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EUMA Cross-Border Event at Krickenbeck castle on September 9, and 10, 2016

Approximately 40 EUMAs from five countries – some of them with their partners – met at Krickenbeck castle close to the Dutch border, a location of the EUMA Corporate Member Châteauform on September 9, and 10, 2016 for a cross-border event.

Following their arrival, the participants welcomed each other and enjoyed cooled drinks and tasty snacks before heading to the drum workshop with Menno Jurgen de Bruin. In 90 entertaining minutes, the trainer made a powerful connection between drumming and communication. People remember words less than they remembers experiences. With just 7% words make up only a small portion of communication. 55% are contributed by body language and 38% by the voice. The participants were able to try out the role of tonality, volume, speed and speech rhythm using their drums and other instruments supplied by the coach.

During the aperitif, Corporate Member Châteauform gave a brief presentation. Followed by a delicious BBQ, many members took the opportunity to take photos at the Blitzboxx provided by the EUMA-Corporate Member of the same name before the evening ended up with lively conversations and karaoke.

During Sara van Broekhoven‘s workshop the next morning, the topic was developing one’s personal master plan. Based on her professional experience, she reported that the working environment for assistants changes faster and faster. There is a risk that those assistants who do not develop any further will lose their jobs due to increasing automation. Tasks such as scheduling appointments and expense reports are expected and could also be done by others. Therefore, one should expand those skills that go beyond this. Among them are creativity, emotions as well as customer-oriented and entrepreneurial thinking which cannot be automated. Sara van Broekhoven rounded out the workshop with many practical tips and ideas to successfully create and implement one’s personal master plan.

Followed by a copious lunch-to-go many members took the opportunity to get to know the nature preserve surrounding Krickenbeck castle during a guided tour before heading back home.





30 years EUMA Germany

On April 29, and 30, 2016 EUMA Germany e. V. celebrated its 30th anniversary with a conference, workshops and an in-house exhibition featuring 13 business partners at the Dorint Kongresshotel Düsseldorf Neuss.

Approx. 60 assistants from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Serbia participated in the event. Helga Glatzel, one of the five founders of EUMA Germany, also attended. During the welcome reception that took place on the eve of the conference the participants took the opportunity to visit the booths of the exhibitors, learn more about their products and services and collect the first stamps for their raffle ticket. While watching a collage of photos of 30 years EUMA, longstanding and new members were soon engaged in lively conversations.

The next morning host Annette Rompel, editor-in-chief of working@office, and EUMA Germany chairwoman Vera Berndt welcomed the participants to a day filled with a wide variety of presentations and workshops.

Entrepreneur Carola Orszulik broke the ice with a very entertaining yet inspiring talk titled “Power makes you crazy“. By definition power is the ability to accomplish something against a resistance and „crazy“ is something that does not correspond with the mainstream. Just like a knife power can be used to bring about something good (preparing a meal) or something bad (killing someone). Everybody is born with an inner strength which is unlearnt through education but can be reacquired. It is independent of a person’s title or function. Hence the assistant could be more powerful than her boss, if she cleverly wields her „sword of power“. Armed with a sword, Mrs. Orszulik described the individual components of this weapon: The handle protection symbolizes the ethos, the inner system of values that grows along with our personality, the handle symbolizes empathy as the connection to the outside world, the knob intuition, the blade the decision-making authority used to sharpen our standing and self-esteem. Finally, the energy is found in the point of the blade where the passion with which the sword is handled is focused. Even if others try to tell them that one is not good at something, one should approach it with the motto „Fake it until you make it“. She illustrated this very vividly with an example from her own life.

Daniel Hammer who has been with Microsoft Germany for almost 30 years started his interesting presentation on the new technologies for the future with a brief look at the technological advances of the past 30 years and how they have affected people’s (working) lives. From punched tape and spherical head typewriters he elegantly made the transition to the latest technological advances like the HoloLens. In a short video he presented this and other products as well as their areas of application. The internet of things, smart connected products and 3D-printing are current topics that will greatly impact the working environment over the next few years. Big data, modern apps, clouds und „bring your own device“ are currently four megatrends. They do not only offer unimagined possibilities, but due to their expanded analytic capabilities they carry the risk of an all-encompassing control of people and make rights management increasingly complex.

During the first of two workshops Christiane Kersting showed the participants that creativity isn’t magic. The participants gave a broad range of answers to the questions “What is creativity?” and “What is creativity needed for?”. Creativity means having options. It is promoted by a climate of appreciation, a good chemistry within the team and a change in location. Walt Disney provided his employees with three rooms: a plush and very comfortable room for dreamers to generate ideas, a regularly furnished room for critics to question these ideas and a very sparsely furnished room for realists to decide on the ideas. The participants trained their own creativity by working on various tasks and riddles which showed that a variety of approaches eventually lead to the solution.

In her workshop Gabi Stratmann addressed the direct correlation between healthy employees and financially healthy companies. Fear does not only make people sick, it also paralyzes companies. The management should therefore promote a respectful atmosphere and prevention. As she explained man has three „brains“ which control body and mind: the intestines, the brain and the stomach. The intestines control everything. Just like in the intestines one finds supportive (doers, motivators, management), pathogenic (victims, whiners, employees) and neutral (observers and followers with a desire for recognition) microorganisms in a company. In order to remain healthy, it is important to understand that a crisis could be an opportunity, to value other people, to calmly look at what is really important and to live in the here and now.

In a captivating final presentation Suzanne Grieger-Langer explained why performers must be freed from psychopaths and losers to keep a company running. In the so-called performance triangle all too often losers and psychopaths and not performers are on top. Psychopaths create problems and when overwhelmed losers tend to delay decisions. She vividly characterized losers and psychopaths, their peculiarities and effects on their environment. Whilst only 1% of the population are psychopaths i. e. „improperly wired“ from birth, losers of whom there are many more are only turned into losers who on the one hand overrate themselves, but on the other hand are full of fear and constantly reset to “factory setting” so there is no long-term learning success are shaped by their environment. Psychopaths should be sorted out before they ever enter a company and performers should form packs to hunt losers.

Following a brief summary founding member Helga Glatzel drew the first of many happy raffle winners. The conference ended with a big thank you to the generous sponsors. During the following zumba session several participants took the opportunity to work up an appetite for the dinner with fitness instructor Janine Chahine who had already offered a less sweat-inducing business workout during the lunch break.


career@office in Hamburg on February 11, 2016

The Hamburg-premiere of career@office took place on February 11, 2016. Karen Lueders, the head of EUMA’s regional chapter in Hamburg, and I met the night before to make it to the Handelskammer on time in the morning.

We had just finished setting up the booth, when we greeted the first of many visitors. Throughout the day, there wasn’t a dull moment. In addition to many interested parties – not just from Northern Germany – we were able to welcome a new member, Diana Eschler, and establish many new contacts. EUMA-member Marc Schlichtmann led two workshops.

At the end of the day it was clear: EUMA will be back in 2017? Will you?