The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day, a day to commemorate the achievements of women and bring attention to the drive for gender equality. 

Here at Jacobi, we believe equality is vital and have several measures in place to ensure that all of our staff are treated equally. We have anti-discrimination policies in place so that employees are clearly informed of what is and isn’t acceptable. 

Aside from this, we also work hard to ensure that Jacobi is a welcoming place to work for women. We support flexible working, allowing our employees to adjust their working practices and/or hours to fit in with family life. In production, where the majority of the workforce is often men, we take extra measures to support our female workers and show them our appreciation. 

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re showcasing one of our most prominent female employees, Dr Brigitta Simons, Country Sales Manager at Jacobi GmbH. 

Brigitta has been in her current role for three and half years and oversees sales for 13 countries. A chemical engineer, Brigitta was educated at Budapest University of Technology and Economics and has five published journal articles plus a Hungarian patent. 

With three children of six, ten and twelve, Brigtta’s days are busy, taking the children to school in the morning, working and then doing homework or sporting activities with them in the evenings. 

Post-lockdown, Brigitta’s day involves a lot of calls. Before the pandemic, she would often be away visiting clients but, like in many other roles, far more of her interactions with clients now take place either virtually or over the phone. Regardless of where she is, there is always a lot to be done. 

“Everyone asks me how I organise my daily work responsibilities and how to find the balance between family and work life,” says Brigitta. “It’s possible because of my attitude. I am a fast worker and I often have short breaks to be outdoors and have a quick coffee.”

Brigitta credits her energy levels and ability to work in this way to movement. 

She said: “I turn on some nice Latin American music and have a little dance. Dancing and moving give me lots of energy. That’s how I recharge myself.”

To succeed in a sales environment, Brigitta believes optimism, positivity and ambition are vital. 

“If a customer asks for something and we don’t have a product developed for that yet, somehow I am always sure we can find a solution and we do!” she said. 

Of course, ambition and a strong work ethic are both important qualities and huge factors in success in the workplace. For many women, though, these qualities can only flourish with a supportive and flexible employer.

“Jacobi absolutely supports me as a female member of staff. What I like very much is that I don’t feel lots of pressure,” she said. “I don’t have set targets or numbers to meet and so I feel free and trusted to work in my own way – the way that’s going to get the job done. I don’t have to meet targets – but I do!” 

“Another example is pressure with emails,” she continued. “If I don’t answer an email within an hour then no one’s going to tell me off and sometimes, if I have a meeting at my children’s school for example, I can’t respond quickly.”

As a business, we are incredibly proud of our female workforce. The policies and values we have in place have created a workplace culture that allows women to thrive, something that we hope to see continue in our future. 

We also caught up with our CEO Remko Goudappel on the subject, here’s what he had to say. 

“At Jacobi we pride ourselves on our flexible working policies and believe in the importance of promoting a good work-life balance for all of our employees. With flexibility comes the responsibility to ensure a high output level and we trust our people to be both committed and proactive in order to maintain these levels and keep Jacobi running smoothly. 

As well as promoting equality amongst our workforce, we also aim to promote it in the wider world too with our community projects. This includes things like, funding hockey clubs where girls and boys play alongside one another or funding schools where girls and boys learn together. 

On International Women’s Day, I’d like to highlight and thank all our female employees for their crucial contributions to Jacobi’s success.”

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