le Grand Depart in Monaco, where I’ll be a volunteer and they’ll be spectators.

Look no hands

I still remember the warm glow when I found the two-wheeled, red bike Santa had left for me in a nearby park the Xmas I was five. But I have conveniently forgotten how long it took me to shed its training wheels. When I was nine, I got a pale blue and grey Raleigh, but I was not allowed to ride it on the road, only in the garden and not on the lawn which took up about 85% of our garden.

At university, I once borrowed a friend’s bike and ran it into a parked car. I dimly recall I rode to work during the late 80s, early 90s on those few days when all forms of public transport were on strike. I also indulged in a spot of mountain biking in Austria. Though, lest you get the wrong impression, this consisted of me cycling down the hill from the hotel, along the valley and back to the foot of the hill whereupon my husband went to get the car to convey me and the bike back up the hill.

So, not exactly an auspicious history on two wheels even though my father was a keen cyclist, frequently cycling from Birmingham to Portsmouth (and back) to visit family, and my maternal grandfather made bicycle frames. Indeed, family and friends continue to be bemused by my very recent love affair with two wheels.

When I first started cycling my husband would not allow me to ride unaccompanied. If only you could have seen me, you would have understood why. So for the first 6-9 months I rode only at week ends or on the home trainer. Once I had my first road bike, it took me almost three weeks to master cleats and pedals, not realising that the latter could be loosened to make it easier to disentangle the former from the latter.

Pushing off on my left foot, I would cycle around the gated domaine where we live, then position myself handily near to one of the flower beds as I attempted to kick either one of my feet free. If I failed, I would just keel over into the flower bed. During this period, the gardeners wisely postponed putting in the summer bedding plants and I do believe that my miserable attempts to cycle provided them, and my neighbours, with some amusing moments. But they were hugely supportive and gave me a standing ovation, when I finally triumphed.  And, even now, they exhibit a lively interest in my cycling wanting to know how many kilometres I’ve covered and where I’ve been.

I’m now endeavouring to employ those same flower beds to cushion the impact as I try to cycle hands-free. I watch enviously as fellow cyclists ride along nonchalantly, answering their mobile phones, taking off or putting on articles of clothing without ever once wavering from the straight and narrow. Of course, when I ask them how they do it they all reply that they learnt when they were young. Is it simply a case that I’m too old to learn new tricks? Who knows? But I’m not giving up; not just yet anyway.

Blog away

Friends have been urging me to write a blog for some time largely on the strength of my amusing emails. But emails are easy to write; you write a long newsy note and then tailor it for each of your addressees. In my case, friends tend fall into one of two categories: sports fans or not.  Though to be fair, those in the “not” category do try to show an interest in my sporting passions.

Blogs on the other hand may be read by any number of people, known and unknown, whom I would prefer not to offend. I now have an even healthier respect for those who write daily blog entries. Where do they find their inspiration? More importantly, how do they find the time? I know that’s rich coming from someone who only works part-time but in between the cycling, household chores, taking care of my high maintenance husband (have I mentioned that before?), looking after our company’s administration etc etc I struggle to put fingers to keyboard every day. However, I do have surges of inspiration when I write 4-5 shortish blog entries.

Having spent years trying to condense reports into executive one-page summaries, I find I do the same with my blog entries. But is less really more?