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opportunities don't happen, ask for them: with courage, strength and empathy to success

In today's competitive landscape, seizing opportunities is essential for anyone aiming for leadership, particularly for women aiming to navigate the glass ceiling. Despite progress, women still only occupy about 25% of top positions in major companies, highlighting the necessity for a proactive approach to career advancement. Birgit Rechberger-Krammer, at the helm of Henkel's Consumer Brands across Europe, exemplifies this proactive approach. "Opportunities don't happen, ask for them," she advises, illustrating the importance of taking initiative and the courage to challenge the status quo for aspiring leaders. "It's about strategically positioning yourself, understanding the value of visibility, and mastering the art of networking," she says. Birgit's journey to leadership within Henkel's Consumer Brands in Europe showcases the significance of making one's achievements known, advocating for oneself, and embracing opportunities that align with career goals.

birgit rechberger-krammer

“Success is a combination of hard work, talent and of course a bit of luck.” - Birgit Rechberger-Krammer, Corporate Vice-President at Henkel

a new path to women in leadership: strategies to make it to the top

Birgit outlines a comprehensive approach to navigating the path to leadership, combining hard work with smart, strategic actions:

1. be seen & heard

“Your achievements should speak for you, but you must also speak for them," Birgit suggests, emphasizing the importance of self-advocacy in the workplace. Actively share your successes and contributions in meetings and with your superiors to ensure your work is recognized. Visibility is key, and it often means stepping out of your comfort zone to highlight your achievements.

2. seize opportunities

"Don’t wait for opportunities to be handed to you. Be bold and reach for them," she states. Birgit underscores the importance of volunteering for challenging projects and expressing your interest in taking on roles that stretch your capabilities. This proactive approach not only broadens your experience but also places you in the viewfinder for leadership positions.

3. learn from every experience:

"Every setback is a setup for a comeback," Birgit remarks. She encourages embracing failures and setbacks as learning opportunities, analyzing what went wrong, and using these insights to guide future actions. This mindset not only builds resilience but also enriches your problem-solving toolkit.

4. invest in yourself

"The best investment you can make is in your own growth and development," she advises. Whether it’s pursuing further education, attending workshops, or seeking feedback, investing in your personal and professional growth is crucial. Birgit highlights the importance of staying curious and keeping abreast of industry trends and skills.

5. build resilience

"Resilience doesn’t mean doing it alone. Seek support when you need it," Birgit adds. She discusses the importance of building a support network, both professionally and personally, that can provide advice, encouragement, and a different perspective during challenging times. Resilience is also about self-care and recognizing when to take a step back to recharge.

actionable insights for change

For women aiming for leadership roles, it's clear that a multifaceted strategy is required—one that includes being proactive, building resilience, and continuously learning and adapting. Birgit's journey underscores the need for women to advocate for themselves, seek out mentors, and leverage their networks.

Her story is a call to action not just for individual women but for organizations to support and foster women in leadership roles through more inclusive practices and policies. As we look to the future, Birgit's advice offers a practical roadmap for women navigating their careers in industries where the glass ceiling has yet to be shattered fully.

about Birgit:

Birgit Rechberger-Krammer has built an impressive career, starting in local sales, marketing, and customer operations in Austria in 1992. Her journey progressed through various sales roles, including Head of Key Account Management and Regional Sales Director for Central and Eastern Europe, before becoming General Manager for the Czech Republic from 2005 to 2008. Her expertise expanded into global marketing, including a role as Regional Head for Latin America. As Corporate Senior Vice President for Laundry & Home Care Europe from 2018 to 2022, and currently as Corporate Senior Vice President Europe HCB and President of Henkel Austria, Birgit demonstrates her leadership skills and strategic vision in steering the company towards growth and innovation.

about Henkel:

Henkel operates worldwide with leading innovations, brands and technologies in two business areas: Adhesive Technologies and Consumer Brands Business. Henkel employs about 48,000 people globally – a passionate and highly diverse team, united by a strong company culture, a common purpose and shared values.


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