In aid of International Women’s Day 2023, we’re shining a light on the inspirational women we work with, collaborate with, or have pure admiration for as female pioneers within their fields.
As part of our Words of Wisdom blog series, we interviewed seven inspirational female founders from tech, PR, research and fundraising to discuss this year’s Embracing Equity theme.
Introducing founder of Spinnaker Christiane Schmitz-Treveljahr, a globally renowned researcher leading the way in insights-based brand and innovation development
As a GDR child fascinated by consumer choice, I started working in market research when I was a 19-year young psychology student looking for an internship and “ accidentally“ ended up in market research. From there, I studied, worked, and travelled my way across the 5 continents, and I had the opportunity to work closely with insights professionals, marketeers, and product developers of global brands in FMCG, luxury goods, consumer electronics, automotive, health care and other industries across Europe, the US, China, Russia and Australia.
About 20 years and 27 countries later I have chosen northern Germany as my home port from where I work remotely or venture out to wherever each project needs me. The authentic North Sea people and nature inspire me to create a business as flexible, agile, and sustainable as a sailing boat. The Spinnaker, a particularly light sail, “flying“ in front of the boat in bright vivid colours, seemed an adequate namesake.
I have brought on board with me a loyal international network of moderators, interviewers, field partners, recruiters, IT specialists, interpreters, and analysts – all of whom inspiring, talented and enthusiastic people I trust. For each project I recruit just the right crew of experts to answer your research needs and offer the most flexible tailor-made service and expertise in an economical, business conscious way.
In what way can organisations be more inclusive to encompass marginalised and vulnerable groups such as youth, women, persons with disability and so forth?
Allow employees to work whenever and wherever they want, when the work allows it. I’m a new work believer so we do not have an office, and my staff work a four-day week and 100% remotely. In Market Research, a lot of work can be completed digitally and remotely, enabling everyone to be able to work in the industry and be included, whether they are home-tied due to disability or have issues with childcare.
What does embracing equity mean to you?
We actively seek people for the team from different cultures and countries. We have colleagues spread not only across various regions of Germany, but also Italy and Egypt. Since founding Spinnaker, it has grown from a one-woman entity to seven full-time researchers and an extensive network of freelancers and partners, all within two years, which is a testament to the fact that our forward-thinking attitude to remote working is working!
By trusting my staff and giving them the flexibility to work as they wish, I embrace their value and worth and enable them to progress in a way that is defined by themselves.
In which areas should more efforts be employed to ensure more inclusiveness?
There should be more support for people who care for small children or ageing relatives through flexible working hours or job share opportunities. Also, dog owners should be able to bring their dogs to work!
All of these small considerations for employee wellbeing help inspire big things and a happy working atmosphere, which results in increased productivity and a happy team- wherever they are working from.
Please share any good examples of practices, measures or initiatives that can be adopted, shared and/or scaled up.
My staff can choose to work from home or a co-working space in their preferred city. I’m a big believer in offering everyone geographic flexibility!
I also believe in a better work/life balance, so my team works a four-day week, giving one day free for family, doctor visits, or just relaxing and working on well-being.
I’ve found that I get much more out of employees who feel they have the right work-life balance and a boss who supports them and their individual situations and choices.
Interested in working with us and Christiane? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org