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24 April 2020
Portraits

Romain Poite (TBS 2019) - International Rugby Referee

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"Wer will, der kann" is my favourite expression. It is German and simply means "Where there is a will, there is a way".

It is certainly not my intention to "shine" with such a saying in a language that I can barely speak. Nevertheless, this simple motto has made great sense to me all my life and is engraved in my memory. A few simple words, as I have already admitted, I really wasn't good at the language. It is the straightforward life philosophy which rings true and can be applied to everyone. 

Could you say a few words about yourself ?

I will soon turn 45. I am married to Benedicte and we have two girls, Justine (age 20) and Morgane (age16). I was an average student (sometimes even under average) and after my school certificate and military service, I sat the entrance exam for the National Police Academy in CARCASSONNE. I started training there as a cadet in 1997. Over the next 10 years, this career led me to LYON and TOULOUSE as part of intervention squads such as Police Emergency, then the Judicial Unit in the MIRAIL area before becoming a road safety instructor while I also had the status of high-level sportsman. Then in June 2007, I was awarded a contract as a professional referee with the French Rugby Federation which is still valid until 2021. As it stands I hope to renew it until 2023! Don't worry, holidays are fine in the company of a "copper-referee"! Finally, since 2016 I have been giving conferences in companies to share my professional experience and skills acquired in specific areas such as management.

Why did you chose to study at TBS ? 

In an edition of a certain yellow-papered newspaper that is well known in Rugby circles, I read that some players had just finished a training course in profit centre management at TBS through the PROVALE curriculum. I knew some of the people who had done PROVALE quite well, so I learned more about the program and put in an application. Why? Simply because Toulouse Business School remains one of the best business schools in the territory and it was probably a one-off chance to be able to integrate such a prestigious school and to pass a degree of value. I also wanted to follow on from my studies that I'd picked up again not long before with a Master in Sports Organisation Management at the University of AIX-MARSEILLE. I have always been keen to broaden my professional horizons. Lastly, it was an opportunity to adjust my relationship with players with whom I spent every week-end and to gain more personal fulfillment.
So I did the BACHELOR BADGE course on "Managing Profit Centres" in year 2018-2019. The course was of great quality and I liked it from the start because it contained : learning about all the different aspects of company life with in-depth analysis in a comprehensive language ; an e-learning training rythmn with two two-hour sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays and extra hours for personal study that I could organize around my professional commitments ; and finally, the school was very close for when I had face-to-face classes.

What advice would you give to TBS Alumni or students who would like to follow the same type of course as you did?

During our lifetime, we can ask ourselves alot of questions about our professional, personal or family life. To be honest, in the beginning I did wonder whether I was capable of sustaining all these areas at the same time. But I don't regret making the instinctive or spontaneous decision to jump in. I have absolutely no regrets because the decision to learn brings professional and personal fulfillment, especially on a human level. It was a fabulous adventure which, once completed, only leaves good memories as well as greater knowledge and high quality education. 
So in other words, keep thirsty to discover, learn, meet... As it is often said "let go and get out of your comfort zone". These are the times when we rediscover ourselves, gain in maturity and achieve success!

Have you any stories you can share about your year ?

There must be loads but I'll adopt the general attitude of "what goes on tour, stays on tour". I will share about my relationship with the players in this uninhibited environment just like on the rugby pitch. Enhanced with an air of good feeling, some revenge was taken for the frustrations created by some of my refereeing decisions that the players had encountered in their sports career. Still a happy memory and fair enough...  

How did you learn about the TBS Foundation ?

I first learned about The TBS Fondation at our graduation ceremony where you are asked to make a donation in exchange for your gown and accessories. I asked questions about how the foundation works and the significance of the little message attached to the graduate uniforms when they were handed out. Naturally I decided to leave my deposit as a donation as I felt it was the appropiate thing to do. I sponsor two associations and understand the call for mutual aid so it was a pleasure to agree to this community-minded initiative. 

What convinced you to commit to the TBS Foundation ?

As I mentioned before, the associative spirit and the inherent values are important to me. I was lucky enough to have access to this education program which does require financial investment as I was supported by the French Rugby Federation who employed me, and through PROVALE. Sometimes we have ambitions but the financial constraints reduce our chances of reaching our goals of fulfillment and education. As we learn in sport or in Rugby, once we are rewarded by reaching the summit, it is only right to give back to the institution. Therefore it was a natural choice I made, with a great deal of honour and humility, in accepting the offer by Pierre Hurtel to make my contribution and apply to becoming a member of the Foundation's Executive Committee

What are your professional activities today and how did you get to where you are in your career ? 

Today I still have a contract with the French Rugby Federation, seconded from the Ministry of the Interior because I still have a career in sport and I hope I will for some time to come. 
However in 2013, I started thinking about my professional development as part of a coaching program with a management coach. I was fully aware that my time as a high-level sportsperson was limited and I wanted to make the transition possible for my future career. It seemed a shame not to use the free time I had by learning new skills. At the end of my coaching sessions and in order to have the means of achieving my future as I imagined it, I signed up for further studies at the same time as doing an activity that gives me much satisfaction : going into companies and giving interactive conferences on topics such as management and sharing my professional experience. I have no intention of handing out lessons to anyone and I don't have that kind of skill. In these exchanges, I share my knowledge and I learn from others, enhancing my personal development. I am developing this activity through reading and thought processes but above all, through systematic analysis of performance which is at the heart of my profession. If I have the chance, I would rather not revert to my former career for several reasons, above all because law and procedures are constantly evolving. I do not know if tomorrow I could assume that role with passion and professionalism. So I have always searched for ways of reaching my objectives and I am prepared to work relentlessly. Moreover I hope to use my professional experience to help in management so I can envisage perhaps taking up my studies again soon with a another MBA in Human Resources... Nonetheless, today I can look confidently to my future if I obtain these two high level degrees which provide some security for the years to come in the professional world. 

For several weeks now you have been deprived of going on the pitch because of the Covid-19 pandemic, how do you feel about your confinement ?

It could seem like a difficult time but both we and our loved ones are in good health - and not everyone is that fortunate. It is vital to accept and respect the lockdown and avoid feeling frustrated or annoyed. It is necessary to create new objectives. It is surely a good opportunity to reflect and reinvent ourselves professionally, personally and as a family. Taking the time to share and to do things differently with peace of mind is a really great feeling with my family. Especially when you consider our lives are totally punctuated by professional and international refereeing. I am lucky enough to live in the countryside with land around me and there are quite alot of things to do. Activities that we considered boring when we had so little time, today become considerably more important because they occupy us. It is also the opportunity to do things we don't like doing, or don't usually have the time to do, getting up to date. I maintain my physical training program to stay alert and be ready to return to work, all the more because sport has a humain dimension that I greatly value in my life.

"Inspiring Education, Inspiring Life" such is the signature of TBS. And you, what gives you inspiration on a daily basis ?

I totally adhere to this philosophy. On a daily basis I thirst for discovery and development. Even if life isn't always easy, it is worth living because we learn every day. I will add self-introspection because it is a major part of my job but also part of my personal life. Ridiculous as it might seem, I like being on my terrace in the calm of the evening and reflect on my days activities while trying to imagine improvements in the future. 

And… School isn't over because you have graduated : the motto of TBS Alumni :

It is a real and important chance to be part of TBS Alumni as it means you can extend your network and make new acquaintances. New acquaintances means new relationships, new thought processes, new exchanges. I have already said that I like to feed off exchanges and at the few alumni events I have been able to attend (with my timetable that isn't always possible) I was lucky enough to quench my thirst. I also have a few projects under my hat that might become reality with the support of Alumni. The story continues to unfold, so we will meet again in the next episode... and the Foundation will probably be part of that. …  Let us wait and see…

Do you accept to be contacted directly by Alumni, students or graduates ?

Solidarity and sharing are values that I appreciate so I will respond to Alumni requests to the best of my ability ! 

To contact Romain Poite, sign in and  click on this link! 



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