8 March 2021

Female Leaders@TUI – Kathrin Harteneck

TUI has many successful female leaders in a wide range of areas. In our series "Female Leaders@TUI" we feature these colleagues and their inspiring thoughts on the subject of equality in interview form. This time we talked to Kathrin Harteneck‍, Director Global HR-Systems & People Analytics and Group Director Executive Reward, TUI Group.

Kathrin, what is your current role at TUI?

I already started working for TUI in the destinations during university, joined as an international graduate in 2001 and worked since than in various HR disciplines. I was in charge of HR-Services and later HR-Systems & Reporting, before taking over my current role as Director Global HR-Systems & People Analytics. Together with my team and HR colleagues, we have successfully implemented our global HR IT Platform TUI People and my main focus is to continue to drive our digital HR agenda. Since last spring I am also closely involved in our current group-wide transformation projects and in addition, I took over the responsibility as Group Director Executive Reward in December alongside my previous role. We are accountable for the design of the remuneration strategy for our Global Senior Leadership Team, handle our employee share programme and support Global Mobility amongst many other things.

Who is your role model as a female leader?

There are an remarkable number of great women in the past and of course also today, and there have been very different role models in my life so far. All acting as an inspiring role model for innovation, breaking down silos and showing us new ways and opportunities.
Looking back on the last year – one persona stands out for me – Verena Pausder. Known from the start-up scene in Germany, an expert in digital education and famous author. During the Corona crisis, she put homeschooling-corona.com online and initiated the largest education hackathon in the country #wirfürschule. She is also one of the initiators of the #stayonboard initiative. This initiative is about enabling board members to combine their responsibilities at work with those for their families and their health. Currently, there are still regulations in Germany that make it almost impossible for board members to take family leave, for example. Yet it would be so important if the top management of companies were to set an example that work and family no longer have to be a contradiction in terms.

Each year we ask ourselves the same, important question: Where does our society stand in terms of female leadership?

I think the overall number of women in top business roles is still painfully low and especially the tech sector remains heavily dominated by men. The tipping point is not reached yet, but there are reasons for optimism. Numbers of female senior leaders have slightly grown, became more visible and they are really encouraging. The visibility of women at the top of businesses demonstrates to other women that it is possible for them to get there too. I am very pleased to see examples of women leaders across generations contributing their knowledge and drive for change. And we all know that diversity – not only in regards of gender - in workplace and leadership can lead to better functioning teams and, on top of that, it has also a positive effect on the performance of the business.

And what about TUI?

We are actually already in a pretty good position, around 30% of our management are women. But as always, here too there are still room for improvement. I have great female colleagues who are in positions of high responsibility and visibility, managing successful huge teams and functions and significantly contribute in shaping TUI’s transformation and future.
As far as I am concerned, I have always been on the lucky side and have received full support and trust from my managers. Working part-time in a management position and even being promoted during parental leave is simply too often not yet a matter of course today – at TUI it is possible.

There is a lot of talk about the specifics and qualities of female leadership. How are you leading?

For me good leadership has nothing to do with seniority, titles, gender or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company.
For me authenticity is crucial – how do I communicate and how do I behave? This is the foundation to build trust. I have a very collegial relationship with my team and see myself more like a coach, mentor and probably talent agent. Sharing the vision, feedback in all directions, valuing other opinions and personalities and to enable a culture of error is essential to help my team to grow. Empowerment is key and I want to open the opportunity to take over responsibility, to do things different, to step up, to succeed and to shine. This enables the team to unlock their potential, to have fun and to deliver great results. Accompanying this with promoting collaboration across the teams, continuous knowledge sharing and also some quality time together besides work.

What is your advice for young female professionals regarding growth in their careers?

My advice to young female professionals is to be self-confident, brave, open to new things, constantly self-reflect, work hard, have fun, actively formulate career aspirations and simply make a difference and yourself more visible. Build up relationships and a strong network as these are also incredibly important!