21. April 2022

People @ Personio – Ask Me Anything On International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day - Highlight Image

At Personio, we believe every day is a great day to celebrate the awesome women in our lives. We don’t just celebrate our female colleagues for one day of the year. We empower them to be bold and successful every day! 

We are proud to say that 50% of our employees, overall 40% of our leaders and 30% on our executive team are female. And we are not stopping here – we are working on improving even more 🚀

On International Women’s Day we hosted an internal AMA session with some of our awesome female colleagues at Personio. We had a great time filled with inspiring stories and empowerment. We’ve put together the highlights for you – enjoy the read! ✨

What are your tips for finding out where you actually want to be in your career? 

Marta: It’s key to challenge the belief that your studies or early steps in the professional world will define the destiny of your career. While they can impact it, your career will evolve and it’s never too late to make changes along the way. It’s also totally fine not to know what you want to do. If that’s the case, I would focus on getting to know yourself and understanding where your strengths lie. Focus on things that you’re good at, things that you enjoy doing, understand your beliefs and values, and find a balance between that and your professional career. Make sure to explore things and approach work as a world filled with opportunities rather than a daunting maze. 

Martina: I’ve been Head of HR here before and, after some time on the job, I realized that I did not feel right in my role and that I did not fully enjoy it. It often crossed my mind that if I took a step down, would I be looked at like I failed in the management world? But what I found out for myself is that making the right move has nothing to do with what is expected from you or what other people might think. It is what makes you feel good about yourself. 

Birgit: I totally agree. It’s all about passion and interests. Do what you really enjoy doing and not what others expect you to do. Often, there is this belief that your parents should be proud and that the big company names matter the most. But no – you will not  make it if you’re not happy with what you’re doing. So, be true to yourself and follow what you really like and enjoy. Then you will be happy and also very successful in what you are doing.

Is there a specific person that inspired you throughout your career or someone that you look up to?

Marta: I don’t necessarily have one single person that I look up to because I truly believe we’ve got things to learn from each and every single one of us. There are traits, characteristics, values, strengths that we can learn from our peers and it’s a beautiful exercise to identify those. We should collaborate with other people and acknowledge characteristics such as humbleness or kindness, proactiveness, perseverance. I really like to be inspired in that way.

Geraldine: When people ask me how I’ve been successful in my career, I always say I’ve just been really lucky that I’ve had these amazing women in front of me that I have learned from and that have allowed me to dream big. At different stages, they have taken me under their wings, showed me the way and taken a chance on me. Many of them have become really good, close personal friends of mine over time, as well. And so I try to do the same now becauseI feel like that’s my responsibility to pass on. I think there can be a real sense of camaraderie that you can develop through work relationships, particularly when you’re either someone is helping you or you’re helping somebody else as they’re progressing through their careers. 

Katharina: I do not have a person who inspired me in particular, but what I found always very helpful in my career was to get a mentor in the company. It doesn’t have to be your supervisor, it can be your colleague or teammate, but someone with more experience whom you can learn from. 

Birgit: I have something I always call my ‘board of directors.’ It is a bunch of people that I met during different stations in life and who I value and appreciate for their perspective. And then that’s one thing I particularly learned when having kids is that everyone needs to find their own way. There is not the perfect “one way”. Just like with having kids – there’s not the perfect recipe. You need to find your own way through the ups and downs and getting ideas from different perspectives. For me, my husband has a particularly important perspective. Your partner will give you an unfiltered opinion because that person knows you really well and can give you advice that probably no one else can give you. So utilize that and trust in it. 

What advice would you give to your younger self in the early stages of their career?

My advice would be that if you can choose between going for a job that provides experience or money, I would always choose the experience because that’s the currency on the labor market. At a later stage in your career,, you will earn more money anyways by having more experience.

Katharina Friesen, Group Product Manager 

Always make sure to communicate openly with your managers about where you want to go and what ideas you have. Let them know what your passions are or if you’re interested in a certain project and the best opportunities will come up.

Martina Ruiß, Director, Talent

Connect with people from other fields, from other companies, expand your network, talk to different professionals, get to understand their experiences. Promote yourself and your strengths as much as you can and connect with other people. Stay curious and ask questions.

Marta Galofre, Program Manager

How have you balanced the combination of career planning with personal planning?

The term  work-life balance is not a perfect thing that you achieve on a daily basis as a working parent. My attitude is that if you’re doing a job that you really enjoy, that it actually doesn’t really matter how many hours a particular day that you work. What matters is how it all works together. I do think as working parents we have to be a bit more organized, get stuff into your calendar, and arrange what your working day looks like. I do understand that coming back from maternity leave can be challenging when the business has changed quite a lot, which is common in scaling and growing companies. What I would recommend is not to fully disconnect from work over the full maternity leave. As things begin to normalize after having the baby, you can connect back with a few of the people that you’re working with to hear what’s going on. Then I think it makes that step of going back to work less intense. 

Geraldine MacCarthy, CRO

Having kids obviously is a very important yet tricky topic and there is never a perfect time to have kids. So, if you want to have kids – go for it and don’t try to plan around it. When my first child was born, I went on maternity leave expecting to come back a few months down the road. I was promoted during my leave and at the same time given a lot of benefit of the doubt that everything will work out. During my second maternity leave, it worked out in a different way, and I decided to switch jobs and join Personio. So, just let life happen and it’ll be fine in the end. Birgit Haderer, CFO

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