Every week, we’ll meet Longines Masters’ players and learn about their experiences through exclusive interviews.
In this new edition of the Masters Insider, meet Harmonie Grob, a volunteer at the Longines Masters of Paris. Volunteers helped to reinforce the teams running the event, and Harmonie shares her experience with us here. The Longines Masters of Paris is a big family, and within the volunteer team, Harmonie was given important assignments for the smooth running of the event. Between meetings, work and unforgettable moments, these few days were incredibly enriching for Harmonie.
My name is Harmonie Grob, I'm 25 years old and I'm in my third year at the Sports Management School. I volunteered for the Longines Masters of Paris in 2019. I came to help the VIP team for 3 days, from Friday to Sunday. It was a dream come true for me to be part of the organization of such an event. I have been riding since I was very young, and later as a professional dressage rider, so the Longines Masters is an extraordinary event in the world of horses for me.
I have carried out many volunteer missions over the last few years, but my experience at the Longines Masters of Paris was the most incredible. It was the first time I have taken part in such an important and prestigious event. I arrived at 7.30 in the morning and left at the last minute in the evening, when there was nothing more to do. I was in charge of preparing the space for the riders and VIP guests. Tables had to be prepared for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between meals. Handouts such as starting lists had to be passed out, guests had to be encouraged to participate in the organized games, and I had to make sure they had everything they needed. I loved working with the Longines Masters organizing team. I'm really happy to have met them. I spent 3 wonderful days with the EEM team.
I was able to watch one of the most important competitions in the world from a very privileged position, close to the arena and the best riders in the world. I had an exceptional experience.
What positions can you hold as a volunteer?
Here are the different positions that were offered to us:
The mission I carried out as part of the VIP team was not offered to all volunteers because it can sometimes be a bit tricky. I was lucky enough to be able to be part of it because I was conducting a survey among the public at the Longines Masters of Paris as part of my studies.
What is the main lesson you have learned from your work at the Longines Masters?
I think a good volunteer has to be open and listen, because we all know that there are unexpected things that pop up and you have to be able to manage changes in the program calmly and cheerfully. When you’re a volunteer, you offer help to people without necessarily being an expert in the field. That’s why it’s important to know how to work as a team, to collaborate, learn, adapt and above all, keep smiling and being enthusiastic so that you make the event a success.
You have to be motivated, serious, and responsible because even though volunteering is a fun and enjoyable experience, the organizers rely heavily on volunteers, and the assignments that are assigned to us are extremely important.
I was very involved when I volunteered at the Longines Masters of Paris. I did my best to be as available and efficient as possible so that the organizing team could count on me. What I appreciated most about this event was that I was able to get in touch with people from all over the world. Working in the VIP area, I was able to talk to many different people, yet we were all gathered in the same place for the love of sport. The best lesson I got out of this event is that people coming to the Longines Masters, regardless of their situation, are all equal when it comes to admiring the beauty of a sport. There’s something in the world of sport that is unique. People who share a passion for sport in general have similar values and opinions. Sport brings people together.
Generally speaking, I find that there is nothing more important than volunteering. These experiences help us to mature, they make us grow, both professionally and personally. It’s an opportunity for us to discover an event from the inside, to understand how it works, and to apply what we learn to our studies.
What are the main difficulties you have faced?
Working in the EEM Society space, it’s not always easy as a volunteer to approach groups of people who are focused on the show and therefore don’t want to be disturbed. Even though our mission was to make their experience better, more exceptional, it’s sometimes difficult to impose yourself on people to offer a service or to check that nothing is missing. But as the event progressed, I realized that my concern was often not justified, because, after talking with the people present, they all seemed delighted with our service. I think that many people imagine that being a volunteer is not necessarily rewarding and often frowned upon, but I find that prejudices have changed a lot and it also depends on how you do it. If you give the experience 300%, then people feel it and the barrier between us disappears.
What's the atmosphere like for the teams of volunteers at the Longines Masters?
The majority of us are students, often from the same, or competing schools, so we have a lot in common and many similar interests. We often make new friends during our volunteer work because the world of sport is a small one and we always end up meeting people we already know and people who share the same passions. That is why I particularly enjoyed volunteering at the Longines Masters of Paris; I was finally able to discuss my passion for the equestrian world with other enthusiasts. Volunteering is really an opportunity to get to know other volunteers, to help each other during the day and to get to know each other while enjoying an amazing day out.
And more than that, meeting new people during our volunteering also allows us to create a network for our professional future.
Will you be volunteering for the next edition of the Longines Masters?
Of course, as long as I can volunteer for the Longines Masters, I will.