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Kenny Jean-Marie, Chief Member Associations Officer - FIFA (Interview)

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

An excerpt from the interview of Kenny Jean-Marie - a former French high civil servant with a diverse background in terms of education (with Master’s degrees in engineering, public administration, and sports governance), experience, and skills. Most recently before joining FIFA, he was Chief of Staff for French FA President Noël Le Graët and Director of International & Institutional Relations. Previous to this, he served for almost 20 years within several ministerial departments, and finally as Youth & Sports Senior Political Advisor to the French Prime Minister.

Q) A lot of people across the sports business start their careers in sport, maybe even as athletes. They start off with federations and in other places. You have a unique experience. You're part of the Navy. I would love to hear some experiences and takeaways from that experience.


A) Everything starts from passion and this is normal that at the end of the day I finished in sports because I started from sport. I've always wanted to become an engineer and to work in the water. This is why I passed the exam to join the French Naval Academy. Before I joined the Naval Academy, I studied science and I was a sportsman. I played volleyball for a long time. Volleyball made me what I am and when I entered the Naval Academy, I still wanted to continue volleyball.


I knew from the real beginning that sport would be part of me, and this is interesting because being trained as a Navy officer you have some sports, some physical activities. The Navy and sports are kind of things that crossed over in my life. I found the same fundamental values in terms of how you work collectively when you are under pressure, how do you perform when you are tired, for example, and it is quite interesting to see that I learned a lot about humans and about management, and today that I work in the sports industry, I don't think that there’s a single day I don't use something that I learned from the military time.


I knew that it was important to have patience in life. I didn't find it alone. I found it because I had my general knowledge teacher, he told us that it was super to be a Navy officer in the French Navy, but this wasn't the most important thing in life. He told us that the most important thing in life was to have at least two passions. For me, the first one was sports and the second one - renewable energies.

"So from the age of 21, I knew that even if I was a Navy officer I would one day work in the sports industry."

Today managing a team of almost 14 people at FFF (French Football Federation), it is sometimes like if I was in the small ship that I was Executive Officer in the French Guiana in 2001. It is a small team, but it is a fully dedicated team.

 

To watch the complete interview, please click here

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