,,You can be a good mother and still follow your dreams, you totally can, if you so desire.” – my favorite quotes from Sheryl Sandberg´s Lean in: Women, Work and the will to lead.
The average age for women to become pregnant for the first time in Germany is around 29 and at that age I was busy of chasing my career and considering what will be my next new journey. My name is Ran Escher, responsible for partnership management for Innovation and Digitalization at ContiTech, former high-performance national athlete, a finance professional in tech who served as an advisor to link Startups with Corporate. Nowadays I am 32 years old, live in a happy marriage life and pregnant.
I do enjoy my current role and still remember how exciting I was while having the conversation with my supervisor: I want to build up strategic partnerships to drive corporate innovation forward. It is not easy to start a new central function from the scratch especially you have to implement the strategy and approach to all 7 business units across 4 business regions. Meanwhile, I am also responsible to build up a strong relationship with diverse external counterparties, such as startups, universities, accelerators and venture capitals throughout the Tech-ecosystem. All in all, it requires great passion, effective action plans and a lot of travelling. I am always driven by passion and believe passion is the fire inside and always start with curiosity. My athletic hardworking mindset helps me to push through the tough times to succeed in business world, when I was facing new challenging and struggling. The process of building up each partnership and having the conversation with Startups to understand their business, to help them to solve their problems is what I am passionate about and what I learned, is what truly fulfills me.
During the pregnancy, I was wondering if I could “have it all”? Can a working woman nowadays have a career, a marriage, health, happiness, and a relationship with her child simultaneously? The answer may very individualized and complicated. From my perspective and my experience at Continental, as a career woman and mother to be, “having it all” is tough but possible. I know many of women may find themselves overwhelmed, unprepared and often at a crossroad, when they know that going back to work after maternity leave is going to be tough. How to quickly find the balance between career and motherhood need to be redefined and really required understanding and time to work on it. Positive supports from both employer and partner really help a lot. That´s why it makes me even more happy that today I can go on maternity leave knowing that there are also family-friendly companies where life does not get in the way of career opportunities.
One month ago, I was invited to join the delegation group together with the first mayor of City Hamburg, Dr. Peter Tschentscher on his official visit in China and Japan to enhance economic and trade exchanges. Usually a 13-hours long-distance flight plus jetlag, highly packed business trip with back-to-back meetings is already stressful enough, not to mention for a 6-months-pageant-mother-to-be. After the conversation with my supervisor I decided to go on the business trip as the only one Chinese female representative among the whole delegation group to promote our global innovation hub to important cooperation partners in Asia. Over 6 days I visited numeral business partners in Shanghai, Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo, traveled through 3 cites within one day. I had great opportunity to engage in insightful discussion with so many high-ranking officials also other corporate executives for exchange in innovation, R&D and Production. The trip turned out as a great success and ContiTech’s innovation blueprints in Germany and Asia are highly supported by the city of Hamburg.
I appreciate that my husband could also take over on the maternity at his workplace, where is also room for both work and family. Therefore, he could have quality time with our child and take over my role at home, which supports me to go back to my job through a gentle transition. I wish there are more family friendly companies out there and will eventually provide better working conditions for more future new parents, for both men and women.
Cheers from Hamburg,