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Meet Stefanie Saga – HR Professional and Working Mom to be

Key Facts

Name: Stefanie Saga
Age: 41
Family status: In a relationship, one daughter (6 month)
What is your job title? A German MBA; last business position: director HR Innovation & Concepts at Allianz Germany AG, currently on maternity leave
Where do you live? Munich
How would you sum up your life-style? Dedicated to detail with love, stylish-classical, international
Hobbies: Family and friends, travelling, social commitment, art
Do you follow a philosophy in life? Love it, change it or leave it.

What is your professional background?

Following a commercial apprenticeship, I studied international business administration. After my studies, I joined Peek & Cloppenburg in the human resources department. After various stints there and in the finance sector at P&C, I moved to Amazon as an HR Business Partner. I took over the HR-management at NKD, both for Germany and internationally, before joining as head of the HR department. Most recently, I worked at Allianz Deutschland AG as director of HR Innovation & Concepts. Now I enjoy the time with my young daughter, who was born six months ago.

What are the major challenges in your current position?

Coming from Amazon, and others, I have a strong background of experiences in building up lean and efficient personnel processes. Further, I have also gained extensive expertise with the topic of digitization. It was a significant challenge to adapt and introduce this pooled knowledge to the specific requirements of a large corporation.

You have worked in leading positions as HR-manager. In your opinion, which skills are needed for becoming a successful HR-manager?

I see myself as a true partner of the business and always want to understand what enables HR to act in a value-adding way and to support the company in a future-oriented way. In a fast-growing and dynamic start-up, this can be, e.g., the rapid and appropriate recruitment of employees and the development of executives. In a large corporation this might be the support of the overall transformation by a professional change management. For a HR manager it is crucial to have business understanding and to understand and use certain key figures. One advantage for me has always been that I had worked before in areas such as finance and sales.

You had positions as HR-manager with as well as with Allianz. Which one did you prefer, start-up vs. global player?

As always in life, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. For me, it is crucial to have an entrepreneurial environment as well as an adequate scope for design in my day-to-day work. This is a question of corporate culture and regardless of the size of the company.

How would you sum up your take-aways as woman in the HR scene?

Basically, the HR scene has a rather high quota of women. The problem is, the higher you climb the career ladder, the less women you find. It is therefore very positive to find already several female HR board members in large corporations. I like to support female potential wearers to make progress in their HR careers.

Did you have a good mentor on your way?

Yes, luckily and I am very grateful for that. Particularly her personal advice has helped my individual development and opened repeatedly new perspectives for me.

Styles4Work is an online shop focused on business fashion and business editorials. What is your estimation on specialized platforms and blogs for future trendsetting?

I think that is extremely important. Today, the internet offers such a large variety of information that specialized platforms and blogs which gather interesting information for me, are really making my life easier. Experts have dealt extensively with the topics and trends and, of course, create new trends through their position. This is almost like a personal stylist making suggestions to you and you can take your pick from this already curated selection.

Do you use social media yourself?

Yes, both professionally and privately, but especially as a consumer, I like to be inspired.

Fashion is an emotional, very personal topic. Is there an outfit that always works for you?

A plain black dress is nearly always a good choice. Depending on how I style it, I can wear it in the office, for going out or in my spare time.

Do you have a favourite outfit for the office?

No, I decide in the morning on a whim and on upcoming appointments. However, I like to wear dresses and skirts.

Do you have a favourite label?

No. This is the exciting thing about fashion for me. Every season or with every new collection, a label can change and can attract me rather more or less, e.g. due to a new designer. However, there are a few labels I check regularly.

Are you including fashion trends in your business outfit?

Yes, in small facets, but depending on the setting and upcoming appointments.

Which colours do you wear in the office?

All, but neon colours. Basically, I like to wear colour, especially in summer.

What do you always carry in your handbag?

Lip balm and lipstick, phone, credit card and nowadays, at least one dummy for my daughter.

Which hint do you have for women who are still looking for their own style?

Look out for public women who are appealing to you. You can follow them via social media or search pictures in the internet and find inspiration by their outfits. And now there is Styles4Work!

Job and family, an ongoing subject: How do you manage to master both?

Currently, I am still on parental leave. But I am very excited to see what it will be like when I start my career again. I think that a good organization and setting priorities are the most important things. But I very much appreciate any tip.

Who or what inspires you?

I am a visually influenced person and I like to take inspiration on journeys, via social media and in museums. I am also inspired by power women such as Sheryl Sandberg, Amal Clooney and Verena Pausder.

Which social topic is important to you?

I am particularly concerned about the promotion of socially disadvantaged children. Not every child is lucky enough to be born into a peaceful, loving and supportive environment. Here, as far as I can, I try to help with personal commitment at least a few children to give them some happy moments.