This month, we’ve put a new spin on our regular series featuring colleagues around the world. Here’s three inspiring women we’d like you to meet.
As a company, we strive to increase the share of female leaders at all levels and our gender diversity target is a 40/60 distribution in managerial positions by 2030. Today, we are not short of role models – let’s meet three of them.
Frida Gulliet, Head of Total Rewards: A relatively new recruit, Frida joined the company in March this year and works in her home city of Stockholm. She notched four years’ experience in Total Rewards team at Electrolux Group and took up roles elsewhere before joining Professional. Here, Frida has already had the possibility to work on projects outside her area of expertise – a great way to broaden her competence and skills, she says.
Stefanie Ter-Meer, Team lead, Contract Management, Schneidereit: Started as a commercial employee in contract management at Schneidereit in Germany in 2017. Following the acquisition by Professional, she moved up to lead the team that oversees the process of leasing contract administration with the leasing bank. Since January this year, Stefanie has added the responsibility of accounts receivable to her role. At 25 years old, she says she is proud to have been able to develop professionally so quickly and take on a management position.
What’s it like to be a leader at Electrolux Professional?
Burcu: It’s enlightening; being a part of a great team, hearing all the great ideas during our brainstorms, coaching to get right the replies and ensuring everyone is included in decision-making is fantastic. I have the chance to inspire passion and motivation within my team and leading them towards achieving our common goals is great.
Frida: I haven’t been with the company for so long, but my first impression is very positive. I have already been offered several courses related to my role as a leader, so I feel there is a strong support from the company.
Stefanie: It’s great to have been given the chance to take on a leadership role at a young age. I can work independently within my scope of responsibility and make decisions in or with my team. I also think it is great that so much emphasis is placed on employee development – this is another reason why I like being a manager here. I can offer my employees development opportunities and help shape their careers.
What gives you energy and keeps you passionate? What’s your advice for young, aspiring managers?
Burcu: I do not lose the spirit and curiosity of a newcomer but also feel I am a part of a big family. I have experienced changes of managers, positions, job descriptions as well as passing through tough times. A new challenge every day keeps me fresh and passionate about our brand and products.
Frida: What gives me energy is interesting work, my colleagues and the feeling that my work is contributing to the development of the company. My advice would be to stay curious, acknowledging that you don’t know everything and that you’re always learning. I believe it is important to recognize good work done by your team, so they feel significant about their contributions and their role in your team. Another important thing is to admit mistakes and try to learn from them.
Stefanie: Working with my great team; we have already achieved a lot together and will continue to achieve a lot together. Everyone must find their own leadership style in order to be authentic. You can look to role models and learn from them, but you have to stay true to yourself and find the leadership style that suits you.
What can we do more of to attract and develop female leaders?
Burcu: I believe there is no work that can be defined as man’s work, and I can easily say that in this company I have not faced discrimination at all, and discrimination is common in my country.
Frida: I’m not sure we need to do something different than what we do to attract talent in general. In today’s society, I think it is important to promote flexibility through work-life balance and our Smart Working Directive. It’s about showing that we care about our employees through the benefits we offer and the development possibilities we can give them.
Stefanie: Our current campaigns and measures are a good start so that female employees can get to know female managers and follow their careers. Perhaps female employees and young managers who are interested can have an exchange with a female manager who has already gained some experience.
What leadership qualities are most important to you?
Burcu: Respect, listen and be open minded.
Frida: Transparency, accountability, to listen, delegation and empathy.
Stefanie: It’s important that managers are empathetic and have a good feeling for people, so that they can put themselves in their place. The work of our employees is what makes us so successful. After all, you win as team; you lose as a team. In addition, managers should always be open to new ideas too, as part of their own continuous development. Nevertheless, I also find stability and balance important to create a good atmosphere amongst the team.