Anyone who comes to Strichpunkt in our new Berlin office in Rummelsburger Bucht can't get past her and her dog Swift (and we mean that more than positively!): Office Manager Caro Gernemann.
After completing her A-levels with a specialisation in art and design, the trained commercial and design assistant returned to her roots, so to speak, at Strichpunkt at the beginning of 2021 after many years in retail at the H&M Group. She has long since turned her back on the Ruhr region, and it wasn't just her great passion for music that drew her to Berlin. But that's exactly what she pursues in the Berlin pub choir (Berliner Kneipenchor) - the perfect balance to her job. Her highlight? The performance with Herbert Grönemeyer at the Berlin Waldbühne in front of 22,000 people. We at Strichpunkt very much hope to soon be able to enjoy a small concert as well ;-)
In the Berlin office, she actively and wholeheartedly promotes our #DoBetter initiative and supports her colleagues with her calm and positive manner on a wide range of topics.
In the Talking to... interview, we chatted with Caro about working independently, the Strichpunkt agency culture, stage fright and more. Let's go!
SP: Caro, from retail to working in a design agency - was it a culture shock? What do you never want to miss again, and what do you perhaps even miss?
Phew...miss...well, not really much. It was quite an exhausting job that pushed me to the limits physically and mentally. Haha! Maybe I miss being influenced by the latest fashion trends or of course the 25% staff discount. But actually, even back then I liked the whole back office area with planning, organisation and management the best. I really got into PEP (personnel deployment plans) and holiday planning. What I definitely don't miss: Getting up at 4:45 a.m.!
SP: You play a key role in the agency at the Berlin office (when we're not all in our home offices due to Corona) - what do you understand by a good agency culture, and how does the SP #DoBetter initiative affect your role?
I think for me, it's the people who make up a good agency culture. Being there for each other, listening to each other and having a little (or a lot) of empathy is crucial for me. A culture should be open, honest and straightforward. I am a fan of directly addressing things that bother me, but also of giving positive feedback. Tell your colleagues how much you appreciate their work. I am lucky to have great and appreciative colleagues who help each other and with whom I enjoy working. I feel the same way about sustainability and the #DoBetter initiative. Here I work together with people who care about the topic as much as I do. For my part in office management, I can choose the sustainable option for all decisions. It is important to make a difference, even if it is "only" to buy sustainable toilet paper ;)
SP: Your fellow Office Managers are based in Stuttgart. How do you exchange information and organise yourselves?
Like everyone at SP, we use Slack, Google Meet and emails. I actually talk to my colleagues who are responsible for Office Management in STR on a daily basis. Since many of our tasks overlap, it makes sense to go through them together and plan and organise the coming days. Office Management also works more closely with the HR, Finance and Purchasing teams. We also have our regular video conferences to monitor progress and tasks at both locations.
SP: You are part of the "Berliner Kneipenchor", what is your recommendation against stage fright?
I'm actually always very excited before our gigs. The smaller the venue, the bigger the excitement. As stupid as it sounds, alcohol is the only thing that helps me! A beer beforehand and my tension drops. But I mean, we're called "Berliner Kneipenchor", so it would be strange if I didn't drink a beer, wouldn't it?
But if we're talking about stage fright in a working environment, I would recommend meditation or breathing exercises.
SP: What does courage mean to you personally?
For me, courage means: speaking up when I don't like something! Standing up for my opinion and position, even if others don't like it. But also to reflect, to accept fears and to admit mistakes.
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