Hi, I am Leo
I grew up in a village between Potsdam and Berlin, Germany. Since I lived there during most of my study time at the University of Potsdam, I actively looked for student jobs close to my home. Back in 2017, the SAP Innovation Center Potsdam (ICP) not only fulfilled that requirement but also offered a promising opportunity to gain business experience. Since then, I have worked in two different teams at the ICP and then started full time in Business Process Intelligence (BPI) in late 2020.
I now live in Berlin and whilst I really miss working from the office and spending time with my colleagues during the pandemic, I think that SAP is doing a great job in enabling employees to best work from home.
After my very first weeks at SAP, I thought: “The bar for future jobs will be very high after THIS.” The atmosphere, the people, the culture and working behaviours – everything impressed me.
I started as a working student, gained experiences in different teams, and finally had the chance to start fulltime in a team that literally grew together with me. When I joined that team as a student in 2019 there were only four fulltime people and one working student – including me in. There are now roughly 100 of us!
I joined the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam in 2017 as a Business Development working student in a team that was building tools and dashboards to help SAP’s customers manage unexpected incidents that occur across the enterprise. I still remember my first in-person interview for that position. The manager of the team and another colleague introduced me to the product they are working on. They were so convinced and passionate about what they are doing that I immediately shared that excitement without even knowing whether I will actually get the position. Luckily, I received the confirmation the same day. It was this moment when I realized how powerful and motivating it can be when the people you work with are thriving from what they are doing, see purpose in it, and are able to excite others with their vision and eventually form a very driven team. I spent almost two years in that team, had two different managers in that time, and experienced ups and downs together with that team – from a product shut down only a couple of months after the official launch, to a topic exploration and research phase, up to a completely new line of business focus within the team. At the beginning of 2019 I joined the team I am part of now, starting to work full time in October 2020.
The last one and a half years have been an amazing journey. It’s been incredible to see the team growing, the product developing, and processes forming. And I am right in the middle of it, experiencing it first-hand, facing challenges with my team members, finding solutions to best cope with these challenges, celebrating successes but also overcoming setbacks all together, shaping structures and processes along the way and eventually being reminded every day that every team starts at some point. Nothing is set in stone from the beginning. Working behaviours and best practices have to be figured out along the way. And that’s exactly what makes it dynamic. That’s what makes it exciting. That’s what makes it an adventure. And I am proud and thankful to be part of this journey.
I do not have a typical work-day. And today is probably different to what it would have been when working from the office was still normal. However, working from home also brought some structure. For example, our team set up an optional daily “check-in” slots for a couple of minutes, dedicated to non-work-related topics. As if you would quickly grab a coffee in the office together, having a quick chat on your way back about a crazy neighbour, funny weekend stories, or a silly moment with a pet or family member. I also always have a daily stand-up meeting with my colleagues responsible for customer engagements in a (virtual) meeting room to discuss recent statuses, updates, and most urgent tasks. This really helps to prioritizethe day and also to be on the same page all the time even though we currently don’t have the chance to quickly go past someone’s desk to share the latest information.Afternoons always looks different. Sometimes alignment meetings are necessary, other times we jointly brainstorm or work on concepts, processes, or strategy topics. Some days internal content or customer meetings need to be prepared; other days presentations need to be held and customer conversations done. There is a variety of how potential workdays could look. However, I always try to make sure, to either take a walk in the morning before work or do a home workout in the evening after a full day.
Together with my BPI colleagues, I am working on various customer related topics. I am responsible to ensure that our customers are successful with our product and achieve their desired goals. This also includes streamlined communication between the more customer focused part of the team and the product team. Additionally, since we are a very young team with regards to its maturity level, many processes still need to be shaped. In our team, we are thus also working on improving and advancing these processes, evaluating concepts and program strategies, as well as aligning all kinds of customer engagements. BPI is a completely new business unit with people from different geographies, years of work experience, domain expertise – where everyone shares the same values around delivering customer success. I am super excited to see, how we will learn from each other, how experience on the one hand, and various perspectives on the other hand will bring us forward and how it will shape a common culture, a common vision, and common goals.
In a diverse team you learn to interact and communicate with all different kinds of people. Whatever it is –the language, the personality, cultural traditions and working behaviours, or just the way people approach things. You learn to listen more carefully and also learn to ask questions if something remains unclear. You observe different personality types, and closely related, you quickly learn that every colleague is unique. And hence, every single person potentially needs to be approached differently. But most importantly, you learn from each other each and every day.
SAP has a very open culture. What I appreciate a lot is that even if you talk to people from higher management levels, people are very supportive. Also, SAP puts a lot of effort into organizing events - may it be on team level, on level of the organizational unit, or company-wide – which on the one hand ensures that you get to know your colleagues better and on the other hand adds some variety to daily work activities. It somewhat comprises of knowledge transfer, networking, but also fun at the workplace by being balanced and having conversations with various people about topics that extend one’s daily work.
One of the reasons why it has been so easy to get started at the Innovation Center in Potsdam is that I am a nature lover. The view on the lake, going for a walk with colleagues in the unch break, the chance to go for a run through the park after work – work-life balance is definitely possible there. Luckily Berlin and Potsdam are so close to each other.
If money didn’t play a role, and I could choose any travel location, I’d probably need to make a decision between either visiting all national parks in the United States on a road trip or jumping from one nature reserve in Africa to the next to help and support them preserving wildlife and biodiversity. Although completely different in their purpose, both options have long been in my head. Let’s see which parts of these ideas will become reality!