The Voies navigables de France patronage team

Laurent Adnet, Patronage Manager

After gaining his first professional experience in New York as part of his degree at Toulouse Business School, Laurent Adnet truly began his career in a Parisian corporate communication agency before moving into the cultural sector in his native Toulouse by joining the team of the International Piano Festival at the Jacobins Convent in 2000. He is also responsible for the festival’s successful launch in Shanghai and Beijing. As a big fan of travel and Spanish culture in particular, he moved to Barcelona in 2006 to take charge of selling authors’ rights for a Catalan publishing house. However, he wanted to get back to his roots, and so decided to return to Toulouse at the end of 2007 where his business school entrusted him to lead its foundation. He then took part in the launch of the establishment’s first fundraising campaign. As a devoted fundraiser who was still drawn to the music industry, he went on to create the patronage department of the Grands Interprètes (“Great Performers”) series of classical music concerts in Toulouse in 2010. In 2012, he became Director of the chamber choir Les Éléments.
Since August 2016, he has been Patronage Manager for Voies Navigables de France and has been leading fundraising campaigns for the preservation of the Canal du Midi as well as other renovation projects for structures around the country. Laurent Adnet has been co-founder of the regional branch of the French Association des Fundraisers for more than 10 years.

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Milène Benoist, Public Fundraising / Communications Manager

Originally from Tours, Milène had the opportunity to travel to the four corners of France and Canada during her studies in business and then communications. After doing internships in various industries, including microtechnology, agro-food and events, she decided to specialize in marketing and communications.
After finishing her studies, she joined a digital marketing agency in Paris where she held the position of Communications Manager for 3 years.
After this highly fulfilling experience, Milène decided to move to Toulouse, where she joined the department of aeronautical development at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
Finally, driven by her desire to combine her professional skills with her environmental and social commitments, she joined the VNF patronage program as Public Fundraising / Communications Manager in 2019.

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Julie Birs, Head of the Canal du Midi Patrons Business Club

After studying business in Toulouse, Julie began her career at a communications agency in Paris, first as a project manager and then account manager. After 5 years in this industry, she decided to become a fundraiser and joined the NGO Aide et Action International in 2013 as Head of Corporate Partnerships, where she created synergies with various major clients and helped to develop worldwide educational projects for almost 4 years. She and her family then moved to Myanmar, where she worked in a travel agency and managed a fleet of cruise ships on the Ayeyarwady River. She also created her own interior design company there.
Back in Toulouse, she joined Reporters Without Borders as Head of Development, where she raised funds to launch the international “Forum on Information and Democracy” project. After completing this mission, she joined the Voies Navigables de France patronage program in 2020 to develop corporate partnerships.

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