Groening, Yvonne

A moment with...
Dr Yvonne Groening

“I’m Managing Partner of successful Paderborn spin-off myconsult GmbH. Established almost 20 years, the management consultancy operates across Germany and employs 40 people. For me, having my own company still means the opportunity to take on far-reaching responsibility, to build something up together and to inspire others with intelligent solutions.”

(1) What I love about my current job is...
...that I feel “at home” in it. That means I know what I’m doing and good at what I do, and thereby generate added value for others. I work with all kinds of different people and develop different, but always intelligent solutions, with head, heart and hands.
In doing so, I challenge and encourage people from the most diverse personal and professional backgrounds. One thing, however, is always the same: I focus on the individual and see myself as a communicative, entrepreneurial and strong partner for our clients and my employees alike.

(2) My current job suits me perfectly because... allows me to express my individuality. The focus of my work as a management consultant is on people as individuals, as part of a team and as part of an organisation. I’m a “people person”, I’m optimistic, my heart is in the right place, I like to be creative, to challenge and encourage positive thinking in order to develop ideas. But I also like to get things done, have a marked ability to put ideas into action and enjoy improving structures, processes and working environments with and for people.

(3) One of the highlights of my career so far has been...
...founding myconsult and the many amazing and challenging experiences I’ve had and things I’ve learned being self-employed. Because today, after almost 20 years, my two co-managing directors and I have achieved what we set out to do in 2003 round a coffee table with Professor Leena Suhl and a slice of strawberry cake: to be an established, trustworthy partner for our clients.

It makes me proud to see that today we’re putting our expertise to the best possible use for our SME and public sector organisation clients, and that we’ve retained the ability to shape things ourselves.

But there are always new highlights for me, even today: For example, every time we welcome a new employee, because taking on responsibility and managing employees is what I love about being self-employed.

(4) When I look back on my career so far, I’d say that what has particularly shaped me has been...
...working together with my two co-managing directors: Of course, we don’t always see eye to eye, and so there’s always been, and always is much discussion and debate with long conversations – but always on an equal footing and with a great deal of respect. We’ve always leveraged this friction positively for the benefit of the company, and it clearly shows us that although we may be three different people with three different opinions, we have a common view of and for our joint company.

It’s fantastic to have this diversity and – at the same time – such great unity each and every day.

(5) I try to inspire young women for my discipline and passion(s) by...
...being a passionate entrepreneur. I actively bring this passion to various networks and am always happy for people to contact me. I live and breathe and love what I do and want to be a role model. Achieving the right family-career balance is therefore more than just a theory for me, rather something I’ve practiced from the outset.

(6) I’d advise any young women wishing to pursue a career similar to mine to...
...look for role models and talk to them. Advice from highly qualified, experienced role models can go a long way to helping (young) women be successful in business. This also includes repeatedly asking for critical feedback on how you present yourself, your services or business model.
Young women should make good use of these often invaluable tips and tricks, so as to avoid making the same (kind of) mistakes that more experienced female entrepreneurs once made. However, this does not mean that young women should not pursue their own path with inquisitiveness and openness, but that actively talking to role models can simply help them better assess and evaluate certain situations. I’d particularly recommend here the various mentoring programmes for (female) trainee managers out there.

And last but not least: In addition to courage and self-confidence, young women should also always have a good sense of humour.

(7) Networking with other women in my field is important to me because...
...knowledge grows when shared. Ideas ripen even better and can grow if we share them with sparring partners. In short: For me, learning from and with others is vital for a network to work. I’m an active and enthusiastic networker – I like to pass on my knowledge and experience and am always grateful for new inspiration and ideas. I love, too, the often contagious atmosphere of enthusiasm and curiosity and self-confidence and courage, coupled with entrepreneurial know-how.

One achievement that I attribute to this mutual networking and support is...
...Early on, I was involved in the conception of various mentoring projects, brought businesses and mentors together and designed and implemented accompanying workshops. I’ve also further developed existing networks and set up new ones. Being part of the first hours in which a network goes live and still being actively involved in that network today is a great feeling.

Today, networking always leads to personal and professional contacts. Being a mentor in a mentoring programme brings me a sense of achievement every time, both personally and professionally. I’m still in contact with many of the people I mentored today.

(8) I associate my time at Paderborn University with...
...many of my personal and professional contacts. I met and got to know an incredible number of incredible people at Paderborn University. That's also where I first met my two co-managing directors.

Of course, knowledge transfer is crucial for any university. During my years in Paderborn, I built up and honed my specialist knowledge and had the opportunity to repeatedly question and discuss this knowledge with interesting people.
And then came the big step: Our spin-off was the perfect basis for transferring our academic expertise into a concrete business idea.

(9) For the next 50 years, I wish Paderborn University... teach and employ many more courageous and clever minds with a “think-outside-the-box” mentality. After all, it is the people who make a place like a university a valuable and inspiring hub of research, industry and practice.

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