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What does your way to Continental look like?
Five years ago I had great fortune to be hired as the first local Health Manager at Continental. In those days I built and led the health management of the Business Unit ADAS, before I followed the call of Corporate Health to Hanover two years ago. In this corporate function I even reach more employees with my work and it is exciting, to see from this perspective, how a global corporation like Continental works. Here I can learn on a daily basis and further develop myself.
What are your tasks as a Health Manager at Corporate Health?
We develop central programs and strategies to promote our employees’ competence in health issues and deal with the topic of “Healthy Leadership”. We constantly focus on establishing a healthy corporate culture at Continental. In my corporate function I see my task in providing all Continental employees worldwide with access to an integrated, systematic health management.
What do you like most about your job?
I appreciate working with and for people and I am convinced that with our work we contribute to the success of the corporation. Yes, it’s not about a technical product, but it’s about the people, about our 235,000 employees, and about the goal to become the most attractive employer. For the implementation of our goals I experience a lot of freedom to act and I like to discuss new ideas with my team. The positive attitude towards our topics in the company is remarkable: Even though health management is not a direct element of the value creation chain, it is an important investment in our employees and by that in our future.
What do you appreciate about Continental as a company?
I especially appreciate the diversity: The difference between the work place of a blue-collar worker and a software engineer couldn’t be bigger, but nevertheless they are all part of this company. I enjoy working in a multicultural environment and see lots of chances in that. Assignments in other countries I always experience as an enormous enrichment because they help me to understand the needs of different regions. Moreover I appreciate both the possibility of mobile work and our four core values: Both support me in my daily work.
Besides your job you have got a very interesting hobby: mountain climbing. How did you start this?
Ten years ago I saw the Matterhorn (one of the highest mountains of the Alps) with my own eyes and there I knew: I want to be on the top! At that time this was absolutely unrealistic: I wasn’t really into climbing but only one of a thousand tourists, which stand in front of this fascinating mountain year after year. But I had a goal in my mind, so I set off: In the beginning with easy fixed rope routes, lasting several days tours, then 3000 meters and finally 4000 meters. In 2015 I finally was ready and I was able to fulfill my dream – an incredibly amazing feeling!
How are your job and your hobby connected with each other? Is there anything that you take with you from your hobby for your job?
Personally, I take lots of energy from the mountains to my job. Here I can clear my mind and be creative. When you are climbing you always focus on the here and now, highly concentrated on what you are doing in that moment. This ability, to keep focused under stress, of course helps me very much in my daily work. I keep on searching for new challenges and want to enhance my abilities in different fields. This is only possible if you are willing to leave your comfort zone – in the mountains as well as at work. Many mountains have to be worked hard for: mutual trust, team spirit and “passion to win” are essential preconditions for the success.
You successfully participated in a competition, whose winners will climb the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. Please tell us something about this.
The online magazine Bergwelten and the sports equipment manufacturer Mammut were looking for three candidates to climb the Eiger (3967m in the Swiss Alps) crossing the spectacular Mittellegigrat, that is know as one of the most beautiful ridges of the Alps. A jury, that David Lama, one of the best mountaineers of the world, was part of, at first elected 12 finalists. Afterwards in an online voting a representative of each Austria, Switzerland and Germany was selected. I am super happy that now I am the one to represent Germany in this international project. I am still absolutely stunned by the incredible support I experienced in the voting – also by a lot of colleagues.
How do you prepare yourself for the ascent? What do you look forward to the most?
The Mammut Alpine School will train the three of us for the ascent of the Eiger again on the cliff and on the glacier and create training schedules for us. Besides cardio training I have to work on my technique. Therefore I will probably spend lots of evenings in the climbing hall. The biggest difficulty for me is the missing height training in flat Hanover: To once cover the altitude distance from Grindelwald to the top of the Eiger, I would have to climb Hanover’s highest mountain 50 times ;-)! That’s why I will spend as many weekends as possible in the mountains.