Since September 2017, VINCI Energies has been a key sponsor of the Initiatives-Coeur sailboat – a 60-foot monohull of the IMOCA class that is capable of racing in transatlantic competitions such as the world-famous Vendée Globe.
Until then, it had not been associated with such events. However, VINCI Energies noticed a striking resemblance between its own culture and that of ocean racing sport, such as human energy and a unified effort to a single cause.
“Every day, over 75,000 employees devote their energy to satisfying our customers, and Initiatives-Coeur is the personification of that same energy.” says Sabrina Thibault, Communications Director, VINCI Energies. “The project reflects our values of trust, autonomy, responsibility, entrepreneurship and solidarity.”
Initiatives-Coeur helps raise money for Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, a French charity that allows children suffering from heart defects around the world to come to France and be operated on, often because they cannot be treated in their own country due to lack of financial and/or technical means.
Last spring, VINCI Energies launched a campaign that has, so far, allowed it to raise nearly 112,000 Euros for the charity.
“By rallying our 75,000 employees, as well as customers and partners, to a unifying cause, we are actively helping to save the lives of children all over the world.” adds Thibault. “Knowing that paediatric cardiac surgery costs around 12,000 Euros, that is equivalent to saving nearly 10 children in six months.”
Relayed on all communications related to recruitment and internal channels, such as its intranet and corporate social network, the Initiatives Coeur project became, in a few months, a common cause unifying all teams.
VINCI Energies is one of three sponsors of the Initiatives-Coeur sailboat, along with Initiatives.fr and K-LINE. Thanks to their efforts, 155 children have been saved since 2012.
But VINCI Energies’ unique partnership with Initiatives-Coeur goes deeper. As the official Performance Partner, VINCI Energies uses its combined expertise to improve the performance of the sailboat. This has enabled the team to upgrade sections of the boat including the foils, which are used to lift the boat from the water in order to reduce drag and gain speed; something that will be extremely beneficial for Initiatives-Coeur skipper Samantha Davies.
“VINCI Energies also does a lot of work to see where else they can help beyond the boat.” says Davies, who has helmed the Initiatives-Coeur since 2017. “They offer Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque expertise in the areas that they know and work in, and they help coordinate doctors and surgeons in Africa and other regions to move forward and make everything easier. All this collaboration began with the boat project but it’s going a lot deeper now. It feels like a big family, all helping the same charity.”
Two weeks ago, Davies had to retire early from the 2018 Route du Rhum – a transatlantic single-handed yacht race from Brittany, France to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean – due to a structural issue with the hull.
“Every race is like a parachute jump,” she explains. “You never know what it’ll be like until you go and do it. You can’t study it in a book or learn everything in theory; you need to accept that you’ll never know everything and always be open to learning and improving every single day.”
Davies now has her sights firmly set on the Vendée Globe 2020 – a race that has become a personal goal of hers since she first participated in 2008.
“In 2008, I finished in fourth place, which was an amazing result, but I wanted to prove to myself that it was possible to get on the podium in a race like that,” she says. “I went back in 2012 but unfortunately broke my mast, so now it’s become unfinished business. My sights are now well and truly set on the 2020 title; and with the help of VINCI Energies, I know it’s possible.”