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Irma Kasri

Business Development Specialist, Customer and Strategy Office EMEA North

My SAP journey can be summed up as exciting, diverse and with purpose.

Irma Kasri

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

I grew up on the west coast of Sumatra island, Indonesia, in a unique culture where tradition coexists with strict religious rules to bring harmony to our community. We follow the matrilineal tradition where women and man have equally important roles, and young people are encouraged to travel to learn about life. My parents were always supportive of my extracurricular activities and allowed me to pursue whatever I desired, even from an early age. I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, traveled across Indonesia for conferences and even had opportunities to join international student festivals in Norway and Turkey. I will forever be grateful for my parents, because seeing the world and meeting new people have taught me enduring lessons of respect and empathy to appreciate life wherever I am in the world.

My first visit to Germany was for an internship. This was a few years after the 9/11 tragedy, an event that changes people’s perspectives on tolerance and respect. I read about several stereotypes before coming to this country, and wondered how I could survive while staying true to my identity. Being a minority posed new challenges: to grapple with my perspectives and understand the viewpoints of others. Living a year in Germany proved that those stereotypes were not true and I met many wonderful people during my stay. I also gained confidence to embrace my uniqueness and its advantages, and realized I have control to navigate who I am and what I will become.

I returned to Germany for study in 2012 and sought a working student position at an international company. But not just any company. I wanted to work for an organization that values its people, has a working culture that supports my values, and has a purpose to create a better world. It may sound naïve but if we believe in something, it will eventually become a reality, right?

A friend once said, if you ever work at SAP, you can work anywhere and everywhere in the world. Furthermore, SAP offers a variety of opportunities for international students such as myself. This was my impetus to apply. I received a couple of rejections along the way, but determination prevailed and I was eventually accepted. September 2012 marked the beginning of my SAP journey in the Project Management Office for the HR EMEA/MEE region, where I got to witness SAP’s commitment to putting people first and how seriously the company values its employees’ well-being.

Since April 2018, I am in a new role as Business Development Specialist for the Customer and Strategy Office (CSO), EMEA North. Here, I have gained insights into how we are shaping our innovation and technology, not only for our customers but also for a better community. At the CSO, I am part of a team that passionately advocates customer expectations to enhance the end-to-end customer experience. Our job is to bridge strategy and execution by working as an incubator for new business areas to accelerate adoption in the EMEA region. I am supported by a truly international team whose members come from India, Netherland, Germany, Brazil, France, Finland, Denmark and Indonesia. It is an exciting place to be and I hope to elevate this journey to become what I want in the future.

There are many things that motivate and inspire me at SAP. Firstly, the opportunity to support and give back to the community. I have joined several volunteering events including our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)-led month of service initiative, and 1 Billion Lives where I have met many passionate SAP colleagues who share ideas on how we can contribute to society and change the world through our expertise. I have also been active at Culture@SAP where we promote diversity of cultures through events such as the annual Culture Day and Southeast Asian Day at our headquarters in Walldorf. True to my friend’s sentiment, I also appreciate how flexible SAP is. I can choose to work at my office desk, from my living room or from my hometown in Indonesia. It does not matter where you are if you put consistent effort into your work.

Thirdly, SAP’s commitment to support cancer and disease research is truly inspiring. Coming from a family of a survivor – my niece was 14-months-old when she got cancer – as well as having lost my youngest brother to a rare blood disease, I am keen to see how technology can help in our fight to save lives. I trust SAP will innovate and bring us closer to a cure.

My SAP journey can be summed up as exciting, diverse and with purpose. It is only possible because SAP appreciates everything that I bring and supports me to become everything I want. The Chinese philosopher LaoTzu said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I took my single step at SAP back in 2012 and I am taking a new step every day. My wish is that you will take your first step and begin your journey with SAP.

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