Faces, stories, teams and talents

Interview with Verena Behlen
  • Verena Behlen
  • assistant to the Chief Information Officer of the FIEGE Group IT
  • has been working at FIEGE system headquarters since 2012

MRS BEHLEN, DID YOU START OUT HERE IN YOUR CURRENT POSITION?

No, I started as an assistant to the chairman in 2012. At the time, the chairman was under contract and left the company in 2015.  He was not a member of the Fiege family. After that, I joined the head of IT of the FIEGE Group, the CIO.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU JOINED FIEGE?

Something completely different. As a trained travel management assistant, I used to work in tourism.

WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE?

My current boss approached me back then. His assistant at the time had given notice and he knew that I wanted to change my job. He offered the position to me.

ANY REGRETS?

None whatsoever!

YOU ARE ABOUT TO GO ON MATERNITY LEAVE, CORRECT?

Yes, very much so. Probably for a year and after that I will be returning part-time.

ARE YOU SURE ABOUT WANTING TO RETURN?

Yes, definitely!

ONE YEAR IS NOT THE MAXIMUM TIME AVAILABLE. WILL YOU BE SHARING THE PARENTAL LEAVE WITH YOUR PARTNER?

It is possible to take three years of parental leave in total. I will be taking one year. My partner, who also works here at FIEGE, will take one month of paternal leave at the beginning and most likely another month towards the end.

IF ANYONE WERE TO ASK YOU WHETHER THEY SHOULD APPLY FOR A JOB WITH FIEGE, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

There are many events for employees even outside of work. We had the big FIEGE Soccer Cup this year, which was held in Krakow. Football teams from all areas of FIEGE faced off at this big-time tournament.

KRAKOW IN POLAND? SO HOW MANY PARTICIPATED?

I am not quite sure how many participated. In any case, over 1,000 employees were there. As far as I know, it was FIEGE’s biggest-ever event to date, which culminated in a huge party at the Krakow football stadium. It was so much fun. Like a huge school trip, because even the fans of the teams had come to show their support.

AND THERE IS ALSO A CHRISTMAS PARTY, YES?

Sure, a big Christmas party is held each year. On top of that, the different floors routinely stage individual events. One floor here at the building is always in charge of these after-work events. In summer, we had set up a large screen for a watch party during the football World Cup. Next on the agenda is the “winners’ BBQ” for the team from system headquarters in Krakow that won the tournament. The Executive Board will donate everything for an evening BBQ.

IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE FIEGE USING ONE CHARACTERISTIC, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

Family-like.

WHY IS FIEGE A GOOD MATCH FOR YOU?

Personally, I greatly value good social interaction. I like being on good terms with colleagues and for the interaction to be friendly. And that is the case here. Everyone is appreciated.

Working at FIEGE is simply fun.

IF EVER YOU NEED MOTIVATION FROM OUTSIDE, WHO IS THERE TO SUPPORT YOU HERE AT FIEGE? YOUR COLLEAGUES?

Definitely the people working at FIEGE. My boss is nothing short of amazing. I handle his entire organisation and free him as best as possible. I plan his schedule and organise his business trips. If I didn’t do my job well, he couldn’t focus on his. With all of this, he is very humane, fair and nice to work with.

YOU ORGANISE HIS AGENDA. WHAT DOES YOUR DAY LOOK LIKE OTHERWISE?

My boss travels a lot. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Mostly in Europe, but also worldwide. So everything has to run like clockwork. Where is he when? Who is he meeting with? Which flight? How does he get to the airport or the next appointment? Do the times work out? Does the geography of the appointments work? All of that lies in my hands.

WHEN HANDLING THESE DUTIES, YOU ARE BOUND TO DRAW ON YOUR EXPERIENCE FROM THE TOURISM SEGMENT. WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE?

An air hostess.

SO TRAVELLING HAS ALWAYS BEEN YOUR THING?

My family travelled a lot. As a little girl my wish was to become an air hostess. After I finished my training as a travel agent, I decided to fulfil that wish.

FOR HOW LONG?

One year only. It was amazing to have made this experience. But in the long run, it is not for me.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF FROM WORK?

I meet with friends. Or I go shopping in town, meet with friends for dinner or for a glass of wine or for a chat, I simply enjoy a nice exchange.

IS THERE A BOOK ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?

Yes, very much so. Currently it is a book on pregnancy.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHY SHOULD ANYONE JOIN FIEGE?

Working at FIEGE is simply fun. I love coming to work every day. Naturally, I am looking forward to when I go on maternity leave – to a new and exciting chapter. Yet on the other hand, I am a little sad about leaving the company for a year and not going to work every day. I keep saying to my colleagues: “Working at FIEGE means being with friends every day.”

AND GOING ON MATERNITY LEAVE FOR ONE YEAR ONLY IS A SIGN THAT YOU ENJOY WORKING HERE?

Yes, I would most definitely want to keep my job. One year is easy to handle. After that I will be returning part-time.