Thanks to her father, Kerstin came into contact with Evonik at an early stage. She talked to us about her career and why private and professional changes in her life also represent personal development to her.
Tell us about your Evonik journey and your current position.
My father worked at the predecessor company of Evonik (called Dynamit Nobel) at the sites in Troisdorf and Lülsdorf in Germany. He was lead instructor for the chemical apprentices and later led all apprenticeship and further education activities. Originally, I wanted to study chemistry, but my father convinced me that an apprenticeship would be better to start off my career. After my apprenticeship as chemical lab technician, I studied plant and process engineering. As part of my studies, I completed an internship at the Lülsdorf site and, after graduating, they offered me a position as industrial engineer.
Currently, I am the Head of Safety at the Rheinfelden site. This includes tasks like plant and occupational safety, site and fire protection as well as crisis management. I also lead the cross-site “work safety” team of TI (Technology & Infrastructure).
Which opportunities were offered to you at Evonik?
After my two children were born, my fields of activity changed both times. In the beginning, I perceived the change in my private and work life at the same time as a big challenge. Looking back, however, I have to say that it worked out very well, as it gave me the opportunity to develop personally and professionally. My superiors have always supported me in my actions. The experiences I have made in reconciling work and family life at Evonik were very positive - this is something that I would like to pass on to my own employees.
In retrospect, would you do anything differently?
In my professional career, there were three crossroads where I had to face crucial decisions. Looking back, I can say that thanks to my gut feeling, I have always made the right decision and wouldn’t do anything differently.
How do you think the diversity aspect will develop in the future?
I hope that in the future, diversity is not primarily about women but addresses to everyone. It should be normal that you are valued for your skills and capabilities and no other irrelevant aspects.
Do you have any advice for other women in your profession?
The most important thing is to stay true to yourself and not act as how others want you to be.
Role title: Head of Safety Department (Plant & Occupational Safety, Site & Fire Protection and Crisis Management)
Division: Technology & Infrastructure
Study: Apprenticeship as chemical lab technician, plant & process engineering study program