"Jump" is the name of the program that NürnbergMesse has been using since 2016 to establish more female managers in the company and thus contribute to gender equality. This has been successful: Since the start of the program, the proportion of female managers has risen by 66 percent. The third Jump year started last year. Four of the current participants tell us how the program helps female employees to cross gender divides.
Dear colleagues, you are part of the third round of the Jump program. How did you get involved?
Martina: To participate in Jump, you have to apply for the program with a letter of motivation and a CV. It should outline your motivations and development goals and why you want to take on more responsibility. The number of participants is limited to six or seven each year. Around 25 female colleagues applied for our year. A jury consisting of employees from the HR department, the works council and the management selects the candidates.
What was the trigger for you to apply for Jump?
Hannah: To be honest, I applied for the second time. The first time it didn't work out because other applicants simply had more experience. But HR encouraged me to try a second time.
Madlen: I felt the same way! I already knew about the project and was looking forward to the third round of Jump! When I heard that it was starting again, I applied immediately.
Jasmin: When I had just started at 'NM', the application phase for the very first year had just started. At that time, I did not yet meet the criteria. This time everything fit and my boss supported me from the beginning.
Martina: I got to know the program through a close colleague who had already been through it. That's how I knew exactly what I was getting into. It was also a good fit in my personal life: My daughter is 15 years old now and I have the freedom to take on more challenges.
Teresa: It happened very quickly for me! I only joined NürnbergMesse in January and read about the programme on the intranet. At first I had doubts about whether I should apply at all because I had only been with the company for such a short time. But my boss encouraged me.
One round of Jump lasts exactly one year. How did it start?
Teresa: The start was an information event for all interested employees. We were given more insight into the content of the program and were then able to apply. Of course I was very happy about the positive feedback on my application. When we were accepted, we were also given the name of our mentor, who will support us during "Jump".
Who are the mentors and what is their job?
Martina: The mentors are colleagues from NürnbergMesse who already have management responsibilities. After accepting the programme, we talked to the mentors and defined the first areas of development. They are also the contact person and provide support with questions about the program, but also about everyday working life.
What does Jump consist of?
Hannah: Jump consists of seminar blocks with an external partner. These cover topics such as leadership styles, decision-making, personality types, dealing with conflicts and communication, and working efficiently. On the other hand, there is mentoring, where we were accompanied by our mentor in day-to-day business, received tips and advice and reflected on our own behaviour together with her.
Does Jump also support with networking?
Madlen: The other cohorts - before Corona - met regularly, for example in the beer garden. Because that's not currently possible, we recently all saw each other online. At the digital fireside evening, all the former Jump participants and mentors got to know each other and exchanged ideas. But of course, it's also a lot up to each participant's own initiative how to network with each other.
Daniela: That's exactly what Jump made me even more aware of. It is so important to network and exchange ideas. Through the network, I realise that many of us are dealing with the same issues. Through the exchange, I have learned to take a different perspective and to pursue new ways of thinking.
After a year in Jump, you are now approaching graduation. What is in store for you?
Martina: That's exactly why we're all a little nervous right now. At the end of the program we have to present ourselves and our development during the program in ten minutes in front of all participants, the mentors and the management. The topic will be how Jump has helped and changed us.
Daniela: After the presentation, of course, we continue. We have to integrate all that we have learned through Jump into our everyday work. To use new methods again and again. We should always keep in mind what we have already achieved during this time and continue to work on it. Our development does not end now - it is just beginning!
What were the most important insights for you guys?
Madlen: I have dealt a lot with my own path and where I see myself in the future. What do I want to achieve and what are my areas of development? I then worked on this development with my mentor.
Jasmin: It helped me to get on well in my new role as a senior manager because it gave me important food for thought about the role and my behaviour. Jump has definitely put the perspective in the right direction!
Martina: I dealt a lot with my supposed weaknesses and areas of development. What do I want to work on and what do I want to change? But this also includes the realization that I can't change some of my supposed weaknesses without bending myself. And that maybe these are what make me as a person.
Teresa: Since Jump I question my behavior even more and approach many things more strategically. Before I just did what I did - now I think more carefully about how I approach projects, how I communicate things better and what influence my behaviour has in different situations.
Hannah: That's also the biggest change for me, that I reflect much more in my everyday work. You can often sense when situations don't work out that way. Now I also question them: What could I do better in the future to achieve a better result?
To what extent does Jump contribute to equality?
Hannah: Our company is very female overall. That's why I think it's great that NürnbergMesse supports the many talented female employees with projects like Jump, so that the proportion of female managers also continues to increase.
Teresa: Regardless of the programme content, Jump brings a lot of visibility. Colleagues notice that you are interested in criticism and feedback. That's what I find so valuable about this project. Suddenly you get a lot more feedback from different people in your day-to-day work because they know you want to grow.
Madlen: We learned a lot in the seminars, but then applying that is up to each individual. For promotion, we have to go through an assessment centre just like our male colleagues. But we learn to assess ourselves better and have more confidence in ourselves. Jump was another push for me!
Thank you very much for the interview!
Bildcredit: NürnbergMesse / Ralf Rödel