Build something that never existed before – that was the task assigned to Carina when she started out at Pepperl+Fuchs in Brazil a year ago. Since then, the company has made huge advances in professionalizing the field of human resources for Latin America.
Carina, what was the situation like when you started at Pepperl+Fuchs in March 2022?
Carina: We have branches in four Latin American countries: Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and here in Brazil. In the area of personnel management, with focus on operational activities, there was only one HR position at our office in São Bernardo do Campo at the time, and that person was only responsible for Brazil. With about a hundred employees in all four countries, that was nowhere near enough. I was hired to build the structures for a human resources department that can operate strategically and with an eye to the future.
The way to Pepperl+Fuchs
How and from where did you join Pepperl+Fuchs?
Carina: Among other things, I worked at two large companies beforehand. I started working for a Brazilian company that focuses on infrastructure and logistics, whose responsibilities include building our highways, right when I finished my business administration degree. After that, I moved on to a maker of specialty chemicals based in Basel, Switzerland, for a few years. Both companies have large HR departments and highly defined structures for personnel management. The year before last was when I got the offer for my current position at the Pepperl+Fuchs branch in Brazil. Pepperl+Fuchs is a smaller company compared to my previous employers. But I was really excited about the idea of creating something new and being able to chart the course for the future. And I got a great opportunity to do just that right in my first few weeks.
Creating something new as a Regional HR Director Latam
What opportunity do you mean?
Carina: To mark International Women’s Day, on March 8, I joined with the women at the location to organize an event aimed at making a positive impact. We had a guest speaker who talked about women’s professional potential, followed by an excellent and encouraging discussion on the same topic. Since then, we’ve carried out further activities in this general area. Gender equality and providing career support for women within our organization are explicitly part of my job, and they’re very important to me personally.
What has been your biggest success so far at Pepperl+Fuchs?
Carina: It’s only been a year, so I think it’s a bit early to talk about my biggest success. There’s still plenty in store! (laughs) But I do think it’s a success that we were able to tackle all of the important tasks, and that we’re on the right track when it comes to implementation.
Can you give us an example?
Carina: It starts with awareness of what professional HR is. In the past, managers have mainly acted on the basis of their experience, when it came to personnel questions. They didn’t have an alternative, either. These days, it is generally accepted that there are professional structures and methods in this area that can be used to achieve better results for everyone. We offer training on these subjects, among other things. Meanwhile the HR team is set up in such a way that we can focus not just on administrative and operational work, but also on strategic tasks, such as structuring the recruiting process. After all, it’s not just about seeking out and finding the best people. We also want the entire hiring process to have a positive effect on our reputation and brand as an employer.
During the free time
What’s your favorite thing to do, aside from HR?
Carina: I’m very physically active, although not always as much as I’d like. I go to the gym to work out, and there’s a nice park nearby where I go jogging. I’m interested in other cultures. I really enjoy travel and am planning a trip to Japan right now. I live with my little dog Grace, a Lhasa Apso. Also, I like doing things with friends, and I spend a lot of time with my family, which is of Italian heritage. We carry on the Old Country custom of eating together regularly, especially on Sundays. That’s an ironclad tradition! (laughs)
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