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Meet the women and men of Worldline – Susanne Baltes

Meet the women and men of Worldline
Susanne Baltes

Susanne Baltes

Head of Software & Service Delivery for Mobility & e-Transactional Services at Worldline Germany

What is your line of work? Why did you join the technology business in the first place? What motivated you?

Sometimes, when one of my friends ask me “What is your daily job?“, I start laughing, because my answer depends on the day, the week, the month. In our small team, I am involved in customer projects, administration and team management. In short, I do everything and of course in very different areas.

In my role as Head of Software & Service Delivery for Mobility & e-Transactional Services in Germany, I am responsible for about 45 employees with nearly the same number of customers in different markets such as e-Health, Telecommunications, Payments, Transports, Contact Centres, Connected Solutions and Security. My departments build solutions for our own products but also offer services to customers for Worldine’s Global Services such WL Contact. Here, we are in direct contact with customers at all the stages of the projects, starting from the bid to the maintenance or run.

Typically, I am part of the bid team and involved in contracting and defining the offer. At a later stage, I am part of the steering committees and the escalation path. Together with Mobility & e-Transactional Services’ Management, Sales and Portfolio, we break down the company’s objectives and share them with my team, follow the strategy, plan the resources and support other departments in case of questions.

To be involved in new technologies and in new products and offerings to customers that are building the next generation of IT is a great aspect of my business life.

The decision to work in an IT company, and to switch from a bank, was linked to the fact that change management and future-oriented products are mainly in this branch. I like to be part of a company that builds future technologies and is part of the digital driven society.

 

What do you find more challenging in your profession?

Speed! On one hand, we have to have the speed to push our customers but, on the other hand, we have to be the partner for stable projects. Security and trust founded on long term relationships and this are not short wins.

Our Worldline location in Aachen was founded about 40 years ago. From legacy payment business to modern NFC-based payment options, here you can witness the wide range of our offerings.

In my teams, some customers have long lasting contracts (10-15 years), sometimes still with the same contact persons on both sides. But this does not entail that these customers only use legacy solutions. Indeed, we often develop, together with these long-term customers, new products and new aspects of end customers’ needs.

 

What are you most proud of in your work?

I am more or less an enabler for the team – so I am proud of my team and our success stories. To give my colleagues the right work environment and this does not just mean a room, nice desks, free coffee and one event every year. It is more about giving them projects that best fit their knowledge, that have reachable targets and personal development opportunities.

 

Being a woman in a technology company, which is a business sector where women are less represented in average than in banking or media and communication for example, what would you say to young women thinking about their future professional orientations?

From a personal career choice point of view, it is important to be able to live up to one’s preferences and to use one’s strengths in order to be satisfied with one’s work on a daily basis. It is very good to be able to understand technology and computer science, to compete with colleagues and to be up to the challenge. Certainly a position in a male-dominated environment can be strenuous as a woman tends to be observed more closely. But this "unique selling proposition" is also an advantage, since it can be a challenge for men to assess the goals, motivation and strengths of women. Those who can use this to their advantage can be successful in such an environment.

 

What would you advise your female colleagues to do within Worldline to successfully develop their career path?

It is important that they emphasize their strengths, make the successes clear and not hide when it comes to responsibilities. It can be sometimes easier for a woman to not put herself in the spotlight but instead shine the light on her whole team. In the long run, this is important in two ways: constant success can only be achieved with a good team AND there are fewer competitors if the whole team receives praises for its successes.

 

What would say to your male colleagues?

I do not make distinctions between genders. As a manager, I promote everyone equally. I try to find out who feels most comfortable in which role and in which task someone can bring the highest added value for the success of the team. If someone has doubts about someone else’s responsibilities and looks for the reason in the gender question, I would clearly question that and try to find a "neutral" solution. Of course, it is also possible that after 20 years in a male-dominated environment and in a leadership role, I no longer notice it at all. And this is precisely the special working atmosphere at Worldline.

 

What advices would you give to achieve work-life balance?

There is an easy rule: in both areas, you are responsible for your team AND for your family and you must keep your promises also on both sides. This is not always easy because sometimes one side’s target could be in conflict with the other side’s wishes. Availability is also a challenge. Personally, everything is part of my overall life and of equal importance to me. Therefore, at home, we often discuss work aspects and my husband and my son are also welcome at Worldline to know that part of my life. Our Summer Barbeque Event at Worldline, with all colleagues and their families, is one important aspect of this balance. Another aspect is sport: I run and swim with my family and, once a year, I am the Captain of a Worldline Team at the B2Run Aachen. Success at a sporting event creates great Team Spirit!

How has Worldline helped you to advance in your career and reach your professional goals?

Worldline offers many opportunities to further your education. The flexibility of the organization and the diversity of the tasks also mean that everyone can find their niche and thus contribute to their growth and that of the company.

Worldline’s LEAD training has helped me to build my way of leading a team. In addition, I had the great opportunity to be part of the “Gold for Manager” program.  Combination of business education, team building and projects has brought me a big step closer to my personal goals. The opportunity to be in charge of a team has also opened new avenues to be part of a Management team.

Finally, small unplanned activities have opened new horizons. For example, last year, I had the chance to be the host, for one day, of the “Atos Presidents Club” at our offices, which enabled me to meet many great colleagues from Atos and Worldline.