Claudia on a fair working world and the benefits of diversity
As Diversity & Cultural Development Manager at SMA, Claudia Jakob is committed to bringing the strengths of our diverse society into the workplace. In this interview, she reveals how her career has changed over the years and why diversity is so important for the company’s success.
What is your career at SMA like?
I have been with SMA since 2006. I started in Order Management and took over the development and management of the team for international order processing the following year. At the same time, I built up the Customs and Export Control department and took full responsibility for it in 2011, because I was very interested in the subject. After my parental leave and an internal restructuring, I was allowed to build up a new team on the topic of invoicing in 2017 and lead it until spring 2022.
Why did you want to change your field of work?
Through my role as a Leadership Ambassador, I grew interested in strategic culture-based work. The Diversity Management job posting was then the sign for me to take the step of change. I see the departure from my leadership position as a personal step forward, as I can now work beyond the boundaries of my team for the entire company.
I was attracted by the prospect of making a difference for people and standing up for a working environment that recognizes and values people in their individuality. The change from the operational to the strategic, from numbers and processes to working for and with people gives me great pleasure.
The holistic approach to diversity encompasses not only gender diversity but also dimensions such as interculturality, sexual orientation and age, and is thus aimed at all people in their individual circumstances. When the world of work changes, society changes as well: Employees are multipliers – they go home and bring what they have experienced back with them to their private environment.
With diversity management, I can contribute to the success of SMA on an important level. There are numerous studies that prove this: Those who succeed in accepting, valuing and promoting employees in their diversity create a sustainable competitive advantage for themselves. Thus, diversity management pays off in our goal of shaping the energy world of the future.
What advice would you like to give women for their careers?
Be brave and be bold! Be aware of your strengths and show who you are! Ask yourself, what is my heart beating for, what would I like to do? Where can and would I like to be effective? Cultivate professional and private networks – connect with people who support you in your goals or on your way or who you can support.
My wish is that we women become more self-confident, courageously pursue our values and goals, and empower each other in the process.
What makes the corporate culture at SMA so special?
The corporate culture has inspired me from day one. It is characterized by openness, collaboration and a healthy culture of mistakes. We are on a first-name basis throughout the company and it is always easy to strike up a conversation. All SMA employees are always friendly and open-minded, and it’s always a pleasure to meet other great colleagues. We offer a wide range of learning opportunities and encourage further training. Flexibility and trust create a working environment in which professional and private commitments are easily compatible.
I applied to SMA for two reasons: Because I was very interested in the topic of regenerative energies and because SMA advertised its corporate culture so aggressively. After my dual studies in a very conservative-hierarchical family company, the overall package at SMA convinced me: A great working environment with trust-based working hours, flexitime, a fair salary and in an industry that does something good for the environment. SMA is still able to convince with this today.
Thanks for the interview, Claudia.
Do you want to actively shape the energy supply of the future? Then SMA is the right place for you. Take a look at our job offers and find out about your opportunities and benefits at SMA!
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