When two prominent female figures in the digital industry come together to talk about innovation and the changes that are shaping our times, you just know it is going to be an interesting conversation: Tijen Onaran is the founder and CEO of Global Digital Women, which is considered one of the leading diversity companies in Germany. Dr. Salima Douven is driving new ideas and innovations as Head of Open Innovation & Incubation at Henkel dx, the digital division of Henkel. Here, they talk openly and honestly about diversity and a “doer mentality” that is fast becoming a crucial business asset.
Tijen: It’s an important event. On the one hand, as you say, it’s about visibility, giving young talent a stage. On the other hand, I’m asked time and again whether such events actually have any impact. I reply: Yes, they have a big impact. I have participated in many such formats. You never know who you'll meet, whether you’ll receive an important tip that will have a lasting effect on you.
I can say from my own experience: When founding a company, you will often be on your own. The newspapers and media often paint a fancy picture of founding. But most of the time it is simply a lot of work and a big challenge. To see that others are going through the same experiences, to realize that there are valuable tips, to see that there are mentors and experts who can support you – all that is worth so much.
To conclude our conversation, Salima, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in the past few months? What can you pass on to others?
Salima: For many people, the time of the pandemic has been challenging – sure, for me too. At the same time, I am grateful to have so much support. In the past few months in particular, I have often felt very blessed: I have a great personal environment, I have a job that is fulfilling and that allows to me to try different things. So, an important lesson I have learnt is to be grateful. Grateful for the environment I move in and for the opportunities that have been created for me. That, too, is a change of perspective.
Tijen: Absolutely! Gratitude is a great topic. There is so much stuff going on in our everyday lives. It’s ok to complain sometimes. But it’s also important to keep reminding oneself of certain things: I have a good job, family, friends. That is worth so much. On this note: Thank you for talking to me today!