Katharina, Benjamin – looking at your career paths, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of overlap at first. And yet your professional connection has grown enormously in the last two years. Why do you think you’re a good team?
B: For me, a good team requires trust, reliability, and open, direct communication. That’s exactly what we have. We give each other honest feedback for the particular situation, based on the motto: “I need your honest opinion here.”
K: Right, that’s our shared foundation. We value the differences in our competences and experience. We learn from each other because we look at each other critically and motivate one another. Each of our many discussions gives me new ideas and inspiration, which often feed into the topics I’m working on.
There’s no downtime for the two of you – how do you create an environment where you can always keep evolving?
K: Inspiration, feedback, and new ways of thinking usually come from talking to other people. We seek out that dialogue, whether it means talking in the office or meeting virtually with colleagues from other regions. Having a good discussion culture, openness and trust creates the right environment for development.
B: We recommend contacts to each other from our own networks – people who share our values but offer different perspectives. By now we both make sure to do it regularly.
K: There’s no learning without reflection, whether alone or in a network! In our meetings we reflect regularly and in great depth by talking about our progress and about what we would do differently next time.
In your current positions, you are both very focused on the future – what do you see ahead for Evonik as a company and an employer?
B: Our goal is to help shape the future of Evonik. If we integrate everyone’s creativity and passion, that can open up hidden potential for every individual as well as for Evonik.
K: And that’s where active networking comes into play! It’s not an end in and of itself, but a conscious investment in the future. If we create theme-based alliances to tackle tomorrow’s big challenges, we can find solutions together.
B: Right now we are extensively discussing the topic of leadership. What does leadership mean to us? What experience have we gained? And how has leadership evolved at Evonik over the last few years? We draw on our varied competences in the areas of communication and strategy, and we find answers that often inspire heated debates.
K: At the same time, we have already started implementing a few ideas. We are confident that more will be added in 2022 to help us grow together.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €12.2 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €1.91 billion in 2020. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. About 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.