Encounters – Women of the Star
Nov 30, 2011
Editorial of Ursula Schwarzenbart, Director Global Diversity Office, Daimler AG
Dear Readers
With this magazine, we hope to be able to give you a whole new perspective on the world of Mercedes-Benz – one that is all about women. For women have been a major influence on our brand since its very early days – just as a start, let’s remind ourselves of Bertha Benz, Louise Sarazin and of course Mercédès Jellinek. Today, women are more important than ever to the success of Daimler AG. Gender diversity is not this season’s hot topic, but a strategic success factor. This is why in the future you’ll be seeing more and more women taking over the controls at Mercedes-Benz. Our aim is that, by 2020, one in five managers within the Daimler Group will be a woman. Women will hold 20 per cent of senior management positions across our global organisation. For comparison purposes: that figure in 2005 was just five per cent.
Admittedly, given the nature of the automotive sector, this is a very ambitious target; but it is one that is absolutely vital. Indeed, recent surveys have revealed that companies with a higher proportion of female managers and mixed teams enjoy a better than average level of economic success. More and more of our customers too, are female. The number of women buying our products is also set to rise still further going forward, since the greatest opportunities for growth over the coming years lie in the diversity both of the markets and of our customers.
In order to sustain our leadership role in the automotive industry and our culture of pioneering innovation, we need to have the right people on board. The advancement of women’s careers was therefore one of the priorities of the Diversity Management programme that was embedded across our organisation in 2005. The implementation of this cultural change has been supported through a wide range of measures, including for example flexible working patterns, the provision of crèche facilities and the TANDEM mentoring programme, which has already proved successful in encouraging women to aspire to more senior management roles.
The success speaks for itself: the proportion of women in management is increasing, year by year. However, this cultural shift towards a more heterogeneous employee base should not apply only at management levels. We would like to see far more ‘mixed’ teams being created in all parts of the company.
This magazine introduces you to seven women who hold very varying positions and work in quite disparate parts of the company. They include a woman on the Board of Management, a senior designer and a project manager on the engineering development team, as well as a woman working in the field of future research and a female mechatronics trainee. All of them are determined to help shape the future of the Mercedes-Benz brand.
I hope you will enjoy reading about, and perhaps be inspired by getting to know, some of the women who work for the three-pointed star.
Ursula Schwarzenbart
Director Global Diversity Office, Daimler AG
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