Soccer team in a huddle

Diversity in SAP Marketing: A Very Special Project

Feature Article | December 22, 2017 by Friederike Kohl

Among the SAP employees in the Marketing EMEA & MEE organization, 38% belong to the so-called Generation Y.* Sammy Driessen is one of these young professionals, beginning her career at SAP in 2016.

“When I joined the Dutch team, the vibe was great. There were many experienced colleagues who were totally open, professional, and helped me learn a lot,” says Sammy, describing her start in SAP Marketing. As a program manager for retail and consumer products, she felt “100% involved — I do everything from planning to execution and connecting with sales. I had the possibility to grow very fast.” Today, Sammy is responsible for marketing in supply chain, IoT, and SAP Leonardo.

Taking on a challenging first job in a global corporation can be quite exciting for many young professionals. But being asked by the local managing director to take on a special project on top of this would be even more so! The SAP Netherlands management team was planning to set up a program for bringing together young professionals in the market unit and Sammy, along with a colleague from the Customer Engagement team, was asked to become one of two young professional ambassadors — an exciting opportunity that the talented marketer gratefully accepted.

“In the role, we first set up a plan together with the managing director and management team, then got some budget approved, and started to organize the first get-together for all young professionals in our organization,” Sammy explains. These young professionals are a group of approximately 60 people under the age of 30 from all different departments.  “We decided to be a bit more inclusive than only sticking to SAP’s official definition of early talent, as this would have comprised only five people in the Netherlands.”

Aside from many informal meetings for lunch and coffee, the community gets together onsite in S’Hertogenbosch once a quarter to engage with the local leadership team, get to know each other, and do group activities like bowling or even bootcamp with Dutch marines. And selected interdisciplinary sub-groups of the community work together on questions raised by the management team, such as how to optimize the recruiting process for young talents.

For Sammy, all of this means extra work in addition to her role in marketing, but she finds the time worth spent: “It’s so rewarding to see the trustful and fruitful relationship we have established within the community. And it is invaluable for my personal development because of the visibility and networks. It gives me a lot of energy!”

In turn, this energy, network and inspiration is useful for Sammy’s day-to-day job: “I work in a position that I really like. I go to work every day with a big smile and have a good balance of fun and learning. Marketing’s role is changing and as young professionals, we can be change ambassadors within the organization. I try to always think one step further, think out of the box, and try to communicate with my audiences in a new way, especially via digital channels.” A great example of this is the Run Live Truck, which was a huge success in the Netherlands and initiated by young professionals.

When asked about her learning and an advice she would give to other young professionals, Sammy is quite clear: “I learned that it’s most important to be yourself and work on your visibility inside the whole organization, not just your own department. I encourage everyone to think out of the box, be committed, go forward and pitch your ideas, and things will work out.”

*A generation is defined as identifiable group that shares birth years, age, location, and significant life events at critical developmental stages. Generation Y includes birth years 1980-1994 (definitions vary).

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