Inside Rio 2016 with Alexandra Sergeeva ’12 PGD ESE
Meet alumna Alexandra Sergeeva, Venue Operations Manager for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Alexandra graduated from Glion in 2012 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Event, Sport and Entertainment Management. She shares a behind the scenes look into the operations for the Olympic Games 2016 and talks about what it takes to be successful in the international events industry.
1. What is your role? What do you do?
I am working for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. My role is operations manager for the rugby and modern pentathlon venue during the Olympic Games and football 7×7 during the Paralympic Games at the Deodoro Stadium and Deodoro Aquatic Center.
This role includes major operational planning for the venues such as: coordination of activities of all operational functions to ensure safe, effective and efficient operations within the venue. Control construction readiness, maintenance and zoning of the venue. Support venue general manager in order to provide full awareness of all politics and procedures of the event.
2. What do you like about your work?
Here in Rio, I like almost everything. First of all, I am a part of the biggest event in the world and I know that I am a part of the history. Each person is important for the Olympic and Paralytic Games; however, my role is to lead the preparation of the venue. I do love the responsibility I have and I adore seeing how people in my team progress from day to day. We have a very warm environment in our venues and I am happy to share an incredible moment of my life with them.
Of course I also like Rio de Janeiro as city and I love the people living here. Being here makes me appreciate every day, every moment in my life.
3. What skills are necessary to be successful in event management?
This is not my first Olympic Games, so I am already a little bit more prepared compared to those who are working on the games for the first time. As I did the Post Graduate Diploma in Event Management at Glion, I was fully aware of all the processes that take place during such a big event. After university, I kept studying by myself and as a result I found myself speaking 5 languages. I really do believe that knowledge of difference languages creates a great benefit for those who want to work in major events around the world. Of course, those who want a career in international sport events have to be stress-resistant, easy-going, well-traveled, have good communication skills, but the most important thing is to always prepared for anything and react fast.
4. Behind the scenes, what is happening that people might not know about?
The most important thing going on behind the scene is the team building. We are building a great team that will make the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the best they can be and create a really good network of connections. Here, you get to know your present and future colleagues, as the world of events is very small and always seeking professionals with great experience.
5. How are the preparations for Rio 2016 impacting the hospitality scene in the city?
I was visiting Rio for the first time 5 years ago. Now, I can see the difference. Because of the games, the city became more attractive for the foreigners to start their own business here as cafes and restaurants. This brings service in Rio to the new level. A lot of new hotels opened and a lot of really nice hospitality places can be easily reached.
Top photo: Thomas Bach is a former Fencing Athlete, having competed at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and won a gold medal, representing West Germany. Now, he is the International Olympic Committee’s president and made a great speech for Rio 2016’s team. At the end, Francisco Netto (Glion alumni working for Rio 2016 as well) and I had the pleasure to talk to him for a couple of minutes.