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Kerstin

Kerstin

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)
Based:  Rheinfelden
Division: Technology & Infrastructure
StudyApprenticeship as chemical lab technician, plant & process engineering study program

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... #HumanChemistry

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Yesterday we launched our D&I campaign 'Everyone Evonik - Everyone unique' in which colleagues of Evonik Antwerpen introduce themselves to each other. They show that it is possible to do both: to feel 100% at home at Evonik and to be completely yourself at the same time. Colleague Mohamed Amhaoul is the first to tell his story. Read it in Dutch (https://corporate.evonik.be/nl/DI) or in English right here: YOU CAN TURN PREJUDICES AROUND "I am Mohamed Amhaoul, but everyone calls me Moh. I grew up in a Muslim family and am now a husband and father of grown-up children myself. I have been working for Evonik Antwerp since 2005. I started my career at the silanes production unit and after wanderings via the then Cyol unit and the hydrogen peroxid unit, I have been working at the methionine unit for several years now. I am a team leader in the B-team and I am also involved in the employee representation. By ending up in so many different teams, I have already experienced a lot, both positive and negative. Experiences are real learning opportunities for me. For example, I learned over the years not to react immediately when people say something. I take the time to think. A statement always has a context and you can't just assume it's meant badly. I'm a big fan of the consultation culture and conversations. If we don't talk to each other, we won't get anywhere. I really believe that. My origins and religion sometimes cause unease in other people. I have learned to be careful with my own reactions, not to make things worse. You always have a choice: stir things up or be smart. I find it smarter to have a calm conversation and not to impose yourself or your own opinion. Believe me, I have experienced it many times: prejudices can be turned around, without fierce discussions or heated situations. Give people time and trust comes almost naturally. I myself do not accept any form of discrimination. Not in relation to women, colour, religion, race, gender,... and this at no time: not at work, not in the sports club, not in the family. For example, my sisters all started higher education, because I was able to convince my parents of the importance of it. The sports federation, where I am a member of the board, has appointed me as a confidential advisor and I am grateful for that. Here at work, I feel respected. I can be who I am and I wish that for everyone. I dream of a world where boys and girls get to choose what they study, where firms reflect the diversity of the world. Where no one is afraid to be themselves and everyone respects each other without reservation. We are on the right track, there are many bright spots for those who want to see them. #HUMANCHEMISTRY #DIVERISTY #EVERYONEEVONIKEVERYONEUNIQUE #SENSEOFBELONGING #DIVERSITEIT #INCLUSIE #EVONIKANTWERPEN #IEDEREENEVONIKIEDEREENUNIEK #D&i #INCLUSION
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Responsible for Communication - Central & South America Region #Evonik #teamwork #determination
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