Caroline Schlienkamp is standing in front of the brand-new “village house” in Lenthe where she lives, with a big smile on her face. The half-timbered village near Hannover has around 800 residents. “Our village needed a shop and a meeting place where people can laugh and chat together,” she reported on the initiative to establish a “village house”. After five years with lots of comrades-in-arms and overcoming some challenges, the dream became reality – the “village house” was opened as a meeting place for everybody.
The village house has a lot in common with her professional career. Caroline Schlienkamp looks after the legal side of the initiative in a voluntary capacity. But that’s pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for the commercial lawyer. After all, as Head of Group Legal together with Data Protection and Compliance at Talanx AG, she’s normally dealing the legal aspects of multi-million takeovers or long-term cooperation with banking partners – to name just two examples.
The journey to the Board of Management
In 2019, the successful management of her area of responsibility took her into the Talanx Excellence Programme (TEP) – the programme prepares successful managers in the Group for their next step to positions on management boards. Together with four colleagues, she had the mission of developing a common purpose with as many employees as possible across the world: “Together we take care of the unexpected and foster entrepreneurship” was the result. And the purpose is successful – it is lived within the company and integrated in decision-making.
In April 2020, she was appointed as a Board Member of HDI Service AG and as such she is responsible for more than 350 employees in Internal Services and Purchasing Non-IT. “I very much value the wide scope for decision-making in our Group,” was how Caroline Schlienkamp summed up her motivation. The size of the Group makes her work enormously varied. “In my position, I can play an active role in shaping our destiny. This is very rewarding for me personally”. Most importantly, because she is familiar with the company and she is aware of just how much it’s changed over recent years.
Entire working life in the group
“I’ve spent virtually my entire working life in the Group – I started with an apprenticeship at Hannover Re, then I did a stint in underwriting at HDI Global, and later on, I joined the Legal Department. I’m very familiar with the Talanx Group,” she said. Now, she’s taking her key functions with her to join the Board of Management of Talanx AG and she’s going to be the first woman there. From 1 July 2022, she will also be responsible for personnel as the Director of Labour Relations. Herbert K. Haas, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Talanx AG, commented on the appointment of Caroline Schlienkamp: “Creating this new division on the Talanx Board of Management takes account of the development that functions bundled there are of key importance for international companies that are on a strong growth trajectory.” Talanx CEO Torsten Leue is also delighted that she’s joining the board: “Ms Schlienkamp is exceptionally competent and convincing, and she will enrich the work of the Board of Management with her excellent ideas and inspirational suggestions. This means that she will play a leading role in shaping the development of the Talanx Group over the coming years. The successful further development of our corporate culture is in excellent hands with Ms Schlienkamp as the future Director of Labour Relations. She will continue to develop this strategic pathway.”
New type of manager
Over the years, Caroline Schlienkamp has demonstrated impressively that she’s a new type of manager. She’s committed to consistent transparency, cooperation and autonomous responsibility for herself and for her colleagues. She very much enjoys empowering people to achieve their best performance. “I motivate, challenge and encourage, I optimise the working environment and I provide a lot of feedback,” is how the lawyer describes her management style.” She commented that making a culture of feedback and management a reality was important to her, and added that open and honest communication were equally indispensable. Personal interaction between employees and managers in an atmosphere of trust and respect forms the platform for good cooperation. Caroline Schlienkamp’s firm conviction is that part of this relates to “including employees in decisions that impact on them directly, and transferring responsibility to them,”. However, she believes that employees also have to embrace responsibility themselves – it is a two-way deal. At the same time, she’s consistent when opinions and people don’t go together.
Above all, she is always one thing – close to her colleagues. She shares and celebrates successes with her teams. Having a good relationship with the people around her is important to her. Rather like at the village house in Lenthe. When she’s enjoying her leisure time – drinking a mug of coffee, having a chat, laughing or putting in a shift behind the counter.
This news release contains forward-looking statements which are based on certain assumptions, expectations and opinions of the Talanx AG management. These statements are, therefore, subject to certain known or unknown risks and uncertainties. A variety of factors, many of which are beyond Talanx AG’s control, affect Talanx AG’s business activities, business strategy, results, performance and achievements. Should one or more of these factors or risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results, performance or achievements of Talanx AG may vary materially from those expressed or implied in the relevant forward-looking statement. Talanx AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does Talanx AG accept any responsibility for the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. Talanx AG neither intends, nor assumes any obligation, to update or revise these forward-looking statements in light of developments which differ from those anticipated.