In a company career spanning more than three decades, Gerd has switched roles from Marketing to IT and is now our Sales Administration Manager in Sweden.
She has set quite a few precedents during her time at Professional, like helping to launch the first company website, and she experienced remote working before the phrase became commonplace. Now she’s revving up for her retirement at the end of May.
Tell us briefly about your career at Electrolux Professional?
I started in 1989 as a graphic designer, creating technical documentation, within the Laundry R&D department in Ljungby (when it was Electrolux Wascator). After some years, I switched role to marketing support and went on to worked as the bridge between IT and the business before becoming Digital Communications Manager for Professional Laundry.
I returned to marketing, working remotely while also spending two days a week in Copenhagen where the laundry business HQ was then located.
It was always a goal of mine to become part of a management team and that was realized in 2013 in my current role, managing the Sales Support in Sweden. It’s my job to ensure we have lean processes, so we respond to customer needs as fast as possible.
What are you most proud of?
I have always done everything I could to ensure that we have sustainable, lean processes and be a driving force when it comes to digitization. We started early, in the 90s to digitize documentation and I was part of the team that launched the first websites for the Group, as well as being involved in implementing the digital media strategy and where and how to use social media.
Digital continues to be a huge shift and my last project will be working with the OnE platform – our digital customer portal. Change is fun and important because if we don’t follow change we will fail. We need to be open to trying new things because that’s what drives us in becoming better.
How have you instilled that kind of change mentally when it comes to learning and development?
I have always been curious and wanted to learn new things. During my working life, I have taken courses in the evenings and weekends – from marketing to management – to ensure I had the knowledge to take the next step in my career and contribute to the company’s success.
I think it’s important that you always dare to try something new and if you fail at some point, it’s better than doing nothing at all!
What your biggest learning when it comes to working in a global company?
We all have different conditions, cultural backgrounds and skills which must be kept in mind and respected when working with colleagues in other countries.
We need to take advantage of the different competencies that exist inside the organization and ensure that everyone has the same understanding and goals to achieve the best results for the company and our customers. That is exactly what we have done with the introduction of the Guiding Principles.
Speaking of our Guiding Principles – Be bold, Build trust, Act sustainably and Customer obsession – which is your favorite?
I like them all, but I would choose ‘Be Bold’ since that is what we are missing – especially in Sweden where we are very polite! It empowers us to take risks, get out of our comfort zone and take on new challenges. I have enjoyed a great journey with Electrolux Professional and it’s a company that gives you a huge opportunity to develop your career the way you want.
How are you feeling ahead of your retirement at the end of May?
It feels good. I have done so much, achieving my goal to be on the management team and now it’s time for newcomers to step in and perhaps recreate the same journey I have been on.
I will spend my time being out in the nature and with my family – I have four grandchildren – as well as a little dog. But I will miss my team; I always tell them they are the best sales support team in the world – and they are.