With a passion for marketing, sales and diversity in the workplace, Laura Serger in Essen, Germany knows the importance of looking at things from different perspectives. Learn more about her international journey in the Atlas Copco Group and achievements so far.
Years in Atlas Copco: 11 Years
Education: M.A. in International Marketing Management
Current role: Project Manager Marketing & Sales Specialist, plus attending the 1-year Master in Marketing & Sales
Hobby: Travelling, hiking with my dog
Freshly graduated from high school, Laura started her journey in the Atlas Copco Group through a three-year apprenticeship in Essen, Germany in 2010. “My apprenticeship was as industrial business clerk within the construction tools part of the business, which since then has been divested. It gave me a lot of insight and a good overview of different departments and processes,” Laura says and mentions that the apprenticeship also included an exciting 3-month exchange to the United Kingdom.
After the apprenticeship, Laura went into the compressor business, holding a position within contract administration while simultaneously studying for her business degrees at university during weekends. She thereafter joined the Compressor Technique Service’s Marketing Department. “I was responsible for our distributor contracts and was also involved in doing spare parts quotations, customer negotiations as well as helping them with technical issues,” Laura explains.
In 2019 she was selected for Atlas Copco’s 3-month International Program for Professional Development in Antwerp, Belgium. “This was a great opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the world. We were twenty people in the Program and the atmosphere between us was very nice. I think we all became very aware of our cultural differences and similarities,” Laura says and explains that her biggest focus was to drive a project on the topic of extending contract ratios for smaller compressors. “It was really interesting, but also quite challenging getting inputs and insights from different local perspectives. For example, you would have an idea, you check for feedback locally and see that “OK, this fits well in Italy and in Spain, but after talking to someone in the US, China, or India for example, you realize that you maybe missed their perspectives.” It was helpful for me to see how challenging it must be for global product managers to find solutions that fit for all,” Laura says.
Laura is currently a participant in the company’s Master in Marketing and Sales Program, an international 12-month program running on an annual basis. Due to Covid-19, the Program is running virtually this year, and should take roughly 30% of participants’ time. The Program’s focus is on personal and professional development, especially in the areas of sales, marketing, and finance, working in a team, in addition to learning more about the strategy and organization. Participants simultaneously also drive individual business projects in their area of expertise. “This program is meant to prepare you for the next step in the company. When you get more responsibility, it's highly important to see what your “big stones” are, to sort the gravel around you and to really choose what to focus on,” Laura says. Apart from product-related trainings in new and existing technologies, she has gained a lot of knowledge about the perspectives held in different business lines. “We also had a vocal coach to learn more about our breathing, in order to excel when holding important presentations in real life and in virtual settings.” she adds.
In 2019, the Group announced a goal to reach 30% female employees by 2030. When the Compressor Technique Business Area was looking for ambassadors who felt strongly about being more involved, Laura quickly raised her hand. “I’m very interested in diversity, not just to improve the gender gap, and I want people to feel included in the workplace. I’m the Project Leader in a team with other diversity and inclusion ambassadors here in Germany. We meet monthly, raise awareness locally and drive next steps in what can be done to improve in this area going forward,” Laura says.
In terms of advice for anyone starting new in Atlas Copco she says: “Be open for anything, because here you never know where your journey will end. There's so much going on all the time, be open minded, be ready for change and be ready to bring your ideas forward. If you are, I think Atlas Copco is the right company for you, and you are right for Atlas Copco”.