Life at SAP – with Eliane Lepine
Eliane is an Expert Total Rewards Partner member of the EMEA and MEE Total Rewards Team and we spoke to her about her SAP journey.
Where are you from?
I’m from Argentina, and have French nationality as well. All my grandparents moved from other countries to Argentina, so I have Canadian and Italian blood too. An interesting mix!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Initially, I wanted to be kindergarten teacher, then archaeologist, and later-on a phycologist. But finally, when I was around 15 years old, it was very clear for me that I wanted to become an HR professional.
What did you study at college/university?
I first studied a five-year HR degree in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Later on, I won a scholarship to study an MBA focused on high tech companies in Madrid, Spain.
When did you start working at SAP?
I joined SAP for the first time in 1999 in SAP Argentina, I was 23 years old. I was impressed by the company, it opened to me a brand-new world not only as multinational company but also in regards to technology, I was completely excited!
My first role was as a HR Specialist working on Comp & Ben, HR Admin and Payroll. I was part of a small HR group of three people and we were doing all the HR stuff between us. I had a lot of fun even we were working very hard, and I’m still today in contact with my colleagues even though the two of them are now working for other companies. We were less than 200 employees at that time, and it felt like a big family. It was amazing!
In 2002 I left SAP and Argentina to move to Spain, I studied my MBA and when I finished I started to work for a video game multinational company. In 2006 I re-joined SAP for the second time, and was completely crazy about continuing my professional career in this awesome organization.
Initially, I was Compensation and Benefits responsible for Spain and Portugal, but from that moment until today, I have changed managers, scope and responsibilities often, even though I remained working from the Madrid office. I have had the opportunity to work as TR Partner for Turkey, on different projects for Ireland, for the Nordics countries and on HR topics cross-countries.
Since April 2017 I’m working on different areas in a regional role: I support all MENA countries as Total Rewards Partner, I’m PMO for EMEA and MEE TR organization, run some executive comp activities as well as support on Total Rewards topics the HANA Cloud Global Organization.
What do you think the key skills people need to do your job?
I would say that, as in all jobs, the most important aspects are common sense and proactive and positive attitude. That makes the difference, anything else can be learned.
In HR, we need to be trusted advisors for the business and for employees. We need to ensure consistency between our initiatives and what we want to accomplish as organization, following a strategy which will help the company to achieve the ultimate business goals. But, we should never forget that SAP is what it is thanks to all people who work very hard every day. From initial ideas for new or improved products, to the ones working face-to-face with our customers, or all the employees working in internal support areas which are sometimes not visible, but without whom we wouldn’t be able to run our business. Every single employee is important, so as an HR professional all my efforts are focused on high-quality delivery and what we can do better and improve.
What does your career at SAP mean to you?
I’m a proud SAP employee, still in love with the company since 1999. This company is amazing, is demanding, yes, but in exchange I am thankful for all the opportunities and experiences I have been given since I joined. Continued development in different formats and flexibility have been key for me to not get bored and keep alive the same passion and energy I put at work. That for me has made a difference.
What does success look like to you?
To be happy is a success, and our happiness is made by many things: family, health, work, friends, hobbies etc. We need to ensure we get and keep our individual perfect mix of all those components. If you know that there is something going wrong, don’t leave it, do something about it. It happened to me in terms of work life balance. Being a married mother of 2 small kids I was not sharing enough time with my family, working a lot all the time. But beginning of this year I finally decided to do something myself about it, and re-organized the way I work keeping the same quality level on delivery and my customers happy. I was able to do this because SAP offers this flexibility and for me this is the top one aspect I value.
If you could go back in time and give your 18-year-old-self one piece of career advice what would it be?
We reap what we sow: Enjoy all the experiences, keep being passionate about what you do and work hard to reach your dream.
To see where Life at SAP could take you, click here.