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“KHS’ internationality is a real boon to me.”

Carmen Germann

Head of Regional Center Southern Europe | Department: Sales | Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Tell us about how your career has developed to date and how you came to be working at KHS. What did you train as and what’s your job at KHS like?

I first trained as a foreign language correspondent. I realized early on that I wanted a job that combined languages with contact with people and work in an office. Once I’d finished my training, I first started work at the German Foreign Office and then switched to KHS in 1987. I just wasn’t cut out to be a civil servant! At KHS I then worked as a foreign language correspondent and later acted as assistant to a divisional manager. After this, I was in project management and sales controlling. I’ve thus come to know several different areas of KHS in my career. In 2011 I then applied for the job of head of Regional Center Southern Europe. This position has precisely all those aspects I find important in my job – I work with people, can apply and improve my language skills, travel a lot and of course also sell machines.

What makes your job so interesting and what do you particularly like about it?

I have lots of contact with different people, with both customers and colleagues in and outside Germany. Good negotiating skills and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes are especially important here. The fact that technology plays a big role and that at the same time I can use my languages make my job extremely diverse. Generally speaking, KHS’ internationality is a real boon to me; after all, with our various global locations we’re represented in a number of countries throughout the world. When I started at KHS, I was first responsible for Africa and the Middle East. Following a restructure, I then focused on Southern Europe; these countries also best match my language skills. This of course makes my job all the more enjoyable. The business trips I make are to countries where others go on vacation. The mentality of the people there is very different from here in Germany. And I also like to travel to the countries I’m responsible for in my own free time. These include Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece, among others.

“The switch from public services to KHS was the best decision I’ve ever made in my career.”

What’s the best decision you’ve made so far in your career?

Definitely the switch from public services to KHS! Mainly because I can combine working as a sales representative with my knowledge of languages. There’s also the diversity of different cultures, mentalities and languages; this is exactly what I’m interested in and where I believe my strengths lie. I also love the freedom in using my languages. I once started to study business translation but stopped because it just wasn’t my thing. I don’t like simply translating what others say; I want to express myself when I speak or write. This is why the combination of activities in my current job is perfect and the move to KHS was a very good decision for me to make.

What are the challenges of the job?

There are two main areas of my job that I’d describe as challenging. The first is final negotiation with the customer and the second the discussion of complaints. You try to negotiate as best you can or talk about things that haven’t gone well and need to be improved. This is always a challenge, but one I’m also always happy to rise to. If we and the customer then achieve a good result, that’s all the more reason to leave the meeting with a good feeling.

What would you recommend to people interested in a job in sales?

I think it’s difficult to learn how to be a salesperson if you don’t have a certain affinity for it. Many people realize this simply by looking at their interests and skills and can then carefully weigh up whether this is a job for them or not. What can definitely help you find the right job is to join the company as a work/study student coupled with a course in languages. Ultimately, a flair for sales is a must; you can then learn the tools of the trade.

What do you like to do in your free time to relax from work?

I’m married and have a daughter. Back then, KHS helped me to combine family life and childcare with my career. In the balancing act between my job and my private life, no-one was left out. Otherwise I like running and am out in the fresh air every day; I like a challenge and the kick this gives me. I once did a Tough Mudder run over 12 kilometers, for instance, and have jumped off cliffs 12 meters high into the sea. I also like to ski and play squash. I really enjoy it and can burn off a lot of energy in the process!

Site Bad Kreuznach in brief

Employees

875

Trainees

50

Average years of service with the company

18 years

Company premises

115,916 m2

Founded

1887

Product portfolio

(Aseptic) fillers, Process engineering, Keg technology

KHS GmbH Planiger Strasse 139-147 | 55543 Bad Kreuznach | Germany