Die Chefin: Interview with Thekla Wege
Thekla Wege’s experience is that networking and the staging of one’s own person are decisive for the career. Especially for women who should dare to do much more. In her interview with the German blog for women in leading positions Die Chefin, Thekla tells about her career, how she got to where she is now and what advice she got along the way.
Thekla Wege was already offered her first job during her studies while doing an internship, and her boss waited one year for Thekla to complete her studies. She was a formative mentor and an impressively tough woman who, in a very male dominated environment, was and is very successful. By watching her, Thekla learned a lot. She met her current boss, Tobias Phleps, CEO of Brand Union Germany, almost ten years ago at a concert. Here again, the interpersonal understanding was right from the very first moment. Since 2014, Thekla has been the Executive Director Business Development and Corporate Communications at Brand Union Hamburg and Berlin.
Die Chefin: Why do you do what you do?
Thekla Wege: I studied business administration and economics and faced a complex spectrum of professional opportunities. I took the coincidences and chances, that came across me, with positivity and on the way, I learned to appreciate my strengths and specifically develop my talents further.
And I enjoy doing what I do. I carry co-responsibility for entrepreneurial decisions and the personnel structure. I find it extremely exciting to extend and develop a business, to refine and sharpen the client and agency portfolio, to adapt a business to the market changes and always have a finger on the pulse of the time. I enjoy being in a leading position, because here I have the chance to influence and move things.
Die Chefin: Were you supported on your way?
Thekla Wege: Without support, no professional progress! Starting with an upbringing that equipped me with self-confidence for the working life. And later, first and foremost superior colleagues, who supported me. An example: While doing an internship during my studies, I met my eventual boss – my first formative mentor. A tough woman, who I learned a lot from. Today, I’m lucky that my husband and I work in the same industry, although in different areas, and we in this way can advise, support and encourage each other.
Die Chefin: Were there any hurdles on the way?
Thekla Wege: It’s not always only external events that force us to leave our comfort zone. The biggest hurdles undoubtedly lie within ourselves. Not until you have decided for yourself what you want to achieve professionally and what level of importance work will have in your life, you can make the respective choices, set the course and develop yourself both personally and professionally.
Die Chefin: Which of your qualities are you proud of and why?
Thekla Wege: I have always been told that I have a very honest character. I’m very clear and direct in my statements. But in order for this characteristic to have a positive impact, I had to acquire a diplomatic way of dealing with it. Further, I’m not easily discomposed, which means that I don’t take critical situations in my job personally. Especially in working with a team and mostly under high pressure, those are very important and useful qualities for me.
Die Chefin: What was the best advice you have ever received?
Thekla Wege: A pragmatic piece of advice all around: Do good and talk about it. Networking and staging yourself are crucial for your career. Understanding the internal policies, interests and ways of communication in a company is already half the battle. Especially women should trust in themselves and dare to do much more!
Die Chefin: What advice would you give the younger generation?
Theka Wege: Be conscious of the fact that a good network is not only a stepping stone for your career, but also a safety net for times when things don’t work out so well. You don’t get around making and maintaining contacts – it is and will always remain a peoples’ business. Beyond that, it always helps to take the saying “you always meet twice” to heart. The intern of today might be the client of tomorrow.