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Please feel free to contact us via e-mail.
Executive Presence was the topic of the keynote lecture & networking evening on 3 September 2019 in Frankfurt. Kay-Sölve Richter and Christoph Münzner from (Richter & Münzner I Executive Presence) shared their experiences with the participants. What do you feel when you are about to perform (lecture, presentation, etc.)? Most managers are not as strong and convincing as they would like to be at this very moment. What is the reason? Many of us carry a backpack of false expectations and copied behaviors along with them and have not yet realized that authentic gestures, facial expressions and voice and the right content can reach the audience better and more sustainably. Kay-Sölve Richter and Christoph Münzer vividly introduced us to a few types of speakers, some of whom might be slumbering within us or seem familiar to us: among them the nappy-soft "Chameloen-Clone" (a guy who repeatedly puts down in his inexpressive, self-repeating appearances) and the infamous "Buzzword-Catapult" (who likes to use as many fashionable words as possible and thereby loses sight of the message of his speech).
Conclusion: You can put away your heavy backpack with all kinds of rules and behaviour patterns for a successful performance and focus on WHAT you want to say and let your own authenticity take effect. With contents we learned: mostly less is more.
After the entertaining impulse lecture and the following question and answer session we had drinks & finger food on the roof terrace of our host - with an impressive Sky-Line. There was another intensive exchange about what we had heard, but ideas for future events and formats were also collected with the aim of reviving the network even more. An all-round successful event! Many thanks to Hoesch & Partner for the great premises and to Hanne Mai, who was able to win the speakers for the evening through personal contact!
The topic of unconscious bias in everyday working life was addressed by around sixty participants in the "Unconscious Bias" event on March 28.
After a welcome address by Stefani Rahmel, Partner at BearingPoint, and Klaudia Wilde, Director Resource Development at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, Dr. Isabel von Korff, WHU alumna and co-founder of Ladies@WHU, introduced the topic. She addressed both the evolutionary causes of prejudices that served to adapt to the environment at an early age and the ways in which biased actions can be counteracted.
These are not only unconscious bias trainings, which must be organized very professionally to be effective, but also the creation of own realities and standards, which correspond to the values of the organizations. Such new stereotypes, as diverse working groups, the exemplary compatibility of family and career, or equal participation of men and women in decision-making structures, shift the "bias" towards normality. Another very successful measure is the use of behavioural design to reduce the unconscious bias in us. Here, for example, standardised application procedures, in which all applicants are asked the same questions and do not add application photos and names are a good start.
She underlined how much behavioural design can bring about in terms of career opportunities for women with a practical example: the proportion of women in American orchestras has increased by 40 percent, since the musical performance of all applicants was performed exclusively behind curtains and gender bias could no longer be relevant.
In the subsequent panel discussion, the five panel participants (Valerie Kluge (BearingPoint), Dr. Isabel von Korff (Ladies@WHU), Professor Dr. Jochen Menges (Professor of HRM and Leadership at University of Zurich), Dr. Eva Pieper (Vodafone), Stefani Rahmel (BearingPoint)) further examined the topic from the perspective of science and business. The event was moderated by our WHU alumna Sabine Hansen. Among other things, it was emphasized that in-house programs on the topic of diversity must imply actual actions and measures. It was also important to convince the majority of the need for diversity. The importance of language in general and wordings in particular was also stressed.
On January 30, the participants of the Ladies@WHU workshop had the opportunity to find out how "a woman" can be successful with charisma and style on WHU Campus Düsseldorf.
Right in the beginning, the workshop became very interactive. Angela Graf, graduate psychologist, trainer, coach and for several years executive manager at "Deutsche Bank AG", invited the participants to briefly introduce themselves and to elaborate on their motives for attending this workshop. Subsequently mutual feedback about the first impression was given in a speed-dating-round : How do I come across: friendly or rather restrained? Do I seem likeable? How could I improve my appearance?“
It went on with theoretical contents and a vivid discussion of the questions: What exactly is charisma, how can I use it, and which effect can people with charisma achieve? Since charismatic people can attract more attention and are better in enforcing decisions, it is important to know how to improve your impact on others. A woman should reflect her strengths, her personality, and her effect on others, train them purposefully, and use them consciously. But how? Sometimes it's the small things that make the difference. Deliberately searching for eye contact, handling the voice skilfully in regards to tempo and volume, and paying attention to the right posture. However, an important factor is also to have a positive inner attitude.
After a short break, the second part of the workshop started with a focus on the factor of style. With exciting topics such as "Which style type am I?" and "How do I want to appear to others?", it went on with concrete hints and tips to a classy and stylish appearance. Amongst other things, the participants learned which accessories support a stylish appearance and what they should pay attention to regarding the choice of clothes for different occasions. Finally, Angela Graf explained what makes a good style. This was not about external features, but about other aspects. A friendly approach towards EVERYBODY, writing letters and cards instead of e-mails, and the ability for intelligent conversations are only a few examples of a great style.
On September 2nd Désirée Eser Freifrau zu Knyphausen, winemaker and oenologist, welcomed In Praxi members for a wine tasting and cellar chat at the winery Eser in Oestrich-Winkel. She is leading the family business since ten years and in 10th generation. While enjoying a bit of sparkling wine and obtaining an introduction into the production processes, the participants had the opportunity to discover the historic wine cellar. Afterwards the different vineyard locations, the broad assortment, as well as the influence of “Mother-Nature” on the harvest got presented. It was an amusing evening with savory wine and interesting insights into the management of a winery.
On June 8th the Ladies@WHU – The Community of In Praxi Ladies, organized an event with Accenture at the WHU Campus in Düsseldorf. At the beginning of the evening Friederike Stradtmann, Accenture Strategy and Betina Wunderlich, both Managing Directors of Accenture, gave a short introduction of the Accenture study: “Getting to equal: will digitization close the gender cap?”.At the end of the evening there was time for an open discussion and networking with some fingerfood and wine.
On April 1, with the generous support of BCG, we hosted a special workshop on "Personal signature presence, relationship management and communication styles for increasing impact" at Campus Düsseldorf. The wonderful Liz de Wet (lizdewet.com) introduced about 20 ladies to the basic methods of the thinking environment. A thinking environment supports optimum thinking - both alone and in teams. It's mainly about "attention and equality, appreciation and diversity", appreciative listening as a catalyzer for your own thinking. We were also able to experience this ourselves within the scope of many practical exercises. Later we gained insights into our personal "signature presence" and learned how to strengthen one's impact and influence on others. The key to this is based on the three columns of relations, communication and personal well-being. The atmosphere of the workshop was very relaxed, open and inspiring. Within the breaks and during the get-together after the event there were plenty of opportunities for networking with other participants and the representatives from BCG. Thanks a lot to Liz and BCG for arranging this great workshop!
The Düsseldorf campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management – hosted its Ladies@WHU-Event “Mut zu Kindern und Karriere” (A bold move: Raising children while pursuing your career) on January 25, 2017. The focus of the well-attended evening event was on a reading by business journalist Stefanie Bilen. Forty working mothers – including Procter&Gamble’s general manager, founders of start-ups and many others – shared their stories on how they strive to strike a balance between their careers and a fulfilling family life. These insights appear in Stefanie’s book “Mut zu Kindern und Karriere.“
Amid the Ladies@WHU gathering, Stefanie Bilen began by reading from the chapter “Wunschkinder – gibt es den perfekten Zeitpunkt?” (Planned children – is there a perfect time to grow your family?) The chapter examines options women have to reignite their careers after periods of parental leave. The group also looked into the “existential question” as to whether it would be best to go back to work part time or full time. Women who are turning part time positions into full scope careers were introduced during this part of the event.
Subsequently, author Stefanie Bilen and her book interview subject Caroline Gilles as well as WHU alumna Mirja Gerlach (class of 1995) discussed the topic of work and family life balance with the event attendees. A get-together followed this lively session. Finger food and wine were served during this networking opportunity.
“It is possible to strike a balance between raising children and pursuing a career. It’s a fact, not a myth,” Silke Strohe concluded as she recapped the insights gained at the event. “There are many options we can choose from to achieve both. There is not just one perfect solution – there are many different ways to approach it,” observed Isabel von Korff.
On 17th of November, the WHU Ladies Society welcomed Sonja Stuchtey (D 1994) to a fireside chat on WHU’s Campus in Düsseldorf. Besides stories from Sonja’s exciting career path, which she keeps up next to having a family of six kids, the evening was coined by discussions regarding „Gender Diversity“. Sonja introduced the assertion that current developments leading to disunited societies, for instance the success of the AfD, Brexit, Trump etc. have lead to the need for a much more integrated leadership style. Women should see this as an opportunity they can seize as they generally have a greater potential for such a management approach. The participants elaborated a lot on this stimulating assertion, also on how women can reach such a position in order to unfold their full potential. Furthermore, they discussed how „Gender Balance“ could be best addressed at WHU altogether.
On March 15, 2016, 15 women of the Berlin chapter from classes 15 to 26 met to participate in the ladies event with Mrs. Dr. Ruppert. Dr. Ruppert is the owner and CEO of the selaestus Personal Management GmbH and has fostered strong connections to WHU for many years.
Instead of a speech, a lively and advancing discussion around networking and self-portrayal of women in the working environment emerged. The modesty syndrome, salary negotiations and status symbols in combination with real-life examples in everyday work and actionable solutions were discussed. A big thank you to Dr. Ruppert and all participants for this great event.
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, the Ladies@WHU Community of the In Praxi Women got together in Cologne for one of its regular successful breakfast meetings. This marked the first time many of the women attending brought their children to the meeting. As planned, the youngsters spent most of their time in the large play zone of family restaurant "The Kidchen,” so that the mothers had plenty of time and a quiet setting for breakfast and sharing.
On the occasion, Sabine Hansen (EMBA 2002), Managing Director of Delta-Maco, gave us an overview of her exciting career path and among other things, reported on the subject matter of programs aiming at female career advancement in various industries – including those she found helpful in her own career as well as from her perspective as the Managing Director of a leading staff consulting agency / headhunting firm. A lively discussion of part time work in various corporate cultures and how aggressively the subject matter can be pursued followed her presentation. Next year we will offer additional events featuring speakers representing staff from consulting agencies. The host cities will most likely be Berlin and Munich.
Women with successful carriers in the male-dominated world of football continue to be a rarity. Katja Kraus, CEO of Jung von Matt/sports and author of the books Macht – Geschichten von Erfolg und Scheitern and Freundschaft – Geschichten von Nähe und Distanz, has successfully managed to craft a place for herself in this traditionally male domain. She was the first woman to serve on the board of the HSV, and in May 2014 she was the first woman on the advisory board of Adidas. On September 22, 2015 the Ladies Community invited Katja Kraus to a fireside chat; Silke Strohe (D 2001) led the conversation. To start she fascinated us with honest and authentic stories about her experiences on the HSV board and her departure from that role - an event that prompted her to write her first book on the topic of power, success, and failure. In a moment of failure, she was confronted with new questions: What do you do when success disappears? How does one deal with life's failures and low points? And most importantly: how do others manage it when their failure goes public and they are constantly confronted with reminders of the event, even years later? The participants (about 20 women from different graduating classes, students, and WHU staff) left the fireside enriched by her numerous relevant insights and reflections.
During our working life, we are mostly concerned with improving our income through ameliorating our yield from human capital - be it as an employee or as a business owner. What can „the (wo-)man in the street“ learn from institutional investors, if anything at all? With nearly 20 ladies in attendance to the 4th Ladies Networking Breakfast on June 13, 2015 in Frankfurt Katherina Duong-Bernet (D 2007) and Maximiliane Heidenblut (MBA 2013) led the discussion. The discussion focused on other potential sources of income within our personal „wealth generating balance sheet“ with the objective of achieving enhancement and/or diversification of salary income. It was a constructive session with good food, lots of laughs, and hands on investment tips.
„Ladies@WHU Community“ met on April 28th, 2015, in Berlin to talk with Katharina Kurz, founder of the new craft beer brand BRLO. In an enjoyable circle of around 15 WHU alumnae and friends, we met for a beer in the BRLO warehouse (Prenzlauer Berg) and listened to Katharina‘s exciting story of how she founded the brewery. After graduating from EBS, Katharina spent 6 years at Bertelsmann and then completed a doctorate - but then she was inspired by the international craft beer scene to bring her own brew to the German market. Katharina‘s reports of her first steps and the company‘s development to date were impressive - she described, for example, how they found a Brauereimeister as a third co-founder, how they came up with the name BRLO, and why they‘re sticking to it. Also interesting was the story of how they developed the branding: at a party they just happened to meet an international top designer. Despite a lack of interest in the craft beer idea, he made a few draft designs that led to the branding used today. There are now 3 types of BRLO beer on offer in more than 40 restaurants & bars in Berlin; other German cities as well as first international buyers are also coming on board.
On February 21st 2015 seven WHU ladies met for the first Networking Breakfast at XINGs headquarter in Hamburg. Consultants, Entrepreneurs, Team Leads with and without kids were present to discuss women’s networking, construction project management, career paths and much more. The discussion was nourished by Marthas presentation on the sociology of groups and what we can learn for our own networking habits out of that.
On September 09, 2014, the Ladies@WHU Community of In Praxi Women and the Regional District of Düsseldorf had invited interesting personalities to a fireside chat devoted to the topic of success. The guests on hand were: Christoph Metzelder, a former member of the German national soccer team (runner-up in the World Cup and European Championships, among others) and Managing Director of Jung von Matt/sports and founder of the Christoph Metzelder Foundation; Dr. Alfred Witting, Managing Director of the Zentrum für ambulante Medizin Wuppertal, general practitioner, psychotherapist and dedicated extreme marathon runner (among other things, participating five times in a row in the legendary "Marathon des Sables," a 240-km race through the desert of Morocco) and Karsten Zengerling, WHU Diploma 1992, Head of Business Unit Equity Investments and Participations at GLS Bank.
30 women met at the Düsseldorf campus on February 1, 2014 for a workshop by Marion Knaths under this title. The trainer – who had been hired by the "Ladies@WHU Community of In Praxi Women" – was formerly a successful manager with the Otto Group and today is one of Germany's best-known coaches of communication for women. The training included both a small theory package and lots of direct practice, ranging from candidacy remarks delivered before all the attendees, to intonation and contact exercises, to meeting simulations drawn from real professional life, complete with video analysis.
After a brief theoretical introduction, the proceedings quickly turned to the practical aspects. What are "classic" preparation mistakes, where do women tend to fare somewhat less well, and how can one conceal a weak starting position? With lots of experience and exciting cases drawn from soccer and politics, Dirk taught us a bit more about this complex subject. There was enough room for individual questions, and all attendees took an interest in the concluding pointers for the next round of salary negotiations. Naturally, there was plenty of networking during the coffee and lunch breaks, too.
On July 27, 2013 the first Ladies Networking Breakfast took place at the hotel “Torbräu” in Munich. At an outdoor temperature of 36° the ladies of different WHU programs and age groups met in the enjoyable atmosphere of the hotel in order to intensively exchange their opinions and perspectives in regards to social and career topics. Guest speaker Eun-Kyung Park (D 2001) talked about her exciting career since her graduation at WHU. In the course of her narration a lot of aspects came up, which inspired general discussions within the group. Beneficial on this occasion was the wide spectrum of work experience, branches and the different career paths of the WHU ladies. All in all it was an enjoyable meeting in a relaxed atmosphere.
The key topic on the agenda of the Ladies Networking Breakfast held on July 13, 2013 in Frankfurt: “Top 10 Lessons Learnt for Successful Career Women.” More than 30 delegates representing various graduation years as well as students and WHU staff members had accepted the invitation to get to know each other, network and discuss the subject as part of a lively group of insiders. The participants shared and discussed helpful practical experiences on expedient behavior patterns and strategies for the pursuit of career objectives. They covered everything from slogans such as “You will be able to reach your objectives only if you’re authentic,” “Ask for challenges but never fear failure,” or “They do not need to like you, they must respect you,” to the creation of valuable networks to communication tips so that participants were able to take home many new helpful insights.
"What networks do I have, and how can I use them? Is my mentor really my mentor, or is he simply a titleholder?" These and other questions surrounding the two topics of networking and mentoring were discussed at the RK Berlin Ladies Breakfast held on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The attendees on hand came from different years of many of the WHU programs, such as the EMBA, Diploma, Master's and Bachelor's degree programs. Alyna Wnukowsky (D 2001) launched a lively discussion with remarks on her exciting career since completing her studies at WHU. Various perspectives on the subject inspired reflection (and emulation) on the part of attendees. There was overall consensus that a proactive approach – one that is faithful, however, to the individual's own personality – is important to networking.
What can women do to network more effectively? How do we achieve a balance between family and career? During the inaugural Ladies Networking Breakfast hosted on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in Cologne, a large number of alumni representing various graduation years and programs seized the opportunity to share their experiences on these and other “typical women’s issues” in a warm atmosphere. After a group breakfast and introductions, the participants were treated to an interesting program: Tanja zu Waldeck (D 2001), a mother of four and the founder of NetMoms GmbH, which recently became part of the Burda Group, shared her recipe for success. She described the experiences she gained over the past several years while she was confronted with the challenges of establishing a company on the one hand and on the other hand with those of her everyday family life with four children. She revealed her personal solutions to the participants.
Numerous questions came up while the presentation was still underway, which resulted in a lively debate afterwards. One of the key issues was the career advancement competency of women. Self-promotion/marketing and the methods women use to maintain their networks were also covered. The entire morning program was extremely interesting. Besides new insights, the WHU alumni took home a lot of practical advice on the pursuit of their professional goals and the resolution of common problems. For instance, there is a lot of demand for networking opportunities among women; however, the platforms available today are not sufficient to satisfy this need. The attendees expressly welcome the In Praxi initiative. Concrete plans for future events are already underway. New plans aiming at strengthening the women’s networks will be discussed in the weeks to come; for instance mentoring program and the establishment of a women’s community.