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#1 - “You can stay angry at life for not giving you what you want, or you can feel blessed for being given all that you need.”

Yolande has known Evonik since her childhood. Now as a student, she is doing an internship at Evonik Africa. In our students@Evonik blog, she talks about how Evonik accompanied her since she was a little girl, how she came to accounting with a degree in law, and what her internship in finance looked like.

I came to appreciate this quote more than I ever thought I would, the very day I started working at Evonik Africa.

I guess, I need to go back in time for you to better understand my story. I was born in South Africa in a small town called Bronkhorstspruit. I was raised on a farm and sometimes I had to go to work with my mom during school holidays. At that time, my mom was the bookkeeper at Degussa in Midrand, nowadays known as Evonik Africa. We drove 200 kilometers a day to the place where I spent my ‘day at the office’ sitting underneath her desk, drawing something for her colleagues over and over again. 

Many years later, in summer 2014, a much older me started to work in the finance department - who would have thought that I would follow in my mom's footsteps? Back then, I was just a temp doing basic office work. However, I became a headache to my colleagues very soon. Every task I was assigned to complete, every document and the numbers thereof raised countless questions. To me, the content of the documents I handled was very intriguing. My personality could simply not resist but to try and understand what every document meant on a larger scale.

I continued to work at Evonik during holidays, even when I was at University, and officially joined as a contract worker in July of 2018. I had the opportunity to work as an accountant in the finance department for the next seven months. This was my blessing in disguise.

Walking into the office that Monday morning, I felt a bit intimidated due to my little experience in finance. I was introduced to some new faces but I already knew most of them. I got a quick briefing on what I would do and, since it was the end of the month, I was thrown into the cold water – It was sink or swim. At that time, I thought it was impossible to get everything done (correctly, I might add) but I received so much help and support that the idea of impossibility soon became a forgotten concept. Today, I know that my first couple of months in this position shaped me into a strong-minded and determined individual, therefore I will always be grateful to the Evonik team. 

Admittedly, this was never my true plan in life. I completed my studies towards a Baccalaureus of Commercii degree in law and, somewhere in between, I kind of got lost in the numbers. You’ve probably heard the saying “Everything happens for a reason”. Well, I guess that’s true because I met people who taught me great values and life lessons. I met amazing individuals, some even saw me growing up before their eyes. The best part of my whole journey was that I met people who gave the words of Marcus Lemonis a whole new meaning:  ”People are the core of every business. Businesses are based on relationships, and relationships are based on people. I would go to an average restaurant run by amazing people over an outstanding restaurant run by awful people.” 

My time at Evonik has taught me that I not only gained life and personal experience, moreover, I overcame challenges, built character and learned about relationships, hard work and diversity. I found a place where I felt a sense of belonging. The best feeling in all of this must be that I became part of a family. I am looking forward to telling you more about these wonderful people who have accompanied me on my journey in the next part of my blog. 

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.”  - Richard Bach

See you soon

On the students@Evonik blog students who work at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.


...at #HumanChemistry

#NewYearNewMe! ✨ A few weeks ago, my colleague Derya and I had the great opportunity to record our fourth TikTok video together with some of our Evonik apprentices. Watch the full video on TikTok to find out what their dream jobs are 🎬: https://www.tiktok.com/@evonikofficial #HumanChemistry #Ausbildung #EmployerBranding #NewYearNewMe
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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