I believe that not everyone has to become a “hardcore techie” but I would encourage women to be keen, curious and eager to discover new technology that might be outside of their comfort zone!
Katrin Grunwald is the founder of The Globe Team, a consultancy for team-and organizational development. With her interactive online coaching programme she supports first-time leaders in a successful start in their first leadership role. In her podcast “Destination Leadership”, she interviews inspiring leaders worldwide.
In a nutshell, tell us a bit about your job, and what role technology plays in it?
As consultant for team and organisational development, I support international teams in working better together and first-time leaders in creating a successful start with their teams. In this area of leadership development, I mainly have worked offline through team development workshops and leadership coachings. This has changed substantially in recent times as technology enables me to support clients worldwide e.g. through an interactive online coaching programme I have set up for first-time leaders. I have seen the impact technologies like video conferencing and online community platforms make in bringing also a rather “traditional” field like leadership development into the digital age!
Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?
Having been keen on supporting people to improve their lives already early on in my life as peer mediator in high school, I started working in the HR department of Airbus following my studies of BSc Psychology and an MSc in Human Resource Management at the LSE. During the 8 years of my corporate career, I worked in different European countries and with each new position, new international responsibilities came.
One of my most eye-opening jobs at Airbus was to work as an internal “team development consultant” within the Airbus Leadership University. Supporting teams in finding their own solutions in how they can work more effectively together and helping them solve their conflicts was what brought me back to my motivation to support people in improving their (working) lives. My drive to work with a broad variety of clients also from outside the private sector, namely in civil society, politics and international organisations is what lead me to start my own consulting company “The Globe Team” in 2018. The idea to combine leadership development and technology in the form of an online coaching programme, was born also in 2018 when I realized the potential of offering my experience and knowledge in team development to people open to get learn at the beginning of their leadership careers.
I have seen the impact technologies like video conferencing and online community platforms make in bringing also a rather “traditional” field like leadership development into the digital age!
What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
My activities have to do with connecting people to each other and enabling them to learn. Therefore it might seem simple compared to high tech topics like AI, blockchain and IOT, but for my work, the establishment of well-working videoconferencing technology is essential in creating proximity and trust. Do you remember days of a videoconference when the first 10 minutes of nearly every meeting you could hear sentences like “I can see you, but not hear you” or “Is there anyone actually already there”? Well-working videoconferencing systems like Zoom have enabled me to work in trustful virtual coaching settings, making my clients feel connected rather than thousands of kilometres apart.
My vision is to one day run also team development workshops with teams spread across the globe with technology that makes team members feel like they are actually in one room together – brainstorming on the same flip-charts with holograms would be amazing!
When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?
I think of wonderful opportunities for self-development! I believe that not everyone has to become a “hardcore techie” but I would encourage women to be keen, curious and eager to discover new technology that might be outside of their comfort zone! This could be from doing a coding course in your free time all the way to just proactively thinking: in my current activities, where can technology be of help? How can I make use of technology to have a better experience for my clients? In which tasks can automation make sense, so I have more time for other tasks which I really enjoy doing?
Firstly, I believe it’s important for women to know what kind of jobs are out there in the tech industry.
We always hear there are not enough women working in tech. What needs to happen to change that?
I think it absolutely makes sense to encourage more women to dare to enter the tech world!
Firstly, I believe it’s important for women to know what kind of jobs are out there in the tech industry – having career fairs like the herCAREER in Munich are a great example of companies showing which job opportunities await women in tech.
Secondly, another topic could be to see role models. Having with Jennifer Morgan at SAP the first female Co-CEO of a DAX company is a fantastic sign for also women making it to the top in the tech world.
And thirdly, I think it’s important to get connected with other women in tech. Joining networks like Global Digital Women enables women to see and interact with other women in the digital world. Of course there are also great support programmes for female founders like the SAP Next-Gen Advisors programme where I participated this year that support especially women in tech start-ups.
I think it’s important to get connected with other women in tech.
Who are your tech influencers and why?
One of my tech influencers works in the area of blockchain, my friend Katharina Gehra. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Immutable Insight, a company providing block chain analytics. A true role model, Katharina has the ability to explain complex tech topics such as the blockchain in a simple way understandable for everyone. Not only does this involve tech topics merely, but often the link between tech and societal topics where Katharina shares her views on the impact of facebook’s Libra on banking and societies or is part of a team organizing discussions on the energy consumption of the bitcoin blockchain.
What has been the greatest piece of advice you have received in your career so far?
Three years ago I read a very impactful sentence in a book (if this counts as career advice ☺) on the importance of taking your dreams and your vision seriously! The author Sabine Asgodom wrote: “Know your dreams, take them seriously and that will be like a GPS that helps you to take the right decisions. This will lead you to actually fulfilling your dreams.” This gave me the encouragement to set up my own company to come closer to my dream of one day facilitating a team development workshop at the UN in New York!
Know your dreams, take them seriously and that will be like a GPS that helps you to take the right decisions. This will lead you to actually fulfilling your dreams.
If you could host a dinner party with 3 influential people in tech, who would you invite and why?
Grazia Vittadini – the CTO of Airbus, more precisely the first female CTO! I have seen Grazia speak at different events and was impressed by her inspiring style while I was still at Airbus but never had a longer personal exchange with her on technology, therefore she would be the first guest at my dinner party.
Satya Nadella – the CEO of Microsoft who in my perception turned the image of Microsoft around from being “just” a company producing technology that everyone uses in their daily lives to being seen as a cool company to work for based on their technology, innovative products and working culture. I would be keen to hear to hear his ideas on how technology can be used to even further connect people around the world.
Bernhard Kowatsch the Head of the Innovation Accelerator at the United Nations World Food Programme Accelerator in Munich. I like the combination of technology and sustainable impact by the WFP Accelerator’s mission is to end global hunger, also through the use of modern technologies.
I think that these three guests at my dinner party would make an interesting conversation especially on the use of technology and its impact on societies around the world!
Katrin Grunwald is the founder of The Globe Team, a consultancy for team-and organizational development. With her interactive online coaching programme she supports first-time leaders in a successful start in their first leadership role. In her podcast “Destination Leadership”, she interviews inspiring leaders worldwide. More information on www.the-globe-team.com