Smooth Sailing: From Windsurfing to a Sales Career at Intel

Pawel Tarnowski was looking for a company where he could develop his professional career alongside his windsurfing career. With a background in engineering and a passion for solving problems, he found a home at Intel.

From the Sea to Sales

In the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, Pawel participated in the Athlete365 program, sponsored by Intel. What he found was a company that not only supports athletes in realizing their athletic potential, but also one that helps athletes develop business skills to begin their transition from the sports arena to the office. “I’m a professional windsurfer competing on the worldwide stage and I’ve always been close to a lot of business opportunities. Athlete365 helped me develop my skills and apply for a job with Intel in Gdańsk, Poland,” he shares. “It ended up being a great group of people with great opportunities. I was glad to become part of this team.”

Upon joining Intel as a sales development account manager, Pawel was given a mentor and access to a coaching program. “Thanks to this program, I became more familiar with the huge Intel family and got to know all my colleagues. Just like in sports, I got to know everything from scratch and learn from the beginning.”

Balancing Two Careers

Pawel started competing professionally when he was 10 years old and quickly progressed to sailing in national and international competitions. In 2015, he won the European Championship. Being a new team member at Intel hasn’t stopped Pawel from competing.

“Together, we’ve worked out a way to balance my sports career with working for Intel. I’ve been able to continue my sports career without major inconveniences and with support from my team.”

This support even spans geographies.

Poland’s weather isn’t always ideal for windsurfing, so Pawel and his team found flexible and creative ways to keep him actively engaged in both his professional and sports careers. “Intel is a very inclusive and diverse company which allows every employee an individual approach. My individual approach helped me travel abroad and work remotely so I could train in a place where the conditions for windsurfing were much better than Poland.”

A Worldwide Network of Support

As a professional athlete, Pawel was also used to meeting people from around the world. He’s found the same experience here at Intel. “I meet a lot of people internally and externally. There are a lot of projects I’m involved in and there are so many opportunities,” he shares. “It’s a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world, which is exactly the same in sports.”

“I know that in every part of the world there’s a person working for Intel and whatever challenge might come, there will always be a person that works for Intel who is able to answer my question.”

While Pawel is still competing for his chance to shine at an Olympic level, he’s continuing to work with Intel. He’s found a place where he can help drive business goals, as well as continue to achieve his personal goals—on and off the board.

His advice to other elite athletes? “Look at every opportunity as something positive instead of negative. And don’t be afraid of change.”

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