Working in a global organization provides me with the opportunity to speak to colleagues from around the world about their Life at SAP. My name is Heather Walker. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of women from the Nordics who are working at different stages of their careers and finding out what drives them. One of the women was Charlotte Adelgaard who joined SAP as an Account Executive in 2014 and is now Vice President EMEA North for SAP Customer Experience (formally hybris) based in Sweden.
In under four years, Charlotte has progressed from Account Executive, to first line management and now heads up the EMEA North region for Hybris. She’s a mum to a seven-year-old and has an active social life including fitness classes and endurance sports. Whilst speaking to Charlotte it is clear that to achieve all of this, she has had to be structured, organized and able to compromise.
“Our choices come with consequences and you have to accept that you cannot have it all. You must set expectations of yourself and be able to manage change. I had my career planned and mapped out, but senior leaders in the business approached me about a different path. I had a choice, but I weighed up the consequences of saying both yes and no. I said yes and my career has progressed to leading the region, but at the end of the day, my purpose in life is my family. I know that my family are happy, but if that were not so I would be quite prepared to make any necessary changes. It’s easy to get swept up in your day job but I keep myself grounded to ensure my primary focus is my family.
I find it easy to strike a work life balance through structure and self-management. I never end a day with un-read emails and I always respond to people within 24 hours. This means that I don’t just shut down on a Friday and let things mount up for Monday. I clear my inbox, spend quality time with my family and friends and start Monday refreshed. I also remind myself every day why I do what I do.”
I went on to ask Charlotte if there was a moment in her career that was particularly challenging?
“There was a time during my career that was quite challenging, but I became stronger as a result. I was not happy with the way things were at work and I decided to stand up for myself and my values. What was inspirational was that SAP listened to me and this led to change. I had to ask myself ‘what am I willing to put up with?’ and when I spoke up, I was heard.”
A tip I’m sure a lot of us could benefit from!
This personal growth obviously played a part in Charlotte becoming the leader she is today.
“I heard a great quote once; ‘a leader without followers is just a random person going for a walk’ and this has always resonated with me. But your followers are more than just your subordinates. They are your peers, your colleagues and most importantly, your customers. I feel a real sense of achievement when I have followers in all these camps. It takes hard work to become a leader and you have to remain humble and celebrate success as a team. Within my team, we all have an equal piece of the puzzle. It doesn’t matter what career level you are, if one piece is missing then you cannot complete the task. Some pieces of the puzzle may be differently shaped, but they all weigh the same, and this is a principal I instill in everyone around me.”
So, would Charlotte recommend SAP as a great place to work?
“Yes! I have built strong friendships here. One quarter at SAP is like a whole year anywhere else and it’s this intense pace and energy which builds strong connections with those around you. SAP puts great value on health and social wellbeing, they also embrace environmental initiatives and schemes such as coding camps and Autism at Work. Being driven by purpose is in our DNA and I don’t see any other company coming close to SAP in that respect.”
If Charlotte has inspired you to see where your career could take you, visit the SAP careers site to see all current vacancies in the Nordics.