At Qim info, athletes are highly valued
Better performance, team cohesion, stress reduction—the benefits of engaging in sports in the professional world and for general health are well-established. Convinced of these advantages, the leaders of Qim info have always been keen to facilitate sports activities for their employees, some of whom have been achieving remarkable results in prestigious competitions for many years. Interview with Paul Benhayoun, 30, and Ali Laatiki, 47, outstanding competitors and proud representatives of the company.
Trail running, marathon, biathlon, cross-country skiing – the list of sports practised by Paul Benhayoun and Ali Laatiki, members of the Qim info team, is extensive. The pair have racked up impressive performances not only in Europe but also on the international stage, largely thansk to the freedom to train provided by Qim info and its management team.
Paul, Ali, what are your backgrounds and what do you do at Qim info?
Paul Benhayoun: I grew up in Bezannes, near Reims, where I earned a Technical University Diploma in Sales Techniques. I followed that with a professional bachelor’s degree in Logistics Management, and then attended business school in Chambéry. After graduating, I was fortunate to find work in a field I’ve always been passionate about: sports. Wanting to be closer to the mountains, I started my career at the Chamonix Sports Club as a Major Events Coordinator, later moving on to coordinate volunteers and allocations for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®).. After my contract ended, I moved to Geneva where I quickly landed a job as a salesperson at Ochsner Sport. After eight months, things fell into place as I reconnected with Clovis, also from Reims, who was employed at Qim info. Given my background, he suggested I apply for a position as a Business Manager, a role I’ve now been in for a year and a half. I couldn’t be happier with my decision, as everything has been arranged to allow me to balance my love for sports with my professional life.
Ali Laatiki: I started my career as a System Administrator Consultant, specialising in Microsoft technology, back in 1999 at Capgemini in Lyon. During that time, I was fortunate to work on projects for major companies like Alstom, PWC, the Accor Group, and Bonduelle. In 2007, my wife and I decided to move to Geneva, where I quickly secured a position at Qim info.. My first client there was Total Trading, where I stayed for just over 12 years. After that, I transitioned to BNP Private Banking. Today, I hold the distinction of being the longest-serving active employee recruited by Qim info, something I take great pride in!
You’re among the most athletically engaged collaborators at Qim info; could you tell us about this passion?
PB: I’ve been immersed in sports since I was a child. As a youngster, my parents enrolled me in judo to channel my energy, but it wasn’t really my calling. It took a bit of time to find the sport that would stay with me for many years: tennis. I played competitively until I was 20 and achieved a fairly high level, winning numerous local and regional tournaments. Alongside that, I was already really into running during secondary school. However, higher education forced me to dial back on my sporting activities. That pause was only temporary; when I moved to Chamonix at the age of 25, I discovered outdoor sports like trail running, cross-country skiing, ski touring, and biathlon. Initially, I trained 4 to 6 hours per week, but now it’s closer to 18 hours. That’s not counting recovery time, massage sessions, and sport psychology sessions to help me push my limits. It may seem like a lot, but you have to put in the effort to achieve your dreams—especially when it comes to a spot in the Olympics…
AL: As for me, I’m a huge football fan and also, being from the Jordan generation, basketball. I reached the first regional level for football and also played at a regional level for basketball. Although I no longer play these sports, I remain an avid fan. Alongside this, I’ve always been a keen runner, a sport I regularly engage in during weekdays in Geneva between meetings, as well as on weekends.
Your achievements are evident in well-known competitions. Which ones can you mention?
PB : My main competitive events are in running and trail running. For example, in October 2021, I placed 10th in the Festival des Templiers in Millau, which required 8 hours of effort. More recently, in August 2023, I ranked 156th out of 1,800 participants in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc Orsières-Champex-Chamonix race. I’m really pleased with these results, especially as running wasn’t originally my primary sport. In cross-country skiing, my achievements are more modest, but worth mentioning. For instance, in the Petite Transjurassienne, I finished 35th out of approximately 400 competitors.
AL : As for me, I’ve completed 20 road marathons, some of which are among the most prestigious in the world: Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Paris… I’m very proud of this, especially because I qualified* for the most significant ones. In fact, I’m planning to return to Boston once more in April 2024.
Besides these road races, I had other dreams: to be a finisher of the Marathon des Sables in 2011 (a race in the Moroccan Sahara), the Diagonale des Fous in 2013 (in La Réunion), and the UTMB® in 2015. I’ve achieved all three of these goals and now my goal is to become an Ironman.
* For instance, to qualify for the Boston Marathon, athletes mus meet time standards that correspond to their age and gender. This qualifying time must be from within the last two years.
Sport is all about resilience
Ali Laatiki had always dreamt of completing the TDS (Traces du Duc de Savoie), a race part of the UTMB® series. But it seemed like fate had other plans for the runner. In 2016, he had to drop out after a near-death experience. He tried again in 2019 but was forced to withdraw once more. The COVID-19 pandemic led organisers to postpone the 2020 event to the following year. Unfortunately, during that rescheduled race, a runner tragically died, causing the event to be halted. Still eager to finish this iconic race, Ali signed up again in 2022, but had to withdraw yet another time. It wasn’t until the 2023 edition that he finally managed to complete the race. If that’s not resilience, we don’t know what is.
Qim info is a company that allows its collaborators to live out their passion for sport. How does it work?
PB: It’s evident that combining one’s passion for sport with a career at Qim info is far from impossible; it’s actually encouraged. For instance, between noon and 2 PM, during lunch break, we have the luxury of taking over an hour to go for a run, hit the gym, or swim. It’s a win-win for everyone involved because I come back to work re-energised, and I believe the same goes for all the colleagues who utilise this time for physical activities. It’s also a great opportunity for team-building, as many of us, including Vincent, the director of Qim info, often use this time to come together and go for a run. This freedom that we’re given only strengthens our sense of belonging to the Qim info team. This is crucial because, in my opinion, the values inherent in sports are identical to those in the workplace: self-improvement, mutual encouragement, teamwork, and a love for challenges.
AL: As someone who personally enjoys the opportunity to exercise during the working day, I can only agree with Paul. Being able to take advantage of the lunch break to train allows collaborators to maintain an excellent balance between their personal and professional lives. Moreover, I should add that the company may, under specific conditions, fund entry fees for certain sporting events or even provide branded clothing. It’s a true point of pride to represent the company that supports us at these events, especially when we’re up against teams from our clients or competitors. It’s always a great time to get together for a sporting event.
You also have a very active sports association within the company.
AL : This association was created by Qim info employees less than a year ago, and I’ve recently taken over its management. The aim is to bring together the various sports communities within Qim info. For instance, we have a football team, a running team, and a climbing team. As part of this initiative, the association seeks partnerships with gyms, organises coaching sessions, and even arranges outings.
Paul ’s audacious project: to be the first African athlete to compete in a biathlon event at the Olympics (Milano-Cortina 2026)
“It’s more than just a goal; it’s a childhood dream. I have two and a half years to make it a reality, regardless of the sacrifices I’ll have to make or the obstacles I’ll have to overcome. At 30 years old, I don’t have time to waste in putting everything in place—it’s now or never. However, to get there, I’ll first need to compete in the French Cup this winter and then the European Cup next year to earn the necessary points for Olympic qualification under the Moroccan flag (Paul has French nationality through his mother and Moroccan nationality through his father).”