Leadership Fireside Chat with Dr. Katrin Suder
I'm happy to extend this invitation for our first event of the year ERG Women in Sales in EMEA with Dr. Katrin Suder.
This time Dr. Katrin Suder, Board of Directors at Cloudflare, will join us in our Munich office to talk more about her role as Cloudflarian, as mother, her hobbies, life experience, motivations, and more!
Dr. Suder has served as a member of our Board of Directors and as a member of our audit committee since August 2019. Dr. Suder has served as Chairperson of the Advisory Council on Digitalization to the German Federal Government since August 2018.
She has also been an industrial advisor to EQT, a private equity firm, since October 2018, and a partner at Macro Advisory Partners, a strategic advisory firm, since January 2019. From August 2014 until April 2018, Dr. Suder served as State Secretary for the German Federal Ministry of Defense. From October 2000 to July 2014, she was with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting company, where she managed the German Public Sector Practice from 2010 to 2014.
Dr. Suder currently serves on the supervisory boards of several private European companies. Dr. Suder holds a B.A. in German Literature and Theater and a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience from Ruhr University Bochum.
Hi everybody, thank you for joining us today in our event Success Women in EMEA. We have a great audience today in the office and also many colleagues online watching from different offices worldwide, from Europe to US, LATAM and APAC.
My name is Annel Quevedo and I am the lead for Women in Sales in EMEA.
In my experience in different companies and now at Cloudflare, I see how important it is to encourage, uplift, mentor and empower other women in the world of tech and sales to achieve success.
As a woman in sales, I see that we have a call to action to support and empower ourselves, to respect and recognize all those strong women who do their best every day for themselves, for their families and for our society.
How many of us close our eyes and do not allow ourselves to see all that we can achieve, all that potential?
It has happened to me and most probably to many of us, but we can allow ourselves.
The most important thing is to realize that we can achieve it and we have many examples like the woman sitting here or the ones at the other side of the screen.
Women who have a struggle to achieve their dreams, their goals, but they keep trying again every day.
We have to believe in ourselves, believe that women can succeed and be at high positions in any industries we are involved in.
Today, we see an example of a woman like us who has climbed up the ladder and who has gone very far.
Katrin is that woman for me, a woman who represents us and that shows us that it is possible to achieve our goals.
Katrin Suda, for all of you who don't know about Katrin, Katrin is a German politician and management consultant.
She has been serving as a member of our Board of Directors and as a member of our Audit Committee.
Katrin served as a State Secretary for the German Federal Ministry of Defense during Angela Merkel's government.
She has served as Chairperson of the Advisory Council on Digitalization to the German Federal Government since August 2018.
Well, without further ado, welcome Katrin.
Thank you. Thank you.
And actually, I think you deserve a big round of applause for your initial words.
That was very, very well said. Thank you. So yeah, let's start. Katrin, besides that successful woman and important woman that you are now, and now that we're among women here, who is Katrin as a woman?
Oh, that's a tough one to start. Who is Katrin as a woman? That's a good question.
I think, maybe when I try to give an answer to that, I think my core thing is I'm a feminist.
And I do believe, and I know that there are many younger people here who don't even know what a feminist is, I guess.
But I do believe in collaboration among women.
I do believe that we still have to fight. I do believe that we need to support each other.
And I do believe that we still have a way to go.
I do believe that we need the man on our side to get there.
But I think I'm a very, I'm a reflected woman. And I think that woman, or the female identity was always part of my identity.
Maybe that's an answer. I tried.
Oh, well answered. And you say you're a feminist. But besides that, tell us, what do you think is your superpower as a woman?
I don't know that I have a superpower as a woman.
But I think when I reflect on my career, and I was always conscious that it is a different way than most of my male colleagues had.
But I was always trying to make sure that I don't adapt the behaviors of them, but that I try to play it with my rules, be it female rules, be it feminist rules.
And a small example, and with all respect to the man here, and some might know these behaviors, of course, nobody in the room, but you might have seen it somewhere else, that when you come into a room, and there are whatever, five men, and you're the only woman, that the men tend to have a little bit of a competitive behavior.
And who's the most important in the room, trying to check up the places, who's sitting where, and so on.
And if you're the only one coming in, you can just smile, take your seat, watch them while they play their thing, and start the meeting.
And so I think, don't play the game with them.
You're never going to be as good as them, because they do it since they were brought up.
And so I know it's a bit of a cliche, and I know things are changing, but sometimes not that fast.
So that, I think, is maybe one thing which I try to do.
Okay, thank you. And well, it's great to hear that you also have to adapt that superpower to your political professional life.
But now, moving to your journey into politics, can you tell us more about your journey, and how you got into politics?
Like, why politics, and how you became a leader in that area as a woman?
Yeah, happy to do so. But maybe to begin with, I'm not a politician.
I'm not even a party member. So I was a civil servant. And for me, this is important, because basically, I took on a management role in government.
And how did it came about?
Well, actually, pretty simple. I was a management consulting with McKinsey & Company for almost 15 years.
And I was leading the McKinsey work for the public sector.
So I was serving public sector clients. And for a consultant, it's actually a pretty normal thing that one day you switch sides.
And Ursula von der Leyen was my client. And so I know her when she was still Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.
And then she was appointed as the Minister of Defense.
And well, so one day, that's actually a long story, but I cut it short.
One day, she asked me whether I would switch sides. And I was equally honored.
And I saw the big chance of doing that. I mean, I was responsible for 20 billion budget spending.
That's quite a number. So I was equally honored and saw the chance to do it.
And so I switched side. It was a much longer story, but really short.
Great. So in that case, you have the support from somebody that will help you to do this transition.
But do you see now other women empowered or being helped in politics or in that environment at the moment?
In general, I think it is very important to have sponsors, and also male and female sponsors.
And throughout my entire career, I had sponsors, usually male sponsors, because they were the ones in the leadership positions.
But it's very, very important. And when I was in leadership positions, I tried to empower young people, male and female, but also especially female and diverse a group of leaders to empower them, to give them opportunities.
In politics, and like I said, I'm not a party member. So politics is a very difficult to be diplomatic industry or business.
And there are many dirty, dirty things going on in the public and all the hate and so on.
And there's one very difficult thing that with social media, we know from research, that especially female politicians get most of the hate quotes on social media, and many women and politicians are checking out already.
So they're leaving jobs, roles, platforms, so that we actually see a roll back in politics and women in politics.
And so that is not a good development, I would say.
So you don't see any change coming soon for women in politics?
I mean, many things have changed. And it depends, you know, whether the glasses are full or half empty.
I mean, when I look back, I was appointed in 2014.
I was the first female State Secretary in the entire Ministry of Defense.
And with my biography, and you can take now whether I'm, you know, I have been out and proud since I was 18, whether I'm a female, then, you can take any of those dimensions.
I was a consultant. It was impossible to think that a woman would be in that role.
I was responsible for buying all the weapons of the German forces.
And it was impossible to think 10 years back, even 25, whatever, that a woman would ever, ever get a position like that.
So we've come a long way.
And things are changing. The question is, is it fast enough?
And you know, I wouldn't be who I am if I think we're fast enough. Yeah, well, you mentioned, well, things are changing.
And I think politics and the area where you work, I guess is like sales.
It's like a roller coaster with ups and downs, dealing with economic, social and political situations that are impacting people worldwide.
It is a huge responsibility. And here I recommend to read Catherine's book, that's Geopolitische Risiko, for the ones who would like to know more about that topic.
So my question is, what are the skills, tools or mentality that help you show empathy and remain resilient?
Yeah, that's, again, a very good one.
I think maybe one of my, I don't know what it is, whether it kept me empathic or resilient, or whether it's just when it's authenticity.
And when I reflect on that, as I just have said, I've been out and proud since I'm 18.
And one of the reasons is why I decided to go out immediately, in addition to probably that it was my political conviction, is I have a very, very bad memory.
And so if you start building up a liar career, like, you know, this is my friend, and he's called Wolfgang or whatever, you know, I would forget the name and I was Wolfgang.
So I very soon decided that I have only one chance to be absolutely authentic and ever always try to tell exactly the truth, exactly how I feel, because otherwise I run into huge trouble.
So and I think that is something which I learned early on and started to practice early on.
And I think it helped me tremendously.
Because by that, you know, you always get what you see.
There's no hidden agenda. There's no, there's no, there's no sideways, there's no, you always hear exactly what I think.
And I think that is something which also helped me to keep empathy.
And one thing, because I can relate to people, because there's it's always you get what it is.
And the second thing, you don't rethink stuff so much, you don't sit at home during the night.
And then, you know, because, you know, it's always it's out, and I don't take it home.
When you know, when somebody comes to me and tells me something I don't like, or I feel angry about, I tell immediately, and I don't take things home.
And I think that helped me probably most.
Yeah. And thanks for sharing. And especially being authentic, I think that applies in all industries, doesn't matter where you are.
But can you share maybe a key moment or experience that contributed to that growth as a female?
And what actions help you grow even more as a leader in the future? Only one.
So, I think throughout my life, I have to say, and it started, I'm going to start very early.
I think I had many of these moments where I, because when I grow up as a kid, there was not, you know, female, male, that was for me, not a category.
But then I went to school, and to the higher school, and I was at a school which I was the first mixed year.
So before, we're all men or boys. So I was the first mixed year.
And it started, I don't know in which grade, but it started that teachers behave differently.
And that it was just that it became a category. And I would even say that some form of, I didn't call it that way, but some form of discrimination happened.
And it was that, and I started to reflect, gender seems to be a category.
And the biggest shock was when I was brought up very Catholic, and I was a church member, and I wanted to serve, to become a Messdienerin.
And I wasn't allowed.
I wasn't allowed because I was a girl. And it was for me, it was crazy.
I didn't understand. So I'm not allowed to serve God in the service because I'm a woman.
And I can tell you many more of these moments where I recognized gender matters.
And I was shocked in the beginning. I was shocked. I was sad.
I didn't understand. And I have a very, very powerful mother. And so I understood that I have to start to engage, to change things.
And so I started engaging.
I left the church, and I started engaging in activities. I was out on the street on demonstrations when I was younger, obviously.
And then when I become in leadership roles, I started to engage for diversity and inclusion initiatives.
So many of these moments.
And I think it's changing. And I do believe so much in the younger generation because I think we start that it's not a category anymore.
But the way I was brought up, it was a category.
Okay, so I see that you're super busy.
You are engaged not just with your work, with your family, but also in other social activities, which is great.
Also empowering other communities and more people and so on.
But also related with that, since you're very busy, let's get serious now.
Okay. Can you then share your secret to stay motivated and driven over the years in pursuing your goals?
Like, where do you draw all this energy to sustain your momentum?
Yeah, that's again a good one.
I think it's probably a combination of upbringing. So I come from a very engaged political household.
And my parents, I think they somehow injected that as I have quite some privileges.
So I had a good upbringing. We had enough money.
It was pretty straightforward that I'm going to go to university.
I'm healthy and I'm white. And so there are many privileges. And my parents injected to me that privileges are an obligation to engage always, because I can choose to opt out.
But that's a choice other people don't have. So always you have to engage.
I think that is a very important part of my upbringing. And the other thing is, just from my personality type, I get energy when I meet people.
So I know for other people, it's different.
It's just a burden to meet people. But for me, I get energy when I'm engaged, when I talk to you, when I get ideas.
And so that gives me energy.
It's not draining energy. So I guess it's a combination of upbringing and genes as usual.
So probably both. Wow. And you mentioned before that you had like a mentor or somebody who was helping you always, a male figure.
What do you admire the most?
Or what are some of the learnings that you got through that mentor?
I think many practical advices, right? I mean, I used to call my mentor and say, I have a decision to take, or I have a problem to face.
How would you deal with that?
And I think it's just actively looking for help, for advice. What can I do better?
Or give me how did you deal with the situation? I mean, most of the things we do and we face in our life and our careers are things which you don't learn that at university or at school, right?
And so I think it's good to ask for advice and for help and for feedback.
So it's not that one thing I would say, but I think it's many, many little things and constantly developing and getting feedback.
Yeah, I think that's probably it. And while you were asking for this advice, were you in a position or in a moment where you were actually receiving different advices from different people?
And then, yeah, thanks, but where should I go in this direction now?
That is actually a very important point. Because when you get advice, you have two things.
First thing is that some people or many people who give advice do it out of their own perspective.
And sometimes they're also self-interested, which is okay, right?
But I think it's important to ask for that transparency.
So are you giving me that advice now out of your role as my boss? Or because you want A or B, what is now the hat you're wearing?
And I think that is what I learned to also when I give advice or when I give feedback, that I say, I do this now out of this perspective as the board member, as your friend, as whatever it is.
And so it's only a limited perspective. I think that is so super important because that person always has their own agenda.
You can't help. And the second thing I think what you said is that you have to look what is resonating.
Some stuff is resonating and some stuff you just think, no, that's just bullshit.
So let it go, right?
I mean, not everything is helpful. And in the end, you have to take your decision.
So I think it's a very important point because we get bombarded with stuff.
Yeah. And now that you have so much experience and so much advice and you've worked with many people, you as a woman with so much experience and expertise, now what will you, what advice will you offer to us women in sales to advance in our careers?
Like in your opinion, what is the most critical factor, particularly as a woman based on your experience?
Only the most critical. Okay. Okay.
Okay. I take two. Okay. So I think one thing is what I said earlier. So be yourself, try to be yourself.
And I think that applies more to women than to men. And the second advice I think I give to everyone, but this one I think is more to women.
Don't try to pretend, either be a super woman or this role or that, and just be yourself, right?
And a little example, when I, one of my actually female mentors, she took me out to go shopping once because she said, Katrin, not a good look.
And I was going like, okay, yeah, well, maybe.
And so we went shopping. And after three and a half hours, we ended up with nothing but some champagne.
She was completely frustrated.
I was completely frustrated, but I learned that it not helpful.
It's just the way I'm dressed and it's my way. And I'm not going to adjust my style to whatever the others want.
And this is just a little example, because that's how I feel well, that otherwise I couldn't give that talk here.
So try to be yourself.
And the second one is, I know it sounds a bit like a platitude, but do what you love to do, where your passion is.
And why? Because out of two things, first of all, if you do what you love to do and where your passion is, you're going to be better at it.
Because you're simply going to be better. And the second thing is, if you fail in the end, and you might fail, we all might fail, and I failed.
If you fail in the end, then at least you had fun and you did what you want to do.
So that, I know it's not always possible.
And you have so and so many duties which you have to fulfill.
But I try, go where your heart is, go where you're passionate. I think that is very important.
And not where you think you should go, or what you think you should do.
Yeah. A third one? Okay. But just if you stay longer with us tonight. Okay.
No, no. Frank is managing that agenda. We have a talk to deliver. So the third one is, because I do think it applies, again, a bit more to women, is if somebody offers you an opportunity, say yes.
Not always, not every time, but say yes.
And I know that it's so hard, especially for women when they're offered a bigger role, a different role, they go back and say, oh no, no, no, I can't do that.
I don't have the skills. Oh no, no, I'm so bad at that. I will never, ever fail.
You know, when you offer an opportunity, not to everyone, not to the men in the room, but to a man, they say, oh yes, of course, great, deal, I go for it, right?
And we know that we reflect too much. And I think every now and then, just say yes.
Because only if you say yes, and by the way, it doesn't matter whether you get there by quota or not, forget it, forget it.
It doesn't matter why you got there, you have to deliver when you're there.
And there, I think some women have to say yes a bit more.
Yeah. And now, moving a little bit to the family area, you were mentioning that you're also involved with your family, with other communities.
But as we know, COVID changed a lot the way we work, and how we do different activities.
Tell us what changed for you, from a personal and work point of view, since the pandemic?
Something that maybe you didn't used to do with your family or at work, and now it's like a priority, maybe?
I think the most important point is that I travel a lot less.
And I love it. I love it. So I think that is the biggest advantage.
And I think we did so much senseless travel, especially in my positions.
You went for a two-hour meeting, flying around Europe. It's crazy.
And that gave me, obviously, time with the family. And that is a great gift, and I don't want to go back.
So that is, for me, very important. Yeah, I think that's probably the most important thing, to really be more thoughtful about my and other people's time, and that we avoid the senseless traveling around.
And now tell us, what does success mean to you?
I mean, there's formal success, right? You have your objectives, your goals, right?
So for example, we are a successful board if we have the company to manage risks and to be on top of the economical targets.
So sometimes the goals are clearly defined.
But if you ask me for my private life, what is success?
Actually, it sounds a bit, just afraid of saying it. You know, success is for me when I'm happy.
So happiness is, you know, and I'm happy if the family is happy, if I'm well, if I'm good.
So I actually think being happy is a quite good goal, at least for me.
So it might sound a bit hedonistic, but maybe it is.
And has this definition of success changed with the years, with the experience that you have gained?
Yeah, obviously, you know, when I started my career, I was obviously ambitious and driven a lot more than I am today.
Yes, that has changed.
And life goes in phases. And currently, for me, rebalancing a bit and having more time with my wife and my, our three kids, I think is super important.
And it was less important, obviously, 10 years back, right, when I was in the middle of the career.
And the trade-offs were different. So yes, it has changed, obviously.
Yeah. And it also has changed when I entered politics or government, because the objectives are so different, right?
I mean, when you are responsible for the security and the equipment of the soldiers, and if you are dealing with life and death, things change.
And yes, then obviously, sometimes ebit margin is a different objective.
It still matters. Yeah, numbers matters, but it rebalanced.
And it was very difficult for me when I got out of government to actually what is the next thing to do?
What is the purpose? What is important? And so this is what I'm constantly probably questioning.
Am I spending my time right on the right things with the right purpose?
You just mentioned that you had a very, I think, for me, would be a very hard role, what you were doing, like buying weapons and and this role that you had.
But still, I guess, in your daily life, you still have challenges and different difficult situations.
What do you think that is something that keeps you awake at night?
Cyber. No, cyber keeps me. I used to say that when I was still in office.
And this is part of the reason why I'm why I'm honored and grateful that I'm, you know, I'm with Cloudfire board, and with the company, because I do believe it's one of the biggest challenges we have.
Everything is connected, everything will be hacked, and it is hacked. And the problem is that, in addition to the commercial hackers, you know, the criminals that we have this geopolitical conflict, and cyber, and this is what I used to say when I was in office is, it is the ideal first hit weapon.
It's the ideal weapon, because it's super cheap.
I mean, take a Eurofighter or F-35 that costs a billion, right?
I mean, you don't need a lot of money for hacking. It's very hard to find the one.
So you always have to have no fear that you're going to be arrested, sent to jail, whatever.
And it's tremendously devastating, and it has real impact on real people.
So for me, and this is why we built up in my time when I was in office, the cyber army, we opened up cyber as a new military dimension, because I was saying, you know, that is where the military conflict can hit us.
And so it really keeps me awake at night.
I don't know. Yeah, it's just true, it is. Obviously, also that something happening with the kids, but I think everybody who has kids knows that this is the worst nightmare ever.
But yeah, that's what keeps me awake at night.
Okay, and yes, last question, because I also want to give the chance to hear our audience to ask some questions.
Just to finish, can you tell us also, Katrin, not that you are so like, empowered and important, and you have achieved already so many things.
I have to say one thing about important and sorry for the international colleagues.
In German, I always say, wichtig kommt von Wicht.
So you have achieved so many things, but what other personal and professional goals do you aspire to achieve?
Yeah, I think on the professional side, one thing is obviously that I want to, you know, spend my time and my energy on the right topics, and try to have as much impact as is possible.
But also, and you mentioned in the side comment, my wife and myself, we founded a social entrepreneurial company, which is a non-for-profit company, and we're trying to to scale our activities there.
So that is, for me, very important. We want to do our share, our contribution back to society.
And personally, like I said, I want to spend time with my family and be a happy camper.
And I still think that this is, yeah, that's probably my goals.
Okay, so you talked a lot about feminism, we talked about female empowerment, and I think these are topics that are very prominent at the moment.
And you see like lots of content about it on social media and all kinds of media.
Good content, but also like really low quality content sometimes, I feel.
And what do you think are statements, perceptions around these concepts that are actually not helping women in any way?
Maybe also things that are communicated that you think are a bit dangerous to the concept of female empowerment or feminism.
Yeah, that's a very good one.
First of all, I have to, just for context, state that I'm not on social media.
Not at all. So maybe you consider LinkedIn social media, but I don't.
It's an address book. But I'm not posting stuff, I'm not reading stuff. So in many discourses I'm not in, because I like still the double click and the long read.
I think the quota debate has been very difficult. This is why I put that side comment in that I'm a big supporter of quarters.
And I don't mind that, you know, I was a quota woman, of course.
I was the first McKinsey female partner to lead an office in Germany.
Yeah, that was a quota role. To be honest, there was a male quota before, so yeah.
Thank you. So especially if the comments come from women, obviously they're not so helpful.
But I think there's a generational thing with that, because the first generation, I'm already the second generation.
So the first generation I think still has that I was in the weeds and you have to be in the weeds and so on.
So I think there's a generational thing. I think we have to get an honest debate about identity.
That is a super difficult one, super difficult. And I think it can only be led in very respectful and communities.
But I think we have to get our arms around this.
How do we deal with that? And in the LGBTQIA plus community, which I'm obviously belong to, I think that's an important community.
And how do they relate to each other?
But that's a very difficult one to lead in public.
So I'm shying away for that. But it's one that I lead a lot. Thank you. Let's say Catherine, you are now talking to the 25 years old Catherine.
Which suggestion would you give her?
Just be a bit more relaxed. Yes, just be a bit more relaxed.
And this is, you know, I mean, yes, way back when it were different times, and not everything was better or worse, whatever.
But for example, when I was applying for my first job after I did my PhD, I was actually applying to Siemens.
I was a physicist by training. I wanted to be at Siemens. And they rejected my application.
I wasn't even invited for an interview. And they said, I'm overqualified.
It's something that, you know, you all of you, you're going to have a great future.
We live in different times, right? We look for people, good people always, and people always get a job now today.
That was very different when I was younger.
But I would in general say, just be a bit more relaxed. And I think I was three years into the McKinsey role when I first thought I have to change something.
And the idea, and this goes back to your question, what makes me tick, and I think I don't want to be unhappy.
And so I'm a nerd by nature. So I did a very nerdy thing.
I have my own Excel. And I take a moving average. And every day, I make a green or red cross.
And if they're moving average over three months, too many red crosses, more than green, because it was a bad day, the red cross, then I change something, whatever it is.
So and I started doing that. And so I keep changing stuff, because I recognize, you know, I stopped sport, for example, because I was 80 hours busy.
Stupid. Start sport again. Or I changed the team, because I couldn't get along with my boss or stuff like that.
So, so always try to, you know, stay happy.
So I think that is that is something which it's very nerdy, I know. But so that is something which I would tell my younger start earlier, be more relaxed and start changing things if you've, if you're for a longer period, are not unhappy.
And there's only one person which makes you happy, and that's yourself.
So take care. I think the male colleagues are allowed to ask questions as well, aren't they?
I was just wondering what the brief is. So I would like to ask what new skill or competency did you learn or develop recently?
Yeah, that's also a very good one.
I think being a prompt engineer or trying to get there is one which I'm working on.
Because as we discussed it before the talk, jet GPT is going to be I do believe in the disruptive potential.
So I was actually getting my head deep into that.
And also in the prompting, that is a technical skill. And I'm a bit afraid that I invest more in content technical skills, because I'm such a nerd.
But if I if I do think about what are what are more social things that I actually learn to also say a bit stronger, no, and I'm not doing this other call, because I'm a consultant by training.
So I'm used to say, yes, of course, yes, of course, I can do that.
And so sometimes saying no, no, it's not good that I'm that I'm working on.
You talked about quota earlier, the quota discussion and how difficult it's been, like in the past, and I think it's probably difficult for women and for men, like different views on it.
In the end, it's about empowerment. Do you think there are better ways of empowerment than quota?
First of all, I think that we need basically everything, right?
Especially when we also talk DNI.
And you know, we need we need we need it all across and quotas alone will not do the trick.
But we have seen for years and ages that without quota, things are not changing.
I mean, if you look at the supervisory board, since we have the quota, things are changing.
If you look at the at the management board, since we have the quotas, things are changing.
And I think it is sad in a way. It's not that the quota per se is something I find I find good.
But we also know from research that if a minority stays below a certain number, and we can now debate what it is, they don't have the enforcement themselves to get big enough.
So we have to get a quota in place to bring them there.
And we can now debate where it lies.
But so that is why I think, at least I've seen, I've seen it for too long, that things are not moving without quota.
At the beginning of your talk, you gave a negative example of how you work with male colleagues.
And you explained how you dealt with that personally. What would you wish for your male colleagues to do to to counteract that negative example?
Or maybe you have a personal anecdote you can share of where someone did the right thing, instead of, you know, the negative sort of male behavior, which you then kind of waited to go over?
Yeah, that's a good one. I think it is. And, you know, there are many, many, many colleagues out there who get it intuitively, right?
Or because they, you know, they thought about it.
And I think the most important thing is, and this holds true for everyone, and this is the core to D&I, is to be inclusive.
And how are you inclusive?
To change perspective. And I think this is the most important thing is trying to really change perspective and trying to understand why is it so different for somebody else?
And this applies to gender, but it applies to everything else, right?
Even to, you know, you're a psychologist, and I'm a physicist.
So we have very different backgrounds. And our software engineer and hardware, right?
I mean, people don't understand each other. One has a waterfall logic, and the other one is agile.
Two different worlds. And I think to really understand what is it that you actually mean, and what is going on when you say something.
I think that is the most important advice. And with that, we're not only making it an inclusive environment, we might get a better environment.
It's hard work.
It's hard work. It's not the easy way. Being around with little mini patrons is a lot easier.
But it's not making us better. And it's not delivering better results.
And it's not making us better human beings. So that is, I think, the one.
So if the male colleagues are, you know, whatever, you know, you're in the majority in the room, you know, invite the woman.
Or, you know, just change perspective.
How would you feel if you were the only man, right? So I think that is change of perspective is, I think, for me, the most important thing.
Is there a book you would recommend for women to read to feel more empowered, and like, especially in a male dominated industry, or not only professionally, but also privately?
Oh, that's a good question. I don't have an answer to that. No.
Actually, I don't have one. That got me on the wrong foot. So I have to blank out on it.
But one of my famous books, which has also something to do with change of perspective, and DNI is a science fiction.
And it's He, She, It, which has a lot to do with identity and everything.
I think that is a book. And otherwise, my wife wrote two great books.
So I can always recommend them. And a lot better than my book.
So I can recommend, only in German, unfortunately, but that I can recommend.
Marge Piercy is the author. Not my wife. She's Katja Kaus. But Marge Piercy is He, She, It.
So you mentioned JetGPT before, right?
And before... That was kind of cool. I'm live streaming you in the other room.
So you mentioned JetGPT before, and you're fascinated.
Actually, Annel and I, we used it a little bit before the interview. Not saying that the questions were from JetGPT.
They're authentically from Annel. But how do you think is the impact, or how can women use AI technology like JetGPT to empower themselves even more than now?
Wow. That's a very good one. And I'll answer next door.
Okay. Tschüss. Tschüss dann. You know, I have to sneak in an anecdote.
When I was in office, and I had to go to parliament, which was kind of my supervisory board, and then politicians, they always make it like that.
They ask a question, go out, and tell the media the answer.
So completely crazy. So that just reminded me that... Anyways. So I have not thought about the dimension of female empowering and JetGPT.
I have to think about that.
That's a very good one. I don't know, because it has such a disruptive potential that maybe he has an answer, but he left.
So I don't know. I don't know.
I have to chew on that. I don't know. The only thing is that sometimes women are a bit more away from technology.
And so I encourage everyone to test it out, because I think that's maybe...
But I don't have an answer. Sorry.
So we spoke already about quota, and we spoke about that we need different sponsors from male and female side.
But is there maybe another mechanism or tool you observed in other companies that we don't do yet at Cloudflare?
Oh, unfortunately, there's this different one, because I don't know what you're all...
What is it that you're all doing here?
So I think is what we know that educative programs help, be it unconscious bias, but unconscious bias is not solving everything, but actually programs help.
So educating and educating also the male colleagues, these help.
We know that. And we know that because gender or DNI is one thing. My experience is, and we didn't really talk a lot about this, is where it really kicks in is when kids come into play.
Being a mother is a completely different story. I think the gender thing, we're getting almost there and getting it right.
The parent thing, and this applies for primary caretakers, so for fathers who take the care as well, it really gets...
I wanted to say the shit hits the fan, but I shouldn't do that, sorry.
But I think this is when it gets really, really difficult. And just to be very clear here, there were many nights I was crying.
So I think we have to address that topic.
And you can only address it if you get the primary caretakers to tell what they need.
Because as I know from my own experience, no child, child, you can't imagine.
When mothers were telling me, I don't know when to shower, I was going, yeah, come on.
Not so difficult to get a shower. When I had my first baby, I was wondering, when can I shower?
So I think that is an important dimension to get it going.
And there you need programs to change stuff, because it's very specific.
Women in France may need something different because they have a different kindergarten system than we have it here.
So I think that's, for me, an important dimension.
Okay, all righty.
So before we end our fireside chat with Katrin, I'd like to give you something, not just from our audience here, but also from all women in sales by Cloudflare.
And this is for you. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for joining and for sharing all this bunch of knowledge and experiences.
I think this is very good for all of us women.
This is very empowering, motivating, at least for me, and I think for many of us.
Thanks also for the audience here and also worldwide watching from their homes or offices.
See you next time with more successful women in EMEA.
Thank you so much.