“Starting as a Management Associate gave me a 360° view of the company and was a great career kickoff”
If you are just starting your career, it can be tough to move forward with confidence. Reading stories of young, driven people who have pushed passed their limits despite the challenges, can provide a source of motivation and encouragement. So, if you are looking for some inspiration to embark on your career journey, you are in the right place.
In this interview, Lea Kuhmann, Global Program Manager based at our Majorel Berlin office, will be sharing her career path – a young woman full of strength and ambition now contributing significant value to Majorel’s global team. Her sharp mind, focus and ability to always see the big picture while being resourceful and present in the day-to day business, makes Lea a great leader and team player.
In this interview we talk about Lea’s career path, the skills which proved most valuable in her Majorel journey, the importance of having a multicultural and international mindset and her current responsibilities.
- Tell us about your current job responsibilities.
I am currently working as a Global Program Manager as part of the key account management team for one of the top global clients within Majorel. I am one of the key point of contacts for our client and our leadership team when launching new Majorel sites or line of businesses across the world. I am also responsible for the onboarding of management teams and driving global account alignment across our site network including EMEA, APAC, and Americas. Along with that, I analyze and report on the financial performance of our sites to the global team and continuously improve our client relationship by making sure our services are tailored to their needs and our teams are motivated, heard, and encouraged to thrive.
- What skills will you highlight that helped you reach the current point in your career?
Having lived in different countries across the world, I consider myself quite multicultural. I think knowing how to collaborate with people from different cultures and social backgrounds is an essential asset while working in an international company. Also, I would highlight to have strong organizational skills, such as time management and task prioritization. While you deep dive into specific and urgent topics, you should always have a so-called helicopter overview of the overall organizational standing and performance.
- What drew you to apply in the first place for a job at Majorel?
I have always had a keen interest and willingness to work in an international company. Joining a global company with constantly growing geographical footprint and truly diverse, multicultural teams, opens up countless opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. I studied in Germany and Spain and after these experiences, I knew that I want to keep expanding my horizon by starting my career path in an international company, with international clients and a diverse workforce.
- We know that you applied for your first job at Majorel as a graduate student. How did your journey begin with us?
My journey at Majorel started in 2016. I was a 26-years-old MA graduate with significant international internship experience and a drive to prove myself worthy for an international team and its success. To secure a position, I had to pass a competitive Assessment Centre, a combination of group activities, case studies and an interview that would test my suitability for a Management Associate position.
I have successfully gone through all stages of the assessment and was ready to present myself in front of the management team. That morning, things did not really go the way I expected and I woke up feeling sick with almost no voice. I remember starting my presentation with “I hope you can actually hear me” – and they apparently did. But I was so determined to perform well that my sickness could not stop me and I ended up getting the job. I got assigned to the team of Karsten König, Executive Vice President of Global Clients and moved to Berlin, Germany where I have always dreamed of living and working.
- What were some of your main responsibilities as a Management Associate? What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced while working on this position?
As a Management Associate, I had close collaboration with decision makers and was responsible for coordinating cross-divisional stakeholders. While holding this position, I supported and organized leadership and company events, as well as created content for board meetings and conferences. I was also leading a project in Berlin for the expansion of one of our global clients. This required regular reporting to the steering committee and the project management office.
One of my challenges, looking back, definitely were site closures within our German network where we tried to retain our employees and facilitate relocations. I recognized the social, financial, and emotional impact this had, and true team effort was needed.
- What was your biggest takeaway from being a Management Associate?
I would say the fact that this position allowed me to gain an insider’s perspective on our business and the industry in general. I got to know people from different departments and management levels, different external stakeholders, and the overall functional and organizational structure of our company.
- After 2 years you got promoted to an interim Account Manager. What were your key duties while holding this job? What was your biggest learning?
I was an Account Manager for a growing line of business of one of our existing clients and it was my first time leading a team and being accountable for their operational performance. While holding this position, I initiated best practice sharing of Majorel’s global approaches with our team in the Philippines. The key learning from my experience of managing a team is that as a manager, you should spend a healthy amount of time with your team. Taking the time to personally connect with them, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and having a transparent leadership style, will in turn, lead to mutual trust, respect, and integrity within a team.
- What do you love the most about your current job?
I enjoyed working at Majorel from day one and I feel that with the passing of time I enjoy it more and more! I would highlight our #oneteam culture and collaborative relationships among our colleagues at different levels. These relationships are based on trust and openness, which are built and nurtured on our corporate values: Respect, Creativity and Excellence. You are surrounded by individually different, yet like-minded people – international teams who strive towards the same goals. As a new hire, you feel immediately welcomed and supported by your manager and your colleagues. This pushes you to always improve yourself and thrive to be a valuable team member. You can be very good at what you do, but without the right support, your voice might not be heard and I was lucky to have supportive and active listeners throughout my Majorel journey. In my case, I took charge of some of the complex cross divisional tasks almost immediately after joining Majorel and this further empowered and motivated me.
- What advice will you give to people at early stages of their careers?
Life is a journey of self-discovery – finding out who you are and what you are best at, no matter the age. As an advice, I would say be fearless and always stick to your goals. Especially when just starting your career path, do not be afraid of challenges and keep moving forward with courage and confidence, as it can bring you much further than you might have expected.
Read more career stories here.