Janne Müller-Wieland is the ultimate team player. As a member of the German Field Hockey team, she helped bring home a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now, as an Intel team member, she’s figuring out ways individual athletes and teams can win more of their own medals.
From High Performing Athlete to High Performing Professional
After writing her MBA thesis on high potential athletes in the workforce, Janne soon found herself among their ranks. Her introduction to Intel was through the Athlete 365 mentoring program and when she was looking for her next opportunity, Intel had a place for her. Janne shares, “I was just amazed that finally a corporation understood the potential talent that is within athletes.”
Janne is still competing with the German Field Hockey team and needed a role that would allow her to pursue her goals on and off the pitch. “Intel supported my transition from sports to business in every possible way,” she says. “They understand when I need to train, but they also trust me and give me challenges at work. It’s a nice balance of not only supporting an athlete, but also seeing the benefit they can bring to the business side of things.”
An Ambassador for all Athletes
Janne has woven her athletic and professional experiences in a variety of ways over the year and a half she’s been with Intel. In her role as the Technology in Sports Ambassador, Janne focuses on the ways technology can help athletes be more successful and help teams win more medals. “There’s a huge potential in sports to use technology and innovation to enhance even more performance,” she says.
From working with the Intel Olympic teams in the United States to the German team and beyond, her contributions are helping Intel offer solutions for teams across the world. Janne is also part of the Intel Ignite program, which is like a startup incubator within the company. “The most exciting thing is the combination of everything I’ve been doing. Seeing how Intel approaches a partnership with the International Olympic Committee and how complex it really is,” she shares. “It’s exciting to see from that perspective.”
When Winning isn’t Easy
Janne comes from a family of field hockey players, but she didn’t set out to compete at the Olympics. It just happened naturally over time. As a teenager she started playing on the German national teams and before she knew it, she was representing Germany at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “I was the youngest team member and I was at the Olympics. And from that moment on, when you go to the Olympics once, it’s contagious. Once you’re there once, you just want to go again and again and again.”
In Beijing, the team lost the semi-final match and their chance at a bronze medal. In 2016, they returned to the Olympics in Rio, and encountered a similar situation. “We were in the semi-final and having had that Beijing experience, I kept telling the team, ‘I’ve been there before. I’m not going to do it again. We will win bronze,’” she shares. “And that’s what we did. From every failure something good comes of it.”
Bringing Your Best to Your Career
Everything Janne has been through as an athlete has helped her transition into a high-performance workplace. From bringing a learning mindset, to knowing how to lead a team, her hockey skills are never wasted at work. And she thinks every athlete can bring their best to a business career.
“Some athletes think they’re not good enough because they come from a sport where they are at the top of their game and then they come into a role they haven’t done before, so they don’t think they have a lot to give,” she says. “What we have to understand as athletes is that it’s more about having courage and self-confidence to dive right in and learn everything you need to for your role.”