04 April 2018
Jacqueline Berlin

Different Personalities and Genders Create Success and Innovation

At Boehringer Ingelheim, we are powered by our people. We nurture a diverse, collaborative and open environment, valuing and respecting the differences of our people: we are convinced that diversity is an enormous asset. While we focus on diversity of thinking, we have to admit that gender is one of the most visible dimensions of diversity. We strive to increase gender balance in our leadership to reflect our diverse markets and customers: 80% of the healthcare decisions are taken by women.


With our series "Women in Leadership" we want to introduce female colleagues who hold leadership positions at Boehringer Ingelheim, to share their experiences, successes and challenges. With that, we hope that we can inspire our leaders and our talents to continuously strive for development. In the career blog, they tell us about their career path, how they combine work and private life and why our society needs a mindset change. Get to know biotechnologist Daniela Reinisch, Group Lead Upstream Development in Vienna. An interview by Kathrin Stech.

Could you please tell us something about your career background?


I hold a degree in Biology from the University of Tübingen, with focus on microbiology, genetics and cellular biology. Biology has always been one of my biggest interests.Nevertheless, I started studying Administrative Science and Law after graduation with the aim to work in an environmental agency later on. However, I quickly realized that these tasks were too paper-based and formalistic - although I can profit from the acquired knowledge until today. So, I applied for Biology at the University of Tübingen and was accepted.


Moreover, as I am also very interested in personnel development, I completed training as a coach.


Can you give us an overview of your career development at Boehringer Ingelheim?


During my studies, I had the great opportunity to take part in an excursion to Boehringer Ingelheim Biberach. I was immediately fascinated by the company and applied for an internship at Boehringer Ingelheim right away that was granted in Vienna. After my internship, I was luckily offered a permanent job as Scientist in Process Science, responsible for upstream technology and process transfer as well as development for contract manufacturing and technology projects.


In 2006, I became Unit Lead for the Unit Microorganism Fermentation, first purely responsible for fermentation and, after an extension, also for molecular biology. The unit was growing and was integrated - as part of a structural change - into Global Process Science which resulted in strong international cooperation with Fremont, Biberach and Shanghai. In 2015, I applied for the position as Group Lead Upstream Development and was fortunately selected.Since then, my team and I are working on the development of processes, state-of-the-art technologies in molecular biology and strain development as well as automation technologies and robotics.


You hold a leading position in a family-owned international company. What are the challenges for you as a leader and for you as a woman?


In general, the working conditions in a technical environment – also for women - are very good, as the focus lies on expertise and personal skills. However, I would desire to concentrate a little more on soft skills, such as the ability to characterize people, leadership skills and intuition, when recruiting for positions of any kind.


For me as a leader, the biggest challenge lies in the nature of the field of work. My employees are facing new and unknown situations every day. In order to cope with such situations and to be successful on a long run, the team has to collaborate very closely. Moreover every pioneering team works best with the confidence that their supervisor supports them in the best possible way. I am very thankful that I was able to gain their trust through my expertise and experience.


What development in our company culture would you like to see?


The principles of “Our FOCUS” go in the right direction: fact-based business decisions, with enthusiasm and courage towards the future. That’s also important for me.


How do you handle your work-life-balance?


Good planning and time management are essential factors. I have various interests outside the company: designing and taking care of my garden, having own colonies of bees and working self-employed in a health center.


Is there some kind of a female and male style of leadership?


In my opinion there is no typical male or female leadership style. It depends more on the personality. There are very rational and more emotional people but this cannot solely be assigned to the gender. In my point of view, a personality and gender mix is essential for a group to be successful and innovative.


What role did men play during your career? How did they support you?


For me, the independence to work freely was always most important for me. Currently, I have a male manager with whom the collaboration works very effectively. In general, I would say that one can learn from men to define strategies and communicate own strengths and competencies. The differences can more be defined by the personality rather than the gender.


Do you have a personal advice for young talents, especially young women?


Keep your independence, free thinking and personal integrity. Don not hesitate to actively ask for assistance if you need help – a good network often offers a solid base to support each other.

"A personality and gender mix is essential for a group to be successful and innovative, says Daniela Reinisch. "
Jacqueline Berlin
Daniela Reinisch_Boehringer Ingelheim
Diplom biologist Daniela Reinisch works as Group Lead Upstream Development at our site in Vienna.

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