Part of the new normal
Of course, the finance industry - and many global sectors - have come a long way since then. But when Barbara left that world behind and joined Zühlke, the culture felt different - because it was different. As she walked through the doors on her first day, she became the first woman in her unit’s management team. But to her satisfaction, that was a fact that didn't seem to be of interest to anybody.
From the beginning onwards, she felt like all that mattered was her personality. Her skills, her experiences, her leadership qualities—but never her gender. “It was refreshing,” she says. “Although I found myself in a still rather male-dominated environment, me being a woman and a female leader simply didn't seem to be relevant to anybody. Instead, I was warmly welcomed into the open-minded culture of Zühlke. I quickly realized that I was never hired as a female leader. I was brought in as the right person for the job, not because of or despite my gender - and so will future joiners.”
The diversity conversation seems to be changing for the better in business and society. And as an international innovation service provider that has had versatile, interdisciplinary teams for decades, Zühlke has always understood that what matters most are skills and personalities that match its open learning culture and values.
“In that sense, I do not feel like a role model here,” Barbara notes, “I feel like a part of the new normal in leadership and management at Zühlke. And in that same spirit, I can do what I do best —empowering talented people to work in exciting innovation projects with exciting technologies. I support my team by guiding them towards what needs to be done, rather than micromanaging how they do it. They’re the experts and I see myself as the coach. It’s hugely rewarding to see people grow. When I get feedback that I have inspired someone to try something new, and left some footprints in their life in a positive manner, that’s what makes me really happy.”