“Women are often too self-critical”
Developing and supporting employees is one of Emmi’s core sustainability goals – and that also applies to female managers. Miriam Richter, Head of Marketing in Switzerland, and Simone Widmer, Head of HR in Switzerland, are among Emmi’s top managers. In this interview, they discuss their leadership style and explain why it’s so valuable for Emmi when women get involved and help shape things at the highest level.
Through you, two more top management positions at Emmi are filled by women – in addition to our CFO and future CEO, Ricarda Demarmels, and CHRO, Natalie Rüedi. What is your experience of Emmi in this regard?
Simone: At no point during the recruitment process did I feel that I was being hired because of my gender. The focus was on competencies.
There are various studies that show companies perform better when women help shape things through leadership positions.
Miriam: Mixing things up like this always yields better results, because it involves more and varied perspectives. From this point of view, I think we have an invigorating effect (both laugh).
The old rule often applies: the higher the level, the lower the proportion of female managers. Why is that? What can Emmi do as an employer to make top positions more attractive to women?
Simone: The issue is multi-layered. On the one hand, there is the issue that women are reluctant to work in a male-dominated culture. They assume that only those who are loud and extroverted will ultimately get their voice heard. So some women think they won’t fit in. I don’t feel this at all at Emmi. There is a climate of openness in the management team and we have been very well received.
Miriam: In addition, women are often too self-critical.
Simone: Exactly. They question their skills, for example, and hesitate to apply for a job if it says something like they need to be fluent in English. While a man might say to himself: hey, no problem, I can do that.
“The shift towards greater personal responsibility, a participatory leadership style and agile teams is more favorable to us as women.“
Do women lead differently than men, or in other words: How do you see your role as leaders?
Miriam: You can’t generalize that. What is certain is that the way we work, particularly at Emmi, is changing a lot. The shift towards greater personal responsibility, a participatory management style and agile teams is more favorable to us as women.
Simone: For me, authenticity is important, that I identify with the management principles and model these. I coach my staff, encourage them to take responsibility and make sure they are able to develop and grow.
Employee development is an important objective of our sustainability strategy. How do we do that?
Miriam: This is very important to Emmi, and it’s crucial that we address it. There are already many great examples of people switching jobs within Emmi. Because we attach such great importance to the development of our employees, many people are engaging with it.
Simone: It takes both sides: Emmi, which supports and enables, and employees who engage with this and want to develop.
“The people at Emmi are very open and incredibly committed. I felt welcome right from the start.“
The pandemic has not made it easy for you to get started. What is your experience of Emmi?
Simone: The people are very open and incredibly committed. I felt welcome from the start.
Miriam: I have encountered an open, agile and well-functioning team and have experienced how highly Emmi values its staff.
Miriam has been Head of Marketing in Switzerland since June 2021 and a member of the Executive Board in Switzerland.
Before joining Emmi, Miriam was Head of Marketing at Lindt Travel Retail and has more than 16 years of national and international experience in strategic and operational marketing positions in the consumer goods industry.
Simone has been Head of HR for Switzerland at Emmi since October 2020 and is a member of the Executive Board in Switzerland.
She has extensive management and HR experience, most recently as Head of HR and a member of the Executive Board at NZZ.