(Hidden) Champions – Women Power within the NESS Network

At NESS, we only have a handful of women within the company. At first glance, our company is not full of female colleagues, but I regularly and very much enjoy working with women inside and outside our company.

Who am I? My name is Jan Ohrmann and I am responsible for marketing at NESS Wärmetechnik. Working for NESS, I have contact with many different people. Among them are some real power women!

This International Women’s Day, I would like to take the occasion to introduce you to some of these women from my network. We discuss their point of view is on some issues and what motivates them to be great at their job.

Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill

The unstoppable determined one

I met Lauren for the first time in 2019 during an internship at NESS. Lauren is a super open-minded, communicative person who always seems to make time for you and supports me to this day with technical questions and opinions. And how does she feel about it? That’s what I wanted to know.

Lauren, I personally find you very strong, determined and confident. How do you do it? What gives you that strength?

I’m naturally a very self-motivated person. At the beginning of my life, I was quite ill, and my parents were told by the doctors that I would have difficulty with some things as I grew up. I think I always wanted to prove them wrong.

Wow. Thank you for this personal insight, I didn’t know that about you. I honestly wouldn’t have guessed that for a second – they were definitely wrong.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?

I would say my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. They involved a lot of work and sacrifice. Another thing that I’m proud of is achieving the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, which I received at Buckingham Palace. Many young people work hard towards this, but it requires a lot of commitment, as well as several hiking exhibitions.
My last exhibition was in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. We had to trek for 5 days with heavy backpacks – full of tents, sleeping bags, water, food and clothes. It was hot and there was very little water. A very challenging experience but I did it.

You can be really proud of those! With this in mind: How important is success for you and how would you rate it?

Success is very important to me. Success means setting goals and working towards them and feeling fulfilled as a result.

What advice would you give – especially to younger people?

Always believe in yourself – you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I wish I had believed in my abilities more when I was younger, but I do now.

Simone Gschwind

Simone Gschwind

The agile marketer

I met Simone in 2022 as part of a cooperation project between Verotec GmbH and NESS. At that time, the idea of the cooperation in our communication was very young. There weren’t many credentials yet, but Simone was incredibly open-minded and flexible with the idea. What motivates her and makes her so open-minded? That’s what I wanted to know.

Simone, if I’m honest, many of our marketing colleagues are trapped in their own vision. How do you keep your free spirit?

I particularly enjoy the creativity and diversity involved in my job. As a marketing specialist, I can optimally combine my skills and knowledge with my trained profession as a media designer and therefore directly implement any ideas myself. This makes me quite independent and versatile. As a result, I have developed step by step and now have a job that I really enjoy.

That’s a really cool approach! How do you implement this in your personal organisation? Does this give you a kind of “mission statement” for your attitude to life?

This depends on the situation. I have long-term goals, but I can also act spontaneously. The important thing is that it doesn’t always have to go according to plan A, but that you keep going even if something goes wrong.

And if something does go wrong or plan B, C or D has to be implemented at short notice?

Of course, I get a bit worried on the inside, but on the outside, I try to stay calm and focused, because there is a solution for everything. And to stay on the ball, it helps to give myself a little reward every now and then, such as enjoying downtime activities, pursuing my hobbies, meeting up with friends, etc.

I can see that you always have flexibility in mind. Is that also how you define your successes?

You have to remain flexible there too. For me, success means first and foremost setting a goal in your head and then achieving it, but it can also be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes. You don’t immediately reach your goals in a direct way. That’s why it’s important to adjust your goals. But if you keep at it and maybe have some support and motivation from great people, it’s easier to push through difficult times. It’s also important not to give up.

Alina Berner

Alina Berner

The balanced sustainability expert

I had the pleasure of getting to know Alina in 2022 as a team member of RKW Baden-Württemberg GmbH as part of our support. Alina is confident in any situation and radiates unbelieve calm and composure, even when things sometimes go haywire. How does she do that? That’s what I wanted to know.

Alina, what exactly are your responsibilities at RKW?

My job is “Sustainability Business Expert”. I am responsible for the topic of sustainability – both internal, as well as consulting and managing our clients’ projects.

You can see the diversity of your work there. Is the topic important to you? It also sounds like a lot of responsibility.

Creative freedom is very important to me. I have been able to build up and shape my area independently since last year. I was given a lot of responsibility and trust right from the start. I’m very grateful for that. In the meantime, I have even been able to hire a work-experience student to support me in my activities. Kind of crazy because less than 2 years ago I was still a student myself. I also think it’s great to work in the field of sustainability. The meaning and importance of this topic are clear.

This sounds really cool, but … since last year?! That also sounds incredibly stressful. How do you deal with it? Are there any goals that guide you?

I motivate myself best when I think of the goal and the purpose behind what I do. Always setting new and small goals helps a lot. In stressful times, it helps me to structure and prioritise my activities. That way I can keep an overview and avoid losing things. After stressful situations, you should also regularly take time out to recharge your batteries.

I see it in a similar way to you. The bottom line is that this is a marathon and not a continuous sprint. And what about success?

Success is important to me, but not the most important thing. I want to achieve something in my life that I can look back on later, but I’m also a fan of celebrating small successes and not putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s important to be happy with what you achieve.

So just take a deep breath and celebrate yourself. That’s great advice! Do you have another tip for the marathon?

Don’t stop, just keep going! Take advantage of opportunities, offers and networking. A good network can be very useful and the sooner you build it, the better. Also, don’t take life too seriously – most of the time what will be will be, and many doors will open and close again.

Elaine Gilmer

Elaine Gilmer

The passionate business influencer

I met Elaine through networking on LinkedIn and unfortunately haven’t met in-person yet. In 2022, when I started to be really active on LinkedIn, I was undecided how authentic you can be on there. Elaine has inspired me with her posts and also relaxed me mentally. How does she approach the whole thing? That’s what I wanted to know.

Elaine, I love your easy-going and authentic way of communicating. It certainly stands out on LinkedIn. Is there a secret to that?

I work for EGGER in specification management, covering the north and south of Ireland and I love my job! My secret: Do what you are passionate about for a living! Not just what you think a ‘good job’ is, because only passion brings success.

Strong, emotive statements. I love it! Do you see it the same way in your private life?

Yes. In life, always stick with people who make you happy and love you. It sounds simple but you wouldn’t believe how many people just want to bring you down. As soon as you become aware of your own happiness, you will easily recognise the people who encourage you and help you to grow as a person.

That’s understandable. I definitely agree with you. How did you come to this realisation? Sounds like it’s come after a lot of experience.

I became a mother very young while I was doing my diploma and degree. I also had two jobs. At that time, I just functioned, but looking back I am very proud of this achievement. It certainly shapes you.

Wow – that certainly sounds like a demanding and exhausting time. You can be absolutely proud of yourself! Do you have any tips for coping with stress?

I admit that I suffer a bit from stress, but when I am stressed, it helps me to talk about it. I myself do Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT for short. It helps me a lot.

So, let’s talk about harmony in your private and professional life. Do you draw your strength from both?

My two children and my private life itself motivate me to succeed professionally, just as my passion for my work enriches my private life. They go hand in hand.

I am totally with you on that. I also feel that a work-life balance has nothing to do with the amount of time you spend at work, but with the mental harmony and feasibility of both in life.