Women's Careers at Sartorius
At Sartorius, the percentage of women in management positions has already reached 30%, and the trend is rising. Three power women at Sartorius report on their work and provide career tips.
Jennifer Drucker, Head of Marketing & Communications, Bioprocess Solutions, North America
Jennifer Drucker leads a seven-member team of creative minds. In the interview, she speaks about her approach to creative work, what helped her find her style as a leader and what is critical for a good work‑life balance.
Jennifer, please tell us about your current role at Sartorius. What do you like best about it?
Together with my team, we execute the many tactics required to deliver our over-arching marketing strategy to our customers. Among these tactics are online assets such as videos, animations, illustrations and offline assets like photography, print advertising and collateral.
I really enjoy solving problems and working within teams to find simple and elegant solutions. Many times, in the beginning, challenges seem complicated and overwhelming, but as you keep bouncing ideas off of other people, the solution becomes clearer until you find the best result benefitting the people, the product and the organization.
You have held leadership positions for over 15 years. From your experience, how do you climb the career ladder and become a good manager?
Find a mentor. Someone whom you admire both professionally and personally, and then learn as much as you can from them. Great leaders love to teach, and people who aspire to be great leaders love to learn. It benefits both parties and, ultimately, the company they work for.
This approach worked for me. Over the years, I have met many people who inspired me and whom I emulated. In my early career, I particularly remember one manager who taught me how important it is to respect people, listen to them and to give them a sense of belonging.
This is not about age. No matter how old you are or how many years of experience you have, you can always learn from each other. It could be from a manager, but you can also learn from your peers or even from more junior colleagues. I can see that within my own team. I feel like I am standing next to the people, not above them. This helps me see things from their perspectives and through this I learn more about them, about the way they work and even about myself every day.
Perhaps one more personal tip: Develop a morning routine and spend some quiet time alone before work begins. That’s exactly what I do. I go to the gym most mornings followed by a cup of tea or cappuccino and spend time alone before starting with my work. This time allows me to contemplate the day and organize my thoughts so I can face it with a positive outlook and address any challenges it may present.
You not only lead a successful career, but you also have a family. How do you manage to keep both in balance?
It’s challenging. I have three children and, with the exception of taking a couple of years off when my third child was born, I have always had a career. When they are younger, it is more demanding, but you can definitely do it! I was lucky to have great family support and an early understanding that you need to create a work-life balance that doesn't leave you exhausted. Choosing to work for a company like Sartorius that understands the challenges that come with balancing this is critical. Sartorius provides a very flexible working environment, which helps to navigate through daily life struggles. It is the best company I have worked for– I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
Yi Lam, Head of Training for China
At Sartorius China, 43 percent of management positions are in the hands of women. Yi Lam, Head of Training for China, is one on them. In this interview, she reveals why she finds her job rewarding and how women can find their way in a corporate environment.
Yi, your job is all about learning and professional growth. Please tell us about your own growth at Sartorius and your responsibilities today.
I joined Sartorius in Shanghai seven years ago as a training director for this site. The dynamic development of the company gave me the chance to gradually expand my responsibilities within China as it is one of the fastest growing regions. In my role as Head of Training for China, together with my team, I am mainly responsible for organizing and providing technical training to both internal staff and customers.
In the past few years, we have successfully established a training program that includes catalogs of customer training courses and internal training courses. We have also developed online tools for application, tracking and record-keeping to simplify the process.
Specifically for our employees, together with external coaches, we now also offer training in soft skills such as courses in selling techniques, presentation skills and leadership training. Given the rapid expansion of our staff, we design and conduct welcome workshops several times a year to onboard new hires.
What makes your job worthwhile from your perspective?
I travel with our sales representatives to see them apply the skills they’ve learned in our training courses to better understand and support the customers. I also enjoy seeing young leaders make a smooth transition from individual contributors to people managers who use the leadership skills they obtained by attending our courses. That’s very rewarding.
When you train people, you get instant feedback on how good a job you are doing. Audience response will tell you how successful your training course is. Also, training is never boring even when you hold the same course over and over again because the audience will teach you something new every time. As a trainer, you learn as much as the trainees themselves since they have many different perspectives and stories to share.
You have been working at big companies for nearly twenty years. In your experience, what does it take as a woman to succeed in a corporate environment?
In China, it is common for women to hold very powerful positions in the corporate environment. What is important are your skills, knowledge, passion for work, and leadership capabilities. My advice for the ladies out there: You have to be confident about who you are – and never use gender as a barrier or an excuse for not achieving what you want. Just go for it.
Of course, there is always the question how to manage work and family. My career requires me to travel frequently, so it was important to me to obtain my family’s support and understanding first before I made the commitment to join Sartorius. And when I spend time at home with my family, I try not to be distracted by work but to focus solely on my private life.