Greta Marchegger is an Italian Windsurfer and works for one of the biggest brands in Windsurfing- for Neilpryde. She managed to combine her passion with her job and gets us an impression what its like to work in this industry.
You´ve been working for one of the biggest brands in Windsurfing (Neilpryde International) during the past 2 ½ years. Tell us a bit about your job and how you ended up working in this industry?
Actually I started working in the windsurfing industry a lot earlier. My dad is working in the windsurfing industry since almost 40 years (he was a former athlete) and I grew up between competitions, meetings and events. Since I´m 16 years old I´m helping him in the distribution of JP and NeilPryde in Italy. That´s why I had the chance to learn a lot also about the industry itself and its dynamics. In 2017 NeilPryde International opened an office in Barcelona (marketing & management only) where I started with an internship and continued with a proper job position as full-time marketing assistant. Obviously this is a dreamjob because I could combine my passion with my previous studies. Teamrider managment, social media, co-organization of photoshoots & events, preparation of annual collection launches, random marketing activities, etc. where on my daily agenda. I definitely enjoyed this position a lot and had the chance to grow and learned much thanks to a great team. At the end of last year I decided to start a Master degree because I want to improve my marketing skills. I was supposed to get a new part time- and fully remote contract in March, and to keep working for NeilPryde Int. besides my studies. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 NeilPryde Int. couldn’t sign me a new contract. Because of this I´m currently in standby and waiting for things to improve as everyone else. But I´m still busy working with my father and focusing on my studies.
So yes, actually in my private and professional life everything is about windsurfing and I feel very lucky and grateful about that.
How is it to work in an industry which is mainly male dominated?
Unfortunately there are only a few women working in the windsurfing industry which I find a pity. There is definitely too much testosterone in the windsurfing industry and this needs to change :D I mainly made positive experiences and got a lot of appreciation but from time to time it´s tough to work in a male dominated industry. Sometimes as a women you have to prove twice that you´re right, prove constantly what you can do, that it makes sense what you´re saying, while man don´t get questioned. But that´s the same in all the industries where women are outnumbered I guess. Women have other visions and point of views and that´s what the windsurfing industry needs.
You recently started your Masters program. How do you integrate this?
Yes that´s right, I started this Master because I believe that we should never stop learning and growing in life. During the last 2 ½ years I kind of had a study break after my Bachelor, now I feel motivated and that it´s the right moment to finally do my Master. I chose a Master which is online and for people who are already working or busy with sports. I can follow lessons online, we have a tutor by our side and I have to say it´s organized very well. I didn’t want to go back and be a full-time student but preferred to keep working and be able to combine it with windsurfing as well.
How do you manage to work full time and still get a lot of time on the water- to be able to train in the winter in Teneriffe and chase waves in South Africa?
The best “invention” of the 21st century is definitely working remote if you ask me. :D Working remote makes a lot of things easier obviously. During the last 3 months I was working completely remote which allowed me to travel a lot. In the end to be able to work you only need your computer and your phone. On the other side you have to be also very responsible, organized, stick to your daily schedules, plans, tasks, etc. to make it work. But once you find your balance it´s simply perfect for travelling and windsurfing.
The only “annoying” thing is that people constantly ask if you´re never working but windsurfing and chilling at the beach all the time :D hahah. Because they only see pictures on social media but don´t realize remote working as an option yet. You´re actually doing the same amount of hours if not more than any other full time job, it´s just organized differently.
You also competed in windsurfing - made amongst other titles the 1st place in the Women Italian Slalom championship in 2016. The last years it became a bit more quiet of you competing. Why is that and what are your plans in this for 2020/2021?
Yes, that´s right. I actually started competing in windsurfing when I was 12 years old. I competed a lot during national and international events until I was 18. Later whenever time, studies and work allowed it. Doing everything a 100% is simply impossible, time and training-wise. During the last 3 years I competed mainly in fun events and single competitions which was actually amazing, as I chose events in places I like the most and did them only for fun without any pressure and high expectations. First of all I windsurf because I love it and everything that comes with it, the travels, the people, the lifestyle, working in this industry etc. I love competing as well but it’s not my only goal. I actually wanted to do more competitions again this year…but what to say, Covid-19 came in between and we´ll see how the season evolves.
Another fun fact about me is that I´m hosting windsurfing competitions and work as speaker at the Circolo Surf Torbole my home club in Lake Garda. (for example the RS:X World Championships 2019)
This is another passion of mine which I truly enjoy and hopefully some events are going to happen in the next months.
You are also very active in social media- on Instagram and Facebook. Do you see being present in the virtual world more as a job and part of being a public person or is it also a passion and a way for you to connect with people? Or maybe a bit of both ;)?
Well, let´s say I´m trying to do my best :D But we definitely all know the huge value of social media nowadays. Without it, it´s just not possible anymore, especially in marketing. For me personally it´s a bit of both, if you want to be a professional athlete it´s indispensable to have a good social media profile. It became kind of your business card and it´s surely the best way to connect and stay in touch with people. (the biggest advantage of social media in my opinion!) I would be lying if I´d say that I don´t like social media. I like photography a lot and the creative part of it. It´s definitely a lot of work and there are many negative aspects of it. For example I try to limit my time on them as otherwise I get distracted too much.
Do you have any advises for our readers who want to turn their hobby, their passion into a job? What helped you the most to fulfill your dreams?
My motto is definitely “Do it with love, or don´t do it at all”. This goes for everything in life I believe. Working in the windsurfing industry is not easy in terms of available positions, the market situation, the salaries etc. as the golden ages of windsurfing are over since a while. We have to be honest about that. I know many people who tried so hard to work in windsurfing, especially as an athlete but didn’t succeed. But there are different ways and options to try it out and if you´re passionate about something you´ll have to risk and try, otherwise you´ll never know. Maybe you´ll never earn as much in windsurfing as you would earn in another business but if it makes you a 100% happy it is totally worth it.
Photos: Jill Christina Hansen & Jerome Houyvet