Angela, you are working for Evonik for a while now. Could you tell us a little bit about your previous career at Evonik?
I started to work at Degussa 15 years ago and have been working in the engineering department for over 10 years. After that I moved on to production at a Shanghai site about 5 years ago, where I first was responsible for the supply chain management, then became plant manager. I came back to work for Technology and Infrastructure this year. Before, I took part in a variety of development projects in Germany and the US - this was great to get a deeper insight in process technology and strategic initiatives.
Now you work for Evonik Technology and Infrastructure (TI). What are your daily tasks?
Yes, currently I am working for TI from Shanghai. I am responsible for the Process Technology & Engineering department (TE) in Asia Pacific North. We develop, design, construct and optimize Evonik's chemical processes. In another word, we start from the beginning of the asset life cycle and take care of it till the end. My main task is to organize and manage the resources needed in providing our holistic production and technology services to the business lines and the sites in the region.
How did you prepare for your new position?
In the past 20+ years I focused on chemical engineering and production, which helped me to get a deeper understanding for my current job. In my transition phase, the company supported me with a well-designed preparation period including management coaching, practical experience and personal interactions. Dr. Otten, who designed the program, gave me clear directions about the mission of TE and showed me how their strategy evolves globally. I also received great support from TE colleagues all over the world who helped me establishing cooperations and exchange with many different departments. I got the chance to visit Europe and US sites and participated in strategic initiatives. My preparation program was really effective and I am grateful to having received so much support from my colleagues.
You made a lot of experiences abroad. Would you say that your job requires intercultural competence?
Most of our projects are international. Usually, the implementation of an international investment project involves people from different regions with their unique expertise and diverse background. For me, mutual trust and respect are the fundamental elements in cross-cultural communication. Respecting the culture differences is an essential factor for the successful implementation of international projects.
What is your favorite part about working in TE?
I think that TE provides an excellent platform for personal growth if you are willing to challenge yourself. Meaningful tasks, fascinating technologies and the internationalized working environment make TE really attractive to me.
What qualities should recent graduates have if they want to become a part of Evonik or in TE?
To be open-minded! And to able to think from the costumer's point of view! It is also important to be curious towards new technologies and to be brave and creative. People working in TE should have an entrepreneurial mindset and should always think about what is best solution for the company.
Do you have any tips or advice for them?
TE is a pool full of young talents. A lot of my Evonik colleagues started their career paths from this department. They always benefit from the network built during their time in TE. Whatever competences in chemistry, chemical processes or engineering you may have, you can find exciting opportunities within TE. My advice: Personally, if there are different options in front of you, choose the one inspires you the most and lets you step out of your comfort zone. You will be rewarded for challenging yourself. As a team - if there are conflicts between your proposal and the customer’s expectation - try to understand the position of your customer and think about the common goal in order to reach the common ground for success, the success of Evonik.