From Dutch royalty to sports personalities and luminaries in the fields of politics and business: As an event manager at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Anja Reisige plans, organizes and supports events at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and the Classic Center in Fellbach – and makes sure that guests enjoy their visit. In the interview, she tells us why she likes to see astonished guests, what her all-time favorite Christmas card was, and how Stuttgart compares to New York as a place to live.
Ms. Reisige, as an event manager, you meet a wide variety of people. What matters most when it comes to dealing with customers?
I call it friendly diffidence. If we have an event with a prominent guest, for example a politician, then we are of course there to support whenever needed. The important thing is to give them enough space. I always say that the guests are not here to see us. Another important aspect is discretion. I often experience situations that are private in nature – and of course, they should stay that way. A lot of our guests keep coming back, leading to a relationship of trust.
How do you proceed when you plan an event?
As a project manager, I am the point of contact, and I advise event organizers on how to best realize their event. That is when work starts on organization. We offer a comprehensive service, and take care of everything that belongs to the event, from technology and stand construction through to catering and security. Before the event, I hand over the reins to the co-worker who is supporting the event on site.
How is your team set up?
I work with ten colleagues in the events department. Everyone has their own area, from our own on-site events such as our "Long Night of Museums" to the Concert Summer. I am responsible for all events involving board members and well-known personalities. We really are a great team, and we complement and support each other – particularly when things get busy. Sometimes we only have a few days to put an event together. In July, we usually have our Concert Summer, with up to 7,000 guests in one evening. At such events, it is of course important that we work well together.
Which event that you have organized has a lasting impact on you?
One event that I like to think back on is the visit from the Dutch royale couple, Willem-Alexander and Máxima. It was the couple's first trip to Germany since their coronation, in 2012, and we spent a long time working with the Dutch consulate and royal staff to prepare for the visit. There was a very detailed itinerary. And it was really special meeting the royal couple when they arrived. A few months later I even received a Christmas card from the palace, which of course I still treasure.
Speaking of treasure: What is it like working somewhere special like the Mercedes-Benz Museum ?
The building and its fabulous vehicles are of course fantastic. I always enjoy showing the museum to guests who have never been here before. Whenever I see their enthusiastic, astonished faces, I am reminded even more that I work at a truly unique place. My favorite section is the "Gallery of Celebrities", by the way. That is where vehicles with a special history are put on display, like Lady Diana's Mercedes 500 SL.
And what makes working at Daimler special for you?
It is exciting to work for a global corporation like Daimler – particularly in the field of events. Each event is different, and I meet so many different people. What I find amazing, is the respectful interaction across all levels of hierarchy. Whether I am working with one of the board members or with colleagues, I can be myself and I appreciate the work I do. In short, I love my job (laughs).
How did you actually join Daimler?
Before starting at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in 2008, I had spent ten years in the US working for various event agencies in Boston and New York. Then I wanted to go back home, so I applied for positions throughout Germany. I am not necessarily too much into cars, but for me it was important to work for a company whose values and products I can identify with. Daimler was simply a perfect fit.
It was important to me to work for a company whose values and products I can identify with. Daimler was simply a perfect fit.
How was the transition from New York to Stuttgart?
It was a big change at first. New York is a vibrant metropolis, and of course has its own flair. But Stuttgart is such a pleasant city, it didn't take me long to settle in. The food here is excellent, and there are a lot of cozy places. And the beautiful landscape with its vineyards makes the city something special.
One last personal question: what item is an absolute necessity in your dream office?
A fridge (laughs). Whenever there's a celebration I like to bring something delicious, such as a cake or a snack. For me, a workplace is good when the atmosphere among the co-workers is right. That is the case for my team at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
Personal details: Anja Reisige (49) started her career by training as an industrial clerk. She then transferred to the accounting department of a german-based (Düsseldorf) fashion company. However, she quickly realized that she wanted to have a more creative work instead of rows of numbers and piles of receipts. That is why Anja Reisige, who is originally from the Münsterland region in Germany, decided to study tourism at Worms University of Applied Sciences. In 1999, she completed her thesis in partnership with an event agency in New York. Among other things, she was involved in the organization of a pre-event for the UN General Assembly - followed by almost ten years of working in the US. When she is not making sure that her guests at the events in the Mercedes-Benz Museum are having a pleasant time, she enjoys training her voice. Although she claims that she cannot sing, she has been taking singing lessons for two years. This gives her an excellent break from work.