"I always wanted to work for a company with which I could identify"
Marisa Braun-Besser is Vision Expert in the Corporate Office
Marisa, you are originally from Berlin. What do you think are the biggest differences between Essen and Berlin? What do you like – what don't you like?
I was in fact born in Berlin and grew up in the Neukölln district so I won’t deny that I still have a Berlin accent (laughs). What Berlin and the Ruhrpott have in common is that people are very direct. I think this is a good thing since at least you know where you stand quite quickly. The biggest difference between the two is that the people in the Ruhrpott are much more open. You go to the bakery and can just start chatting. In Berlin it's different, always so typical big city. Much more stress and daily life is much more hectic. Everyone is "busy" running around, and no one has time for anything.
Does E.ON feel as international as Berlin?
Hmmm, I have to admit that I would not have moved to Essen if it wasn’t for E.ON. But E.ON as a company in fact reminds me of Berlin: E.ON is very international, especially for a German Dax 30 company. And Berlin may be a bit more extreme and a little crazier, but whether one always needs this craziness, is another question.
Tell us a little bit about yourself - apart from Berlin. Who are you?
I have a very close relationship with my father; my mother has already passed away. I think what distinguishes me are my very good and long friendships. I moved around a lot in my life, lived in different cities, lived abroad, but I was able to make new friends at every stage of my life – friends who are still by my side today. I am also a very open and direct person and like to make a lot of jokes.
How did you get to E.ON?
Just a brief explanation on why I joined E.ON. I have a bachelor's and master's degree in business administration with a focus on human resources. I realized relatively early on that I would like to do a trainee program. When I was doing my master's in Edinburgh, Scotland, I researched online to find out what programs were available on the market. I have a relatively stable compass of values – that's what I’d call it. And that’s why it has always been very important to me to find an employer with whom I can identify, and especially with the product. A lipstick company, for example, would not have been a match for me. Then I found E.ON. The opportunity to be able to work for a renewable energies company that is pushing sustainability further and offering green solutions really attracted me, and so I applied for the trainee program with a focus on international HR. And was accepted. Thank God!
Which experiences at E.ON have been most important to you so far?
What I find really cool about E.ON and what I really appreciate: E.ON is truly international. I would never have thought so before! When an international colleague is present at a meeting, there is no discussion about which language will be spoken. As soon as a colleague who doesn't speak German is present, we'll switch to English without thinking twice.
For those who are not yet working for E.ON: What are your three tips for future colleagues applying for a job at E.ON?
For one: just be yourself. When I first applied for the Trainee Program, I also took part in other assessment centers and applied for other programmes at other companies. I was often confronted with the same type of people who came across as very tough and highly professional and always thought that I had to be this way as well. Eventually I realized that I am who I am, and either the company hires me, or I may just not be a perfect match for the position. When I applied at E.ON, it was different – I felt I could just be me and eventually got the job because they liked me how I was. For me, this approach has definitely worked out.
Further, you should also enjoy working in an international environment – then you're in very good hands here.
And finally, you should always look beyond your role and think outside of the box.
Share something with us that is not in your CV. Any skeletons in your closet?
Well, I started law school once. But then after three months I thought: Why? (laughs) And then I just quit. Actually, I always wanted to study politics, but somehow didn’t have the courage, so then I studied business administration. But who knows? Maybe I'll study politics again sometime in the future.
How do you develop your skills? Do you have any tactics or strategies to avoid stagnating?
What I took away from the trainee program is the willingness and ability to adapt to change. I think this has always been in me, but especially in the trainee program roles change quite often, and I find this very positive. It is also important for me to learn from other colleagues. I learned a lot from my line manager in terms of dealing with the corporation, for example, how to deal with different stakeholders and who belongs where.
I also worked a lot with Innogy colleagues who are very well trained in project management. From them I learned a lot about team organization – preparation, follow-up, bringing structure to projects, and drawing up plans.
In addition, I have been lucky to work with colleagues throughout the company who I admire for various things – how they work or how they interact with others. I try to reflect on these things and see which I can copy and use for myself.
What do you enjoy most about your job? And what do you enjoy least?
My team colleagues are the best. I also work with a lot of colleagues from other teams and departments which is also something I really enjoy. As part of a global team, I find it sometimes exhausting to have to wait for strategic decisions to be made.
If you could speak with your 2-year younger self, what would you say to her?
Trust your gut feeling and choose projects that and people who give you energy.
A movie is being made about your life. Which actress should play your role?
Phew. The first actress that I thought of off the top of my head is Meryl Streep. But I think she is probably 70 years older than I am (laughs). On second thought, maybe Nora Tschirner. Both are very independent, self-confident women who stand up for their own opinions and don't let people walk all over them.
And one final question: For which three things in your life are you most thankful?
For my family, my university degree, and my independence.