Interview with Leonieahh, Team Manager for Apeks
Yoann: Hey, hello everyone! Today I’m with Leonieahh, the team manager for Apeks!
How would you introduce yourself, and how did you get into esports?
Leonieahh: My name is Sabína Jankovic, I come from Slovakia but I'm Hungarian as well. I'm 27 years old.
I lived in Scandinavia since I was 19 and I moved to Copenhagen to study and later pursue my passion in esport.
Since I was not skilled enough to be a pro player I was looking for ways to work with video games, taking my strengths into consideration. I graduated as a bachelor of Sports Management and I chose that study program because it had a semester of esport business.
Throughout school I was very active in networking and looking for opportunities within esport which landed me an internship in Ninjas in Pyjamas. I got hired by NIP right after I finished my internship continued to work and got to manage my first Valorant team ever.
Yoann: That’s great! What's your role as Apeks’ team manager? How can you help your players?
Leonieahh: My main role as a team manager is supporting the team and leading day-to-day operations around logistics, tournaments, media requests, boot camps, and other team activities.
The role itself involves a lot of planning, scheduling, and organizing. Simply, I make sure the team has all the documents and travel sorted so this role requires a good eye for detail, I create their day-to-day schedule as well as the schedule for bootcamps and other events, and work closely with the performance team which determines everything regarding the things involving the game like eg. game strategies, personal performance, and others.
The role of a team manager should be imagined as a bird, overlooking everything going on with the team, and stepping in to help out in various matters when it is needed. I would say quick problem-solving skills and critical thinking are a necessity as there are often, due to the nature of the fast-paced industry, unforeseen changes that need to be quickly resolved.
Yoann: That’s super interesting! What did you learn during the last Challengers and Ascension season?
Leonieahh: I haven't worked last year in esport as I was taking a deliberate pause, focusing on my personal life, but I'm very excited to work with the new roster Apeks acquired as I think they have great potential and in general as individuals they are all very hardworking and motivated so it is very easy to work with them, there is good team chemistry which I am very grateful for.
Our coach Dannyto and assistant coach Desmo did a great job putting a team together which is a combination of young prodigies and experienced players to guide them. We are building this team around one of our main values and that is honest feedback, so no one is afraid to express their ideas and can express their thoughts and concerns. I believe that two of many factors like communication and being open to receive feedback are key when creating a new team.
Yoann: For sure! What makes Apeks a contender to win Ascension this season?
Leonieahh: For 2 years in a row, Apeks had an outstanding scouting. Combining that with the philosophy of the organization, turns Apeks into a contender in every tournament they play. The team has strong individual skills and we are working with the performance team on creating a good synergy.
Yoann: How's the atmosphere behind the scenes working for an esports org?
Leonieahh: It was my dream a long time ago to work with something I enjoy a lot and I'm extremely grateful to be working in Apeks and esport in general because it takes a lot of courage, hard work, and persistence to follow your dreams. The esport industry is very dynamic in general and so is working in esport organizations. As a manager, I try to bring structure so the team can focus on performing and don't have to worry about any other noise surrounding them. I work closely with the performance team they are the closest to me on the day-to-day operations.
The content team is also a huge part of the team as they usually travel with us to events and hang out with the team often. These teams would create what I call support staff and work tirelessly to achieve our goals as an organization not only winning games but bringing these experiences closer to our fans as well.
Yoann: Amazing! How do you build chemistry within a team?
Leonieahh: Bootcamps are the best time to spend some face-to-face time with the team, we are all gamers so we instantly have that in common. There are plenty of games we usually play together online.
When creating a new team it is important to get to know each other well to be able to create a good team dynamic. I have accumulated a few icebreaker card games over the years working with the teams that come in handy in getting to know each other. Board games are a good option as well, we usually play a game called Secret Hitler which was a big hit among the players and the best part is that during these games, we create inner jokes and have our slang.
Besides this, I plan activities for the team that get them out of their comfort zone and push them to work together, escape rooms, laser tag, or go-kart are a great example. The current team is very social so it is very easy to interact with them and often they have ideas themselves on what they would like to try together.
Yoann: Great! Let’s now get into the Quick Questions part, I will ask you ten quick questions, and you’ll have to answer as fast as possible. Ready?
Yoann: Phantom or Vandal?
Leonieahh: The team said I'm more of a Vandal vibe!
Yoann: What's your favorite map?
Yoann: Who's your favorite agent?
Leonieahh: Viper because she is called Sabine, and I adore the design of the agent!
Yoann: Nice! What's your favorite skin collection?
Yoann: What's your best memory working in esports?
Leonieahh: CSGO Stockholm Major 2021! I had a lot of fun with my friends!
Yoann: How often do you play Valorant in your free time?
Leonieahh: I don't play Valorant often.
Yoann: Can you name the eight teams that won an international event?
Leonieahh: No, I can’t!
Yoann: Which team would you like to play against in the grand final of Ascension?
Yoann: What kind of music do you listen to while working?
Leonieahh: I don't listen to music while working but I'm a huge fan of Russian hardbass!
Yoann: Can you quote a voice line from your favorite agent, Viper?
Leonieahh: "Bodies decompose after twelve hours in acid. There's no reason I know that."
Yoann: Nice haha! Let’s get back to the standard questions.
What are your hobbies or passions aside from gaming?
Leonieahh: There is not much time left for hobbies, as my hobby is mainly gaming, I currently play a lot of DAYZ with my friends and Dota2. When I get a few free days I like to travel and explore different cultures, cuisines and meet new people. I should start hitting the gym as that was my New Year resolution!
Yoann: What are your short and long-term ambitions with Apeks?
Leonieahh: I have one short-term ambition and that is to be the best version of myself every day, I am very passionate about my job and that is why if things don't go as planned it can get frustrating. I’m working on turning this frustration into a drive and motivation as everything is about perspective!
My long-term goal would be to create an amazingly performing team, with a healthy team environment and exceptional communication!
Yoann: Amazing! What would you say to someone aspiring to work in esports?
Leonieahh: I always encourage people to follow their dreams and I’m very happy to help anyone and everyone wanting to work in esport, this industry needs passionate people who are willing to work hard, and no matter the circumstances they can look at the positive side and see opportunities instead of threats.
A huge part of the industry is making yourself visible and standing out. I would suggest visiting many events and networking a lot as that is the best shot to meet relevant people!
Yoann: Awesome, thank you so much for your time! I wish you the best in this new season!
Leonieahh: Thank you!
Twitter (X): https://twitter.com/Leonieeeeee__