40 Over 40: Germany's Most Inspiring Women
They have become a classic: the "30 under 30" and "40 under 40" lists. And even if nobody wants to be defined by age alone, of course, such formats are always a good opportunity to present and honour great and extraordinary women. This is what we want to do here at F10 – with a "40 over 40" list, which – with a wink – is intended to be a supplement to the ‘under 30’ and ‘under 40’ lists.
You will meet very different women: board members, activists, publicists, producers, bankers. But all of them have something in common: they are committed to changing the world. They have excellent expertise in their fields. And that's why they are role models for everyone, regardless of age, across all generations.
Deepa Gautam-Nigge, SAP
The Innovation Ecosystems' Builder
Where do we begin? The SAP Next-Gen Innovation Network is the best place to start. This platform of business incubators, universities, SAP customers, start-ups, and venture capitalists ensures, that “driving innovation with purpose in the era of ecosystems” will lead to a new culture of collaboration across companies. Since the beginning of Deepa Gautam-Nigge´s professional career in a start-up 20 years ago – with stops at Infor, Microsoft and SAP – she is dealing with platform economy and all its aspects G2Market of new business models. She is also the founder of SAP first mentoring program dedicated to female founders, Ambassador for GDW in Munich and serves the Digital Advisory Board of Schmitz Cargo Bull's Venture Builder kubikX and of Earlybird VC.
Finja Kütz, Unicredit
The Transformation Expert
Meet the most powerful female banker: Since October 2018, Finja Kütz has been the Chief Transformation Officer at Unicredit Group – and in this role she is driving forward the transformation plans of the banking company. On the task list are – among other things: value maximization, cost reduction and strengthening the customer focus. Before joining Unicredit, Finja Kütz worked for over 20 years at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, most recently as the Managing Director for Germany & Austria. As an ambassador for ‘Stiftung Rechnen’, she has been working intensively for many years in order to get girls interested in mathematics.
Miriam Wohlfarth, RatePAY
What a trip! She started her career in the tourism industry with Hapag Lloyd – her journey took her to the top of the payment industry. Along the way, among other companies, she worked for Bibit. Later, her colleagues from back then started Adyen. In 2009 Miriam Wohlfarth founded RatePAY – today the payment service provider from Berlin employs over 240 people. A multi-talent: Miriam is not only the managing director, but also acts as a financial expert, mentor, networker, event organizer and author. She is also one of the MDs of StartUp Teens
Donya Amer, Bosch
The Tech Leader
Please fasten your seat belts. Donya-Florence Amer is a C-Suite Executive leader with 20+ years of experience in the fields of Technology, Digitalization, Automation, Transformation, Finance, Automotive, Industry, and Software. She has built and led teams within global organizations in both enterprise and entrepreneurial start-up environments. During her years working for IBM and BOSCH, she’s developed a broad international network and gained deep market insights in ASEAN, China, India, Europe and the Americas.
Anna Sophie Herken, Allianz Asset Management
The Global Player
London-Washington-Berlin – the more the merrier: Anna Sophie Herken was CFO at Hasso Plattner Capital, Managing Director of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin as well as at the World Bank in Washington DC, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London and for the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin. Since 2018, she has been Business Division Head at Allianz Asset Management GmbH. The German-Swedish is a member of various supervisory boards and volunteers for the Allbright Foundation, the International Rescue Committee (IRC Germany) and Save the Children.
Dr. Carolin Gabor, finleap and Joonko
The Fintech Star
When she was awarded the "Digital Female Leader Award" 2019, her two daughters were among the audience. The motto applies: If they could see it, they could be it. After ten years at Boston Consulting Group and at the top of TopTarif and autohaus24, Dr. Carolin Gabor is the CEO of Joonko since 2019. Before that, she has been the Managing Partner of Europe's leading fintech ecosystem finleap since May 2016. Business aside, Dr. Carolin Gabor is the founder of the initiative fintexx – women in finance, committed to supporting female leadership and women in the financial sector. Great idea.
Dr. Christiane Zedelius, mimeno
The Passionate Founder
After more than 25 years of a successful career as a lawyer and partner in a law firm, Dr. Christiane Zedelius made the brave decision to start her own business. In 2017 she launched mimeno, the first digital app to accompany women through the menopause. With the help of a symptom tracker, women are able to gain better control over their bodies. Additional information and blog articles, a body & mind program and a protected peer-to-peer community tool are completing the holistic approach of this business idea.
Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann, Letterbox Filmproduktion
The Top Producer
Whatever this woman does will turn into a success. 2017 saw the release of the surprise hit "Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben" (“My Blind Date with Life”) and next year, the shooting of "Herzogpark" begins (after the upscale district of the same name in Munich), which focuses on strong, multi-faceted female characters. The idea for the event series, which will be aired on TVNOW, comes from Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann, who is very passionate about the subject of women empowerment. The German-Japanese already worked for Constantin Film and Ziegler Film before she shifted to LETTERBOX FILMPRODUKTION (e.g. "Bad Banks I and II) as the Executive Producer.
Simona Stoytchkova, IG
The Next Level Banker
What more can one achieve? Simona Stoytchkova has worked internationally for various leading financial institutions and most recently headed the Prime Brokerage and Clearing departments at Société Générale in Paris and Electronic Trading and Derivatives Clearing at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt. Since the beginning of the year, she has been the Managing Director and Member of the European Board of IG. In this new position she’s dedicated to educate and encourage women about derivates as a complementary pillar in asset accumulation (investment or trading). A big challenge as this issue is still charged with fear.
Kristina Faßler, WELT
The Diversity Advocate
Her move from Sat1, where she was the station's spokesperson, to N24 was the best possible decision. Kristina Faßler has been the General Manager Marketing & Commercial Sales at WELT since 2015. One of the most demanding projects so far: WELT's branding process, including the name change of the channel. The mother of three sons is also a member of the advisory board of "BeyondGenderAgenda" and anyone who follows her on Twitter knows, that she is an energetic campaigner for true diversity.
Katja Diehl, She Drives Mobility
The Holistic Activist
Hardly anyone fights as tenaciously as she does for a real change in mobility – away from individual transport and towards strengthening public transport. Of course, this does not only bring her friends in Germany, but her voice has a great impact. The Hamburg local has had a classic corporate career and is now a freelance communications and management consultant, specializing in mobility, new work and diversity. On her social channels and podcast it couldn’t be more clear how logically these topics are connected and mutually dependent. So inspiring! We need people like her.
Enise Lauterbach, CONSIL!UM & Herz-Held
The AI Cardiologist
Just over a year ago she finally quit and ended her career in the clinic. Anyone who has talked to ambitious female doctors probably knows why. Enise Lauterbach has big plans: With her start-up she wants to combine the topics of cardiology and AI. With the Messenger App Consil!um, doctors can quickly and directly connect, consult and exchange data. In addition, Enise Lauterbach has invented a portable heart monitor ("Heart Hero") that analyses patient data and collects it via Smartwatch and smartphone. Clever!
Friederike Busch, Holtzbrinck
The Queen of Debate
Those who follow her on @rike_tweet on Twitter (and many do) are always happy to hear this energetic voice and restless spirit fighting for feminism and against racism. Sometimes you can even witness it live, like some weeks ago, when she jumped to help a PoC, the employee of the Deutsche Bahn, against the worst of hostilities. So much moral courage is in good hands with the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. There, at the ‘Veranstaltungsforum’ in Berlin, she manages various projects and events focusing on literature and science communication, such as www.picadorprof.de or www.wissenschaftsfreiheit.de.
Christina Burkhardt, Shiftschool
The Digital Enabler
Together with her husband, Christina Burkhardt founded SHIFTSCHOOL, Germany's first academy for digital transformation. There she trains participants from all industries and magnitudes in an 18-month part-time continuing education program, which trains to become digital transformation managers. If you look around, in this country, this is a truly brilliant idea. And Christina Burkhardt has already won several awards. She has received the ‘Inspiring Fifty Award’ from the DLD, among others. Chapeau!
The Restless Opinion Leader
After the end of political career? The next assignment is awaiting. The former German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy picks up where she left off: In promoting entrepreneurship. Since 2019 Brigitte Zypries has been the publisher of the DUB Entrepreneur Magazine and writes a regular column for FemaleOneZero: "X, Y, Z". Her favourite topic: More female founders in the start-up scene. As it is well known, there is still a lot to be done. Good that she is here.
Susanne Steidl, Wirecard
The Hidden Champion
She is known as a doer and a woman for precision work: Susanne Steidl has been the Chief Product Officer (CPO) on the Management Board of the Fintech company Wirecard since 2018. She has advanced the US business and optimized the digital analysis tools. The past few months have been turbulent, with the company and its CEO facing massive criticism. In situations like these, it is crucial to have people on board with a firm compass. Women like Susanne Steidl.
The Rockin' Role Model
In January, after 19 years, Janina Kugel left Siemens. For the last five years she has been the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). In reality, however, she did not "only" sit on the board of the Munich-based company, but was something like the CEO for a cultural change throughout Germany. She has promoted issues such as female empowerment, lifelong learning and diversity. Whatever she will do now, whoever will have the luck to work with her – Janina Kugel will remain our rockin' role model.
Valentina Daiber, Telefónica
The Responsibilty Advocate
Big tasks require big dedication. As a member of the Telefónica Germany Executive Board, she is responsible for legal and corporate affairs. That includes topics such as sustainability as well as one of the most important issues of the digital age: Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR). Valentina Daiber, who studied law, aims to promote principles and cornerstones for responsible action by companies in the digital world. The CDR Initiative has set itself the goal of developing standards and concrete solutions for sustainable digitalization.
Julia Möhn, emotion
The Feminist Captain
She started her career as a sports journalist. In this respect, we are glad that she changed teams and moved to the women's magazine camp. As Chief Editor New Products, she is responsible for projects such as Emotion Women's Day and Working Women, including the podcast "Wir arbeiten daran" (“We Are Working On It”). What is she currently working on? Together with two colleagues, she is writing a book on cohesion among women, which is due to be published in the fall. Woohoo!
Sabia Schwarzer, Allianz SE
The Communications Rebel
She is regarded as being courageous and unconventional. Sabia Schwarzer is a big picture person, so she is immune to any form of micromanagement. She speaks unfeigned and free of PR stances, which makes interviews with her so refreshing. After working in Singapore and the USA, Sabia Schwarzer has been the Global Head of Communications and Responsibility of Allianz SE for almost five years. At a time of a major digital transformation, there could be no better person to do this.
Dr. Monika Becker, Hager Unternehmensberatung GmbH
In a software industry that is still dominated by men, it is good that women like Dr. Monika Becker set the tone in executive search. The psychologist, Business Unit Director at Hager Unternehmensberatung and Sector Head IT & Digitalisation of the partner Horton International, has been active in this field for over 20 years. What makes her unique? An intellectual agility in a rapidly changing industry as well as her passion for innovation and global setting. What is more, she is also an advocate for diversity as progress is created by constructive tension. Well played!
Dr. Brigitte Mohn, Bertelsmann Stiftung
She has many mandates, but one big mission: Dr. Brigitte Mohn, who holds a doctorate in philosophy and is a member of the Executive Board of the ‘Bertelsmann Stiftung’, has dedicated herself to sustainability and climate protection. The seriousness and deep passion can be observed in her LinkedIn account. If you want to keep up with sustainability nuances, make sure to follow her. On top of that, Brigitte Mohn is a member of the Executive Board of the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group, a worldwide network for promoting social and ecological investments.
Dr. Tanja Rückert, Bosch
The Female Tech Factor
A class of its own: The doctor of chemistry, Tanja Rückert, has been the CEO of the Bosch Group's Building Technologies division since 2019. Prior to that, the mother of two children spent 20 years at SAP as the head of development for Digital Supply Chain and IoT, coordinating global teams, always committed to promoting women in technology. That has remained to this day: Together with her CDO, Vera Schneevoigt, they form a power couple for #female empowerment in a male-dominated industry.
Prof. Dr. Yasmin Weiß, Yoloa
How many lives fit into one? A lot! Prof. Dr. Yasmin Weiß is a professor, supervisory board member, start-up founder and political consultant. She started her career at Accenture and founded the start-up Yoloa in 2018, which supports young talents to find their personal way in the digital age. Since 2011 she has been a professor at the Technical University of Nuremberg and sits on several supervisory and advisory boards of German companies. Since 2014 she has also been a member of high-ranking political advisory personas. In 2014, Chancellor Angela Merkel appointed her to the Innovation Steering Committee of the Federal Government. Since last year, she has been the godmother of the BayFid program, with which the Bavarian Ministry of Digital Affairs promotes female talent in the digital sector.
The Game Changer
Zapping from TV to Real Estate: Sabine Eckhardt, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Pro Sieben Sat 1 Media until April 2019, now has a new job. Starting in May, the manager will become the CEO Central Europe of the US real estate group JLL. The abbreviation stands for Jones Lang LaSalle – which is one of the largest real estate groups in the world. In the newly created position, she will drive the digital transformation of the real estate giant. Sabine Eckhardt will also become a member of JLL's EMEA Strategy Board. Big plans ahead.
Angelika Huber-Straßer, KPMG
The Corporate Advisor
She is the marathon runner in her industry: Angelika Huber-Straßer has been working for KPMG for 20 years. Since October 2014 she has been the divisional director for the Corporates segment. In this function, she is responsible for managing listed mandates across all service areas and industries. In her career, she has looked after a large number of companies of various magnitudes, with a particular focus on DAX 30 and global corporations. What does she advice to younger women? Don't succumb to the myth that digitalisation will automatically change everything in favour of equality.
Ina Schlie, SAP
The High Level Player
More women on the boards! Who can you meet there? Ina Schlie, for example. The graduate economist and a mother of three children sits on the Supervisory Boards of the Würth Group and QSC AG. Being in the Leadership Team of SAP SE for two decades heading the e.g. the Corporate Tax Department and SVP for Digital Government Relations in MEE. She is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Business Administration at the LMU Munich, investor and advisor to many female led start-ups, dealing with the various aspects of new work and digital transformation.
Catrin Hinkel, Accenture
The High Tech Pro
Another marathon-runner – this time for Accenture: Catrin Hinkel joined the company in 1993 (back then it was Andersen Consulting). She worked in the telecommunications and CRM fields and from 2011 to 2017 she also took over the management of the Health & Public Services division. Today, Catrin Hinkel manages ASG's Communication, Media & Technology (CMT) business unit and CMT Consulting on a global scale. Since 2015 she is a spokeswoman of the board of the "Generation CEO" initiative. She is an expert on strategic issues in the digitization and transformation of communication and high-tech companies.
Anna Kopp, Microsoft
The Change Maker
She has one of the most exciting tasks in the company: the IT expert is responsible for the fusion of business processes and technology at Microsoft, Germany. Her focus is on efficiency and simplification – with such strategy, the digital transformation should is set to succeed. Since 2017, Anna Kopp has also been branch manager for the HQ Munich, where she promotes the modern working world from a cultural perspective. Her credo? People are the decisive factor in this rapidly changing world. So true.
Hala Zeine, Celonis
The Unicorn Hero
Before joining Celonis, Hala Zeine was the president of SAP's Digital Supply Chain. In this role, she led product strategy and development for digital supply chain, manufacturing solutions and was responsible for the global go-to-market. She integrated state-of-the-art technologies such as Blockchain, Digital Twin, and Machine Learning into the development of supply chain solutions in order to help companies prepare for the digital future. No wonder that she was asked to join the executive management team of Celonis as CPO, where she will be responsible for product strategy and management. We’re sure, that you'll be hearing a lot more about this woman.
Urmi Prasad Richardson, Linde
The Healthcare Expert
She studied and worked in over half a dozen countries: Urmi Prasad Richardson, Global Head of Healthcare at Linde, is an executive with 20+ years of experience in the areas of biotechnology and healthcare. She provides a proven track record in translating innovation into business results. Urmi Richardson has industry experience in molecular diagnostics, cancer genomics, infectious diseases, point of care, medical devices, and respiratory care. In times like ours, this might be a big asset. On top of that, she is passionate about embracing cultural evolution and being a transformative and empowering leader.
Susanne Aigner, Discovery Germany
The TV star
Her program: Maximum success orientation. Susanne Aigner has been working in leading positions in the media industry for 20 years. Before joining Discovery and marketing advertising slots for DMAX, she was the Head of Marketing and Sales at Sport 1 (formerly DSF) and Managing Director of the media agency Media Plan. In 2011 she was appointed to the top of the channel and as the Managing Director Discovery Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Susanne Aigner is responsible for the channels DMAX, TLC, Home & Garden TV, Eurosport 1, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Eurosport 2.
Claudia Peus, TU Munich
The Excellence Ambassador
Ready for the lecture? Now it's getting exciting: Claudia Peus has been a professor for Research and Science Management at the TU Munich since May 2011, Executive Vice President for Talent Management and Diversity since October 2017 and Vice Dean of Executive Education of the TUM School of Management since April 2014. In her research, Prof. Peus is primarily concerned with the topics of leadership and its development, science management as well as (international) human resources management. Back to university, anyone?
Mirjam Pütz, Deutsche Bank
The Future Banker
How banking has changed! Mirjam Pütz, the Head of Customer Experience of Deutsche Bank's Private Bank division, unites industry expertise with the power of innovation. She is an expert in new ways of working in a digital era. With the branch of the future “Quartier Zukunft” in Berlin, Mirjam Pütz developed a blueprint to enable premium customer experience in a traditional banking environment. Mirjam is a co-founder of “Rebels League” – a start-up, aiming to provide children and teenagers with competencies that are required for their future and is actively engaged in supporting young entrepreneurs as a business angel.
Marianne Stroehmann, Google
The Digital Educator
How to shape your digital competencies? Marianne Stroehmann, a Director at Google Germany and Site Lead of Google Hamburg is providing solutions with Google Zukunftswerkstatt. What drives Marianne Stroehmann in her everyday work? She said in an interview, that employees have less and less time and opportunities for upskilling. She is keen to change this. Before joining Google Deutschland she was the Co-Managing Director at Telekom subsidiary Interactive Media.
Barbara Lutz, Women Career Index
Knowledge is power: The founder and MD of the Women Career Index provides organizations with important impulses for innovative processes, modern corporate cultures and the concrete design of culture-changing measures. Before that, Barbara Lutz worked for more than 20 years in the management of huge corporations and has experienced the different cultures and opportunities for women in leadership in top management positions. She conducts workshops at the Technical University of Munich and is the editor of the book „Frauen in Führung: Modernität und Agilität - wie die Veränderung der Unternehmensprozesse und Kultur Innovation fördert“ (‘Women in Leadership: Modernity and Agility - how the change of business processes and culture promotes innovation’).
Sigrid Nikutta, DB Cargo
The Goods Navigator
She has already made the headlines in Berlin. As CEO of the transport company BVG, the psychologist has led it out of the doldrums. Since the beginning of the year, Sigrid Nikutta has had a new arduous task as the CEO of DB Cargo. A job with future prospects and purpose. One freight train replaces 52 trucks. This is the key to climate change. Think about it on your next trip on the motorway.
Frederike Probert, Mission Female
The Top Networker
Her goal is to strengthen women in business, culture and politics. Frederike Probert is the founder and managing director of Mission Female, a network for top female managers. Over the past 15 years, she has made a name for herself as a successful entrepreneur in the digital industry and as an expert on gender diversity issues. All these experiences are now flowing into her work for her exclusive network. Frederike Probert was asked what she wishes for in an interview. The answer: 50 percent female speakers at conferences – without it being news.
Sabine Müller, DHL Consulting
The Out of the Box Thinker
For Sabine Müller logistics is much more than just trucks, warehouses, shipping containers and stacks of brown boxes. The CEO of DHL consulting has nearly two decades of experience in this industry. For others, the severe transformational changes might be a frightening. Sabine Müller sees them as a chance to rethink the way in which to do business and include new technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT, drones, blockchain and the circular economy. Beyond her career, she’s personally committed to help female leaders succeed and promote more diversity in management teams. What a great role model!
The Fearless Fighter
Last year, an unprecedented power struggle raged in the 'Bundesagentur für Arbeit' (Federal Employment Agency). Valerie Holsboer was forced out of the office after only two years on the board. Prior to that, she had earned an excellent reputation as the General Manager of the 'Bundesverbandes der Systemgastronomie' and the 'Arbeitgebervereinigung Nahrung and Genuss' (Federal Association of System Catering and the Employers' Association Food and Indulgence). There are, of course, two sides to the story. Her supporters argue, that she was too uncomfortable for the Board of Directors and refused to nod off decisions. What can we all take away from this? To not let it get us down, to move on and to believe in ourselves. And replace the old saying: "If They Don't Give You a Seat at the Table, Bring a Folding Chair" with the updated one: "If You're Not Getting a Seat at the Table, Build Your Own Table".
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