Matthias Weber has been a member of the board of the 'Völklinger Kreis', Federal Association of Gay Managers and Self-employed Persons, for three years and was additionally elected Chairman of the Board of Management in October 2018.He is also Vice President of the ULA (United Leaders Association), Germany's largest management umbrella association with approximately. 70,000 members and as an advisory board of the ProutAtWork Foundation. He is currently a member of the North-West Management Board and Regional Division Manager of Postbank, which is headquartered in Düsseldorf.
Laura: Both in 2018 and 2019 you participated in the RAHM Contest in Berlin as a jury member. What effect did those two experiences have on your personal as well as professional life?
Matthias: The essence of every good mentorship programme is mutuality. There is as much to learn for the mentor as there is for the mentee. The relationship with the RAHM contestants is similar. I got to know many international people with fascinatingly diverse biographies. The jury did much more than “judge” – we interacted intensely with the contestants. I learned a lot about new trends, about different work cultures and leadership. As a juror you may be a real winner of RAHM.
Do not waste energy to fit into a mould – another employer will appreciate your shape and the energy you now can invest into your work and not waste into suppressing parts of your personality.
You strongly advocate for more diverse, inclusive and supportive working environments while emphasizing the importance of such for the individual job experience. What effect did your personal experiences with different work environments have on your day to day work life?
The quality of my work environment had a much wider influence than my work life. Most of us spend a bigger part of our waking hours at work than at home, and sometimes the psychological burden of work follows us. One reason for my effort is the freedom to be yourself at work. Do not waste energy to fit into a mould – another employer will appreciate your shape and the energy you now can invest into your work and not waste into suppressing parts of your personality. Personally, it was quite clear that at a previous employment I would rather not be accepted as an out gay man. But the inclusive atmosphere at my current employer enabled me to be my whole self and in return amplify the diversity and inclusivity at my work place.
Next to your job at Postbank you are also a board member of the “Völklinger Kreis’’ as well as vice president of the ULA (United Leaders Association). Amongst other activities both include finding and supporting young talents. Why do you consider it important to target this group in particular?
At VK, there is a programme called Future Leaders which involves mentoring, seminars and networking with our regular members. There is more than one factor why this programme is important. One, the same as in RAHM, each of us contributing as a formal or informal mentor learns an incredible variety of things from the mentees. Two, we as an organisation rely on winning new qualified members and want to have members of various ages and backgrounds. So we give them an opportunity to get to know us. Three, there is still virtually no workplace without discrimination, no structure of absolute equal chances for LGBTI. We want to equip young LGBTI leaders to overcome those obstacles and find their career path. And hence, four, be holistically diversity aware and fair leaders and managers for the next generation of their employees.
To all the young talents out there, what would you suggest are the first steps to take if you want to develop your skills and abilities in the right direction or to find this right direction all together?
“No wind blows in favour of a ship without direction” (Seneca), so you should always have a plan. You should always be ready to change a plan. At certain moments in your life it is wise to simply get a wider impression of all possibilities, open up to inspirations, find out how other people work.
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