Cultures@SAP: Why Differences Matter
Masoumeh Moghaddam (known to her colleagues and fellow Cultures@SAP members as Mahin) has been involved in the Cultures@SAP network for over 10 years. Together with the core team, Mahin has helped organize numerous events and supports colleagues across SAP in various intercultural matters and activities.
The Cultures@SAP network, founded in 2006 by SAP employee Fariba Jafar-Shaghaghi, today boasts members from more than 40 nationalities. With its motto “for employees, from employees,” Cultures@SAP aims to promote multicultural understanding, create awareness around working in a multicultural environment, increase cultural competency, and help colleagues integrate into German society.
The initiative provides many different opportunities for colleagues to find out more about the various cultures represented at SAP, as well as a range of services to help new arrivals settle in at their new locations. Film evenings, multicultural breakfasts, language courses, and book clubs are just some examples of the events organized by the Cultures@SAP team. For colleagues traveling to new or unfamiliar destinations, the team are also on hand to offer tips and provide helpful information about a wide range of countries to ensure the business trip gets off to the best possible start.
Mahin has been there from the very start, and together with the other eight core team members, she has played a significant role in the group’s impressive development. “We support one another – we help the coordinators organize their activities and it’s all about being one big family. We try to bring Cultures@SAP into events across SAP, like for example, d-kom, and then people hear about what we’re doing and they want to be part of this ‘family’, too.” Looking ahead, Mahin says she would love to see the group expand even further to cover all 80 nationalities represented at SAP’s headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.
For Mahin, finding the right balance between her job as a project manager and developer and a member of the Cultures@SAP core team has never been a challenge: “I have always had great support from my managers. Of course, you have to invest a lot of time and energy in the projects, but there’s such a great group dynamic that you don’t really even notice you’re investing time. You get so much energy back, it’s so rewarding.”
At the heart of everything the group does is respect. Integration, Mahin explains, is about bringing cultures together, being interested in each other, and respecting the differences: “It is very important that you are accepted and respected as you are. You’re different from the others and it’s very good that you are different. It’s really important that people have the feeling that they are welcome with us, they are accepted as part of this society.”