At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.
Years before I joined SAP in 2017, my impression of the company was that of a business-oriented, traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) organization that had no impact on my everyday life. Today, I know that is a big misconception. SAP is everywhere, and we are transforming how people live, work and play.
I work at SAP’s Walldorf headquarters in Germany as part of the Global Employer Branding team. In my role, I specialize in organizing events that showcase all the cool, exciting and innovative things that SAP is doing worldwide. We invite the brightest minds in our industry to attend, and offer them the opportunity to network with other experts and learn about SAP technology in a truly experiential environment.
One of the most successful experiences we organized was a visit to a major space agency. Our guests had exclusive access to the lab where scientists analyze massive amounts of data gathered from outer space. It was a big ‘wow’ moment for them. Events we plan are not limited to the pure technology space. In Munich last year, we collaborated with a fashion designer who applies wearable technology in the line of design. Our guests had front row seats to a runway show, and experienced innovation in a new and refreshing way.
There are many things that I love about my job – how people collaborate across geographies and cultures; the positive energy and passion behind every event, and the great feedback we receive from guests who walk away with a newfound perspective of SAP are just a few.
I am originally from Beijing, and, you could say, I have spent my life ‘studying’ languages and cultures. My grandfather spoke five different languages and it was partly his influence that led me to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Translation in China. I believe that language is a carrier of a culture, and reading texts in its original language offers a perspective unmarred by another person’s translation or perspective.
Moving to Germany to pursue my MBA, and now living and working here, has presented a new challenge: mastering the German language. It has not been easy, but working in an international, open-minded and welcoming organization such as SAP has encouraged me to not give up. The company sponsors my German language lessons during working hours, which helps in my role where 60 percent of the events I help to organize are in German-speaking markets. This is what I really love about SAP – it has the courage and confidence to invest in its people.
Like how our guests’ perceptions of SAP change after experiencing its technology and culture close-hand, my perception of SAP shifted during a visit to our Walldorf headquarters, organized by my business school. We had a tour of the campus and had the opportunity to experience SAP’s Digital Boardroom and its real-time business analytics in action. This was my ‘wow’ moment. I also observed the employees going about their day. People did not clock in at 9AM and shuffle out at 5PM.They were free to come and go as they pleased. The culture appeared very flexible. People seemed happy. I left thinking, “I would like to work here one day.”
Since joining SAP as an intern and now a full-time employee, I can testify that all I witnessed is genuine. I am free to decide how I run my day to be productive. I am empowered to make decisions, but know that my team will have my back if I ever feel unsure. And I am proud of every little achievement: from my internship project organizing the ‘Get Your Learn On Salon’, a learning series provided to HR expert networks worldwide, to rallying people behind an event idea and seeing them excited about rolling it out. I feel what I do has meaning, makes people happy and has an impact right now and on the future of this company.
I love my life in Germany, and part of it is having the chance to experience diverse cultures. I have travelled solo to a dozen countries in Europe. But even when I am not travelling, diversity is at my doorstep. At the Walldorf campus, the Culture team organizes plenty of events that celebrate different cultures, sexual orientations, the differently-abled and more. They hold ‘culture breakfasts’ regularly, which showcases unique identities through food and conversation. Recently, we celebrated Iranian new year in March. We also have a regular ‘Lunch Beat’ event, where we gather in a room, a DJ plays music from a variety of countries and we let loose and dance. It is super fun.
To succeed in SAP, you must bring an open mind. You must also accept change, and adapt to change. And eventually, you will have the confidence that one day you may also initiate change. Just know that the people here will support you every step of the way. Every day I am inspired by people who brought everything they are, and became everything they wanted. I like to believe that we are all books, and we are writing our own stories.