Astrid Kaltenegger: For half a year now, I have been a member in the Allianz Group Diversity Council and I have been working in a multicultural environment for some time now.
"Diverse teams are more creative and innovative"
What does diversity mean to you?
In my direct team, I have five employees of which four are women, one is from Russia, and one is from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Altogether I have about 25 people in my team and many women amongst them. My working environment is very exciting and inspiring.
With which aspects of diversity are you especially confronted in your team?
The main aspect is how to deal with different backgrounds, both personal and professional. My Russian colleague is a physicist with a MBA and at the same time she has a very empathic nature. Of course, you can't just put it down to the fact that this would be typically Russian - it is also a matter of character. But, I still think that in certain moments her Russian soul shows - which I really appreciate. She brings her own view into our discussions which is very enriching.
How do you integrate diversity into your job?
I try to treat it as though it would be very natural. To me, it is important to do something concrete in terms of diversity. This topic can't just be a theory. You have to do something to change something. You have to live diversity.
What would you like to do - or better which objective do you have?
I would like to push the project of childcare for Allianz in Munich.
What's the aspect of diversity in this project?
Childcare should be bilingual, multicultural and flexible in terms of time so that it enables women and men to balance career and family.
Where do you see the potentials of diversity?
To achieve a good mix of Germans and non-Germans amongst the executives and a gender mix that doesn't necessarily need to mean a 50:50 mix. But, there a still too many areas with only men or only Germans. Mixed teams are more creative and innovative.
Where do you see the limitations of diversity?
You can't fill certain positions reflecting only on the aspect of diversity you also always have to consider personal qualification. I'm not a protectionist of proportions and forced numbers of women in companies are discriminating in my view. Women should raise their hands a lot more and take their fate into their own hands. Mentoring circles are a very good tool in this context.
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