Filiz Albrecht, 41
Group vice president human resources, Mann + Hummel
Family: Partner, Armin
Born: Balve, Germany
Languages: German, English, Turkish
Education: MBA from Pfeiffer University, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Bachelor’s degree in business law from Westfälische Hochschule, University of Applied Sciences, Recklinghausen, Germany
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
In 1999, I started my career as a legal advisor and soon became an HR director in the automotive supplier industry. My first job was to advise managers in legal matters regarding optimization of distribution channels and sourcing activities in different markets. I was impressed by the dynamic changes in this industry and the diverse international challenges.
In my former place of employment, my team and I were able to reduce costs by almost 20 percent after an acquisition project and relocation of a company. We did this by effective process optimization, without any layoffs.
Biggest failure and what it taught you?
I learned very early in my career that it is essential to know when to change your mind and take a different path. The longer a dissatisfying situation lasts, the more frustration spreads. Life is too short to do things you don't like.
What is your current challenge at work?
We are working to manage growth in volatile and uncertain markets. The challenge is to attract, develop and retain the right "leaders." These people need to be willing and able to coach and support people in a way that every single person is able to give his or her best and be successful in an environment of consistent change and adjustment.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
It is an industry where tradition and innovation complement rather than contradict each other.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you are looking for a new opportunity, make sure that you find a supportive boss.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
It is one of the most interesting, satisfying and challenging industries to be in. If you are curious, eager to learn and can accept change as an opportunity, do not hesitate to step in.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Make sure I have passionate, brave, smart people on my team.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
A challenging job with diverse tasks in an environment of consistent development – one that's at least as good as the one I'm in today.
What do you do to relax?
Exercise, read and socialize with friends.
A cute orange 1990 Fiat 126 Bambino that cost me a lot of nerves every time I had to drive uphill.
2011-present: Group vice president human resources, extended board member, Mann + Hummel, Ludwigsburg, Germany
2007-2011: Head of legal and human resources department, Erbslöh (WKW Group), Velbert, Germany
1999-2006: Vice president human resources & legal affairs, GHE Group (Happich Fahrzeug- und Industrieteile), Wuppertal, Germany