What do a talented handball player and the owner of a company that trades stainless steel have in common? Apparently, a lot of things. Because Jane Schumacher and Lars Lauridsen’ s sponsor collaboration is somewhat different.
Whether it had been in Viborg HK, Skive FH, Randers HK or French OGC Nice Côte d’Azur Handball, the 32 years old handball player, Jane Schumacher has always experienced sponsorships as fiercely competitive business. For the clubs, it is about getting money to buy new talents. For the companies, it is about being mentioned and being shown on sponsor banners in the halls and on the kits.
So, when Jane Schumacher returned from France to Denmark to play for Silkeborg-Voel KFUM and met her personal sponsor Lars Lauridsen, she had some of a culture shock. He insisted on getting to know her. Not only as a handball player – but also as a person.
-My relation to Lars is quite unique but to me, it makes sense. The club has a close unity with where we support each other and give more than we take. The same goes for Lars and Wila. It has therefore been a good match, says Jane Schumacher about the sponsor collaboration which until now has lasted for two years.
Lars Lauridsen himself has chosen to sponsor Jane. He has been a board member in Silkeborg-Voel KFUM and has an agreement about choosing who he wants to personally sponsor. The chemistry is important. Lars can feel this within two minutes. But it is also important to him that the handball talent is a person he can identify himself and Wila with.
– I have kept an eye on Jane through her career and at once she came to Silkeborg-Voel, I knew that I wanted to sponsor her. She is self-contained, dedicated and cares for other people. The human values are important to me and they are the foundation Wila is built upon, says Lars Lauridsen supplemented by Jane Schumacher:
– I feel touched by what Lars says about me. I am not used to hearing a sponsor’s thoughts about me. It makes me so happy and it motivates me, she says.
Lars Lauridsen always attends home games when possible. He has a rule about getting to know the handball players, and that they usually say hi to each other after a match. Sometimes Jane Schumacher is in a bad mood after a match that did not go as planned. Usually, she does not want to speak to anyone after these games. But this has changed.
– Even though I have had a bad day on court, we have a chat where I get new perspectives on what happened. In this way, Lars is with me during good and bad times which I highly appreciate, says Jane Schumacher smiling.
– Some sponsors find it unnatural but for me it is completely natural and important with the close relation to players. Handball players are fantastic and inspiring girls who are enthusiastic about what they do, adds Lars Lauridsen.
When Lars Lauridsen became a board member in Silkeborg-Voel KFUM, he experienced the big focus on economy as Jane recognizes from other sponsors. But he was from the beginning clear about the role he wanted in the club.
– It has been important to me to take my own values about the person as an indispensable resource with me. You create value through people and then the money comes later. This goes no matter if its employees, customers or handball players, says Lars Lauridsen.
Likewise, it was not about money when Lars chose to personally sponsor Jane Schumacher.
– It is pure social branding. We do not get customers out of it, but we add value for Wila and for the club. It also adds value to our employees because many of them know the profiles of the handball world and are proud of taking part in supporting the local club, says Lars Lauridsen.
Jane Schumacher has just visited Wila where she had a look into the engine room and into how human and machines co-operate in everyday life. She feels that this has moved her even closer to her sponsor.
– It was a pleasure to see Lars’ life’s work and get an understanding of how it practically works at a workplace where employees are prioritized highly, says Jane Schumacher and adds:
– We are a big family in Silkeborg-Voel KFUM. A family which Lars and Wila are a part of. This, I believe, elevates the game on court.
“At Wila A/S, we have a dedicated and skilled staff who perform all tasks with common sense, great professionalism, pride and expertise.”