Ines, what’s your position at GEHE?
I am the Head of the Sales Support Team. We do everything that supports our sales representatives and customers. The team has around 18 members.
Can you describe your career path so far and what motivated you to take the steps you did?
I completed a Master of Science in Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After that I decided I didn’t want to work in a laboratory anymore – I wanted to work with people. So, I entered GEHE’s training programme. That gave me insights into logistics, procurement, sales, HR, controlling, all areas. I was not a business person at that point, and I built a great network.
I then moved into sales support as a project manager and worked on a big project, which gave me the possibility to present myself to the Board. Afterwards, I was offered the opportunity to be the assistant to the Management Board sales and marketing member and got to build up a team. When McKesson announced it would acquire Celesio in 2013, I was put in charge of the sales support team, and we had to work out the new Sarbanes-Oxley processes. That was a huge, two-year project. At the end I was promoted to representative with power of attorney as well as being the head of the department.
I like working on these big, demanding projects and that’s probably why I do them well. I worked hard, always wanted to take on more responsibility and was picked.
What have been the major decision criteria for your career steps?
One decision point was to take the assistant to the board member position. He became a mentor. Another was to take part in GEHE leadership development programme. It was a chance to grow personally and build a network. I also decided to start an MBA in 2014, which I’ll finish at the end of May. That allowed me to learn the basics of business administration that I didn’t have from my first degree.
Another decision criterion was to follow my interests. It doesn’t matter in which area you work in as long as the task is challenging, interesting, and you have a good team.Ines Scholl
Any surprising change moments in your career?
My daughter was born in 2015. My boss promoted me when I was pregnant, and my career is still supported. I work 30 hours a week now. It’s not normal to have this kind of support in a company, and I am very thankful for that.
What is most interesting if you look back at your own career?
The saying “When one door closes, another one opens” is totally true. Sometime you have to wait a little – but there will always be a new path. I was skeptical earlier!
In your opinion, what are the criteria for a successful career?
It won’t work without hard work. Career is not something you can do alone. You need a good team, a mentor and a good boss. You need to be open for change and improvement.
Did you plan your career path or did you follow opportunity?
I never planned my career in detail, but I always wanted to achieve something. Early on I had the chance to work on huge projects. Being the project lead was a great opportunity to attract attention to my work and person.
To what extent do you think a career can be planned?
For women who want to have family it’s difficult to plan step-by-step, so for me it was never an option. I knew I wanted to be a leader but I did not plan exactly how it would happen.
What’s next for you professionally?
At 32 I have achieved a senior position, which is great and I am thankful to my supporters. Soon I will finish my MBA degree. So far I have not made further plans. I have a challenging and diversified job but look forward to what opportunities lay ahead.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is starting a career at Celesio?
Don’t try to plan a career too carefully. Have a goal that you want to achieve but then be open to opportunities. Know when it’s time to wait. Learn from senior managers, get feedback from them and work with it.
What did you dream about becoming when you were a child?
A dolphin trainer, and later a lawyer.
It's Sunday afternoon. Where would we find you?
In the swimming pool, in the gym supporting my old handball team or on the playground with my family.