Until March 2022, Michaela Krahwinkel was head of the Performance Analysis department at Union Investment and in this role, some even joked, "grilled the product and fund managers of our own company. She recently shifted her work focus and has been working as a Diversity & Inclusion Officer in Group Human Resources since April 2022. A job change is always a special challenge. We talk to Michaela about what a complete change of perspective feels like and how she manages it for herself.
Michaela, you've just made a change of perspective, from an analyst role to an attitude/culture role. Can you tell us more about your change?
It's a change with all the trimmings, the only thing missing was the school bag. I really miss my employees and the work in performance analysis. But the desire for change has ultimately been stronger. I felt concerns about not being able to do justice to the new task, to the point of saying "Hello!", what an important future topic I will now be accompanying!
It's always a challenge when you have a new job. You stayed with the company, but now you've taken on a completely new role. How does this change of role feel for you?
Simply good! The great trust I have received from my colleagues is unbelievable. It is enriching to work with such a wide range of people at Union Investment and to deal with the many views and attitudes that exist.
And how does your environment, your colleagues, react?
Very, very different - many were also totally surprised. They ranged from a lack of understanding, because I stand for performance analysis, to: "You don't just give away a management position like that! After pondering for a while, however, most of them were very pleased that I would be involved in our newly founded Diversity Council in the future and that I would be campaigning for equal opportunities for women.
Was there a trigger for the role change? Or did you simply think "now I'm going to do something completely different"?
During my breast cancer illness last year, I had time to think about my professional future as well. Union Investment has given me a lot over the past twenty years and I simply wanted to give something back. And in addition to my job as a "rake," I have always been committed to equal opportunities for women in male-dominated asset management.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges of the role change? And how do you personally deal with these challenges?
Oh my, there are a few: I'm no longer a leader, but a part of great teams. Agile, hierarchy-free collaboration shouldn't really be new to me, but it is to the extent that it is. My tasks used to be comparable to a sprint or middle-distance race, but now it's more like a marathon. That also means that success doesn't come as quickly, and I still have to get used to that. Success now no longer means commenting on a complex analysis. Now it's about paving the way for diversity and talent in the company. The big challenge here is to encourage my colleagues to change their behavior.
But at the top of the list is my heart's desire: to establish a women's network at Union Investment. Its purpose is to ensure that women can work in an appreciative working environment on an equal footing and also show solidarity and support each other. In order to achieve this, I am working in a team with 18 committed female founders who are laying the foundations for our, no their, internal women's network at Union.
What's the latest news for you? Will you suddenly become a social media queen?
Na ja, dafür müsste ich mein LinkedIn Profil erstmal pflegen. Aber ganz klar, technisch lerne ich viel dazu. Ich muss mich mit ganz anderen Kommunikationstechniken und Softwares befassen. Eine Pinwand war gestern, jetzt nutze ich dafür Sticky Notes in Conceptboard. Einen Beitrag zu liken oder zu teilen ist für mich jetzt ganz normal, dies war es meiner alten Welt nicht – wer gibt einer Performanceanalyse schon ein „like“!
What about your working hours? Has something changed there? Are you now less bound by a time constraint and more flexible than before? How does that feel?
150% in terms of working hours is no more. Nevertheless, I could be more flexible with my working hours thanks to the many opportunities at Union Investment, but personally, the force of habit gets in the way a bit. I don't do it below 100 percent.
Between us: Is such a change of perspective rather exhausting or rather enriching?
It is wonderful. I can only encourage everyone to dare to try something new. The different experiences, the diverse, new contacts and the personal development are a great enrichment.
Great, thanks for the open interview, and good luck in your new job!