Isabel Hochgesand's meteoric career took her from Managing Director and Procurement VP at Procter&Gamble to Chief Procurement Officer at global skincare company Beiersdorf. She says she “didn’t have any career goals when [she] started" - but when her role was moved abroad and friends pressured her to stay with her partner, something shifted. “This was the first time I felt a bit of a revolution within me.”
Ever since then, she took the path less trodden. In 2001, she turned down a highly sought-after position in Geneva for a location-free job in Frankfurt to be with her husband. “I was first the guinea-pig and then the role model for working location-free,” she says. So she made the option available to others, and built "the best, closely-knit virtual team.”
She shared some great leadership and life lessons - my main takeaways:
👉 Embrace innovative working models, such as job tandems. “Best for parents who want to work part-time and also progress in their career and development.” For companies it’s also a way to retain talent and boost motivation and loyalty.
👉 Don’t bow to societal pressure. In the U.S., Isabel’s 4 months maternity leave was considered long - in Germany people felt it was too short. Expectations differ from country to country and even from person to person, so don’t sweat it.
👉 The importance of networks. Isabel has created networks for women and stresses the importance of peer coaching. Since we do both at MyCollective, it was great to hear this from someone with her experience 🥰
👉 Be confident! After our podcast, she told me that she recently had two women apply for a job in her team - both returning from parental leave and aiming for higher positions. She was really impressed by their confidence - and then realised that they came straight out of the MyCollective programme ❤️❤️❤️
I’m so happy that Beiersdorf’s collaboration with MyCollective includes all parental leavers all over the world - if anyone from Beiersdorf reading this is on parental leave and wants to join the programme, please let me know!
PS: Our programmes are also open for DADs! As we all know, the more dads take parental leave, the more it normalises a return to a career for everyone. We also have a close cooperation with @Volker Baisch and his Väternetzwerk conpadres - and since he is also active with Beiersdorf’s @DAD.icated network, the circle closes here. #ChangingTheNarrative really is a collaboration!
Listen to our full conversation on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4RBbs0OMPbFFh8GVCJKBdc?si=5bNtghvZSwC7T6c8su35PA
Speaker: @Isabel Hochgesand - Chief Procurement Officer @Beiersdorf AG
Interviewer: Dr. Ricarda Engelmeier - Founder @MyCollective
Photo: Isabel Hochgesand
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