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Controlant Program Director, Chrisi Merkel, opens up about her experience leading her team.
Can you tell us about your role at Controlant? How long have you been with the company, and how has your role evolved since you started?
I am the Program Director—the team leader of the project managers at Controlant. I’ve been with the company for a year and took over the team as the director in July 2020. As the company has been growing, the project management team had to expand too. And my goal is still to grow it further.
What’s a typical day for you at Controlant like?
There is no typical day; within Controlant no day is ever the same. I really like and appreciate that fact. Of course, you have plans for your day, but you must be flexible and change based on what’s coming in. My main role is getting my team up to speed and work on getting obstacles out of their way. I am also working on getting more structure and more professional processes into our daily work. I am participating in some of our current projects as a project manager myself but handing them over to my fabulous team more and more.
What do you like best about working here?
I love the people here! We are all so different and from various countries. It is a good thing to work with people from all over the world that have different views on how to deal with tasks. Also, to get to know other cultures is a plus. We have an exceptional culture! And even if the company was just around 70 when I started, and we are more than 160 now, you can still feel this spirit.
How would you describe the culture at Controlant?
Controlant is a big family with the goal to make the supply chain better. We live in an environment of continuous improvement. It’s a friendly place we are working in. Even if the days are busy, we always have fun.
Would you tell me a little about your background and how it has benefited you in your current position?
I was working as a team lead in a consulting company which was fast-growing, as well. I figured out that leading people is my passion, and I want to work in that position. Sometimes, I see strength and potential in people that they might not be aware of. My goal is to help them see this in themselves. Looking back after a few months and seeing them proud of what they achieved makes me happy. This is what I love.
What advice would you give others seeking to work in this field? What qualities do you feel are important?
Some advice I would give someone who would like to work in this field is that communication is key. Project management is a “people business” even though we are working with software and hardware. The customers are people. Some more advice I would offer is don’t be afraid to talk about things that are not working and offer an alternative. People in this field need to have the ability to take the things and move them forward and be solution oriented.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself?
Well, I’m German. There is no fun with me! I’m joking, of course. I have fallen in love with Iceland and have loved the culture for about 10 years now. I told everyone who said to me “You are going to move there one day,” that Iceland will always just be my vacation country. But once I’d been here for a longer time, I felt like I wanted to move to Iceland. I went home to Germany and quit my job, gave my cats and horse away. I put my life into some boxes and here I am. I do not regret it.
To learn more about career opportunities and learn how your skills and expertise can help drive innovation in supply chain, please visit Controlant/Careers. For more news and information on Controlant’s growth, visit Controlant News.