From a Master’s degree straight into a management position – how do you feel when you look back at that starting phase at Evonik?
My introduction to Evonik was fast – it was unusual, but amazingly instructive! I started my trainee program and immediately landed in the Pipeline business, with managerial responsibility. Being responsible for 15 employees right after finishing my degree was a big challenge for me, but also a great opportunity. Looking back, I would always advise people starting out in their careers to seize those kinds of opportunities. In my opinion, the important thing is not to overestimate your own abilities and to learn from the experts in your field. When you get thrown into the deep end, mistakes are going to happen – and you shouldn’t be afraid of that! Dealing with them openly is essential for your personal development. I was able to count on close collaboration with my supervisors and colleagues as well as support from the trainee program.
I also encourage people to be guided by their interests when choosing a major, and not to shy away from unusual fields! I studied Georesource Management at RWTH Aachen, which is an interdisciplinary program based in earth science. Being able to learn about many different areas, including geochemistry and environmental law, was perfect for me.
You are working on a publicly accessible network for green hydrogen – tell us more!
As part of the GET H2 initiative and the GET H2 Nukleus project, we are working with several partner companies to establish the groundwork for a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure, which will facilitate the energy transition. One of the first publicly accessible hydrogen infrastructures will go from Lingen to Gelsenkirchen, connecting green hydrogen production with industrial consumers. As the logistical “enabler”, our role is to convert an existing natural gas line for hydrogen transport and to get a short new pipeline section built.
The Pipelines product line team sees many possibilities for achieving climate neutrality. Compared to other modes of transport, pipeline transport is associated with much lower greenhouse gas emissions – so it can make an important contribution here. In the future, the infrastructure will continue to be a key factor in supplying (low-emission) raw materials.
Promoting future-oriented topics only works if you have a motivated team – how does that work when the framework conditions are so changeable?
In order for people to work well as a team, a flat hierarchy and clear role assignments are essential. To motivate people, you need to pay attention to your colleagues and be prepared to consider and accept different approaches. So, your communication needs to be eye-to-eye, empathetic, and credible – which also includes openly admitting to mistakes. I work in a part of the company that is constantly in motion, where a project’s success depends on transparent communication and where you are always learning new things. But the constant learning, further development, and support for transformation processes are what makes my job exciting!