SAP Employee Finds Purpose in Fighting Fires

Just over the Switzerland boarder lies the tiny German village of Küssaberg-Küssnach – a community of a little more than 100 people.  The small town holds strong values rooted in service and leadership that have greatly influenced SAP employee Bruno Angstmann, who was raised there.

In Küssaberg-Küssnach, it is an honor to participate in the local fire brigade. And although they rarely have to get the hoses out (two to three times per year), each member must undergo 200 hours of fundamental training.

A young Bruno started his volunteerism with the brigade at age 18. After 10 years of service, he was elected chief. Part of his job as local chief was to serve as a member of the leadership team for the community of Küssaberg, which consists of six villages and 5,400 citizens.

“As the leader of the fire brigade, I have to not only be able to motivate people to join as a volunteer, but to also go through all the required training,” said Bruno. “It’s not always easy, but it’s very important to build team spirit. I want all members to feel that their contribution is highly appreciated.”

In 2013, the baton was passed to Bruno’s son Florian, who was elected to be chief. It seems Bruno has found himself in unique role reversal, as he now must follow his son’s instructions to serve on the brigade.

When he is not fighting fires, Bruno works as the director of Global Partner Operations under Daniel Ciechanower with the Partner Experience team. In this role, he looks after partner pricing and partner enablement.

When asked how his service on the fire brigade positively shaped his work at SAP, Bruno said that it helped him become a reliable team member, capable of managing people across the organization.

“You need trust and support to get the job done,” he said. “I frequently have to align with other leaders to find a common solution.”

Back in 1997, Bruno started as a team lead in System House Management, working his way up to account manager. In 2003, he did a brief stint at an SAP partner, but returned to SAP in 2006. Bruno’s manager, Daniel Ciechanower, was certainly glad for his resurgence and appreciates his leadership expertise.

“Bruno’s skills leading a fire brigade often show up in his daily work. Indirect or partner pricing sometimes requires acting in emergency situations,” Daniel said. “In these cases, Bruno understands the need for speed, while maintaining an execution plan to ensure things are managed properly. This is challenging, considering that most of us react to the immediate situation and do not evaluate surrounding risks.”

Both Daniel and Bruno were gracious enough to spend some time with me during the SAP Global Partner Summit, where we talked more about Bruno’s dedication to SAP, his service on the brigade, and his answer to the question: What is your purpose?

Top image via Bruno Angstmann