You work as the Head of Product and Process Research - sounds like a lot of different tasks. What does your daily work routine look like?
A pure desk job wouldn't be right for me. I enjoy combining research activities and management tasks. I like to personally oversee the practical experiments for my projects, for example, when we test new mixtures at Xella T&F. I am a materials scientist and studied at the renowned TU Bergakademie Freiberg. At Xella T&F, I work with my team of ten employees on research projects, raw material suitability tests, and the annual quality control of raw materials and granulates.
Xella is building an internal network of women with high potential. What does this mean for you?
It's an exciting opportunity to establish a network with interesting women from diverse fields and positions within Xella. As someone coming from a technical background, I haven't had such in-depth insights into areas like personnel management, marketing, or executive leadership. Now, I can look beyond the scope of our technology and research company, even into other subsidiary companies, to identify areas where we can optimize and further develop processes. In return, I can contribute my extensive experience and expertise to Xella.
You have a lot of professional experience as a woman in the long time male dominated heavy construction industry.
I have never experienced the problem of not being respected professionally. Solid knowledge and excellent work are convincing arguments. My voice has always carried weight. Of course, when I first took on the position of Head of Department, there were some in the company who said, "Who is she?" That took a toll on me. However, I was able to demonstrate that my structured and solution-oriented approach contributes to the success of Xella T&F and the overall Xella company.
What values are particularly important to you as a leader?
I am someone who prefers to explain and take people along so that they understand why certain instructions make sense. I'm more of a coach, the authoritarian style of leadership has had its day. It is also much more sustainable: if every colleague knows how and why we do something, we get everyone on board much better. It's more like leading from the front to reach the goal together.
How important is diversity in this context?
It’s very close to my heart. We have so many differently talented people at Xella. We could learn a lot more from each other. But I also see that it is not so easy to find the time for this, because we are all very involved in research projects and our daily work. Sometimes the possibilities to do this is a little behind. But I'm working on it!
What role does sustainability play in your daily work?
This is another topic that is very important to me.
Against the backdrop of climate change, we are working on making our construction materials climate-neutral in our research projects. This begins with using raw materials with lower CO2 footprint and continues with improving our products in terms of thermal insulation and the resulting energy efficiency. Additionally, we aim to optimize the production processes energetically. Equally important is climate protection in our personal lives. It starts with our shopping habits. For instance, I prefer local products to reduce long transportation routes, and I use public transportation whenever possible.