Different paths at KWS: Ulrike Marienhagen (left) started as a seasonal employee, Etiéne Rodrigues only had her onboarding virtually – due to the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

My KWS Journey

Growing together

In almost 170 years of existence, KWS has provided its employees with fertile ground for personal and professional growth. With the new ‘My KWS Journey’ series we will explore the stories of colleagues from different backgrounds and their journey within KWS. Etiéne Rodrigues and Ulrike Marienhagen kick it off.

Etiéne Rodrigues

From Brazil to Berlin

Etiéne’s journey began during the pandemic, with a virtual onboarding, while in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “It was a different experience, to integrate into the team and even have my onboarding virtually, but to be honest, I never felt alone or excluded but rather how important it is to have a manager who is really willing to teach you and make you feel part of the team,” says Etiéne.

In Brazil, Etiéne worked as an HR Expert focused on compensation, benefits and personnel planning. Soon after her arrival at KWS in 2020, she started to hear about ONEGLOBE, the centralization project that changed KWS’ administrative operations. This meant new ways of operating and with that, it presented opportunities to internationalize Etiéne’s career, one of her professional dreams.

The Lead of Recruiting in Berlin, Ralph Goetz, welcomed Etiéne to continue her journey in Germany in January 2022, as an Associate Recruiter for the Global Transaction Center. Due to bureaucratic challenges, Etiéne began to work from Brazil. Despite starting virtually once again, she dealt with a manager who was supportive and made her feel part of the team from day one, regardless of the geographical barriers.

“To be honest, I never felt
alone or excluded.”

Etiéne Rodrigues

Upon her arrival in Berlin, the warmth and camaraderie of her KWS colleagues became even more evident. Some greeted her at the airport, others assisted her in purchasing her first winter coat, and even generously offered to lend their own apartments as temporary accommodation.

Almost two years later, Etiéne holds the position of Compensation and Benefits Expert in Berlin, overseeing this function on a global scale. She attributes her accomplishments not only to her personal drive but also to the trust KWS places in its employees and the motto “Make yourself grow.” While individual determination plays a role, Etiéne emphasizes that collaboration and team support largely shape one’s journey. To her, this spirit captures the essence of the company. |

Ulrike Marienhagen

From the field to the GTC

Ulrike Marienhagen is currently an Associate Contact Manager in the Global Transaction Center, but her connection with KWS began nearly a decade ago, in 2014.

Ulrike had initially sought a flexible job to have time to be with her family. Having had a farm with her husband, she had been familiar with KWS for years. This familiarity led her to apply for a seasonal position at the breeding station in Wetze near Einbeck – the beginning of her KWS journey.

As the years passed, Ulrike transitioned from a seasonal worker to a farm worker at KWS, a role she held for seven years. As her children grew, so did her aspirations. She continued her work in Wetze but took on additional responsibilities, particularly overseeing the trials for our organic products.

Ulrike’s passion was evident. However, a desire to get to know other areas of the business started to grow and an article on the Process Excellence Team caught her attention. Eager to understand their operations and the business side of things, she reached out to them. This curiosity led to several meetings in Berlin.

Berlin was an eye-opener for Ulrike. The city exposed her to administrative and business-related processes of different teams, vastly different from her experiences in Wetze. This exposure encouraged her to seek opportunities that matched her skill set. It wasn’t long before she discovered a role in Service and Contact Management, a position she would later obtain, meaning a significant step in her career.

“Change does not
happen alone.”

Ulrike Marienhagen

Today, Ulrike manages the ticketing system, dispatches tickets, conducts training sessions, oversees the GLOBE section in the onboarding of new hires in Einbeck, and even handles parts of travel management. Her unique experience from R&D and as a seasonal worker equips her to bridge the gap between colleagues. “I think I can connect colleagues with the Berlin world, I like to see myself as a mediator.”

Just like the story of Etiéne, Ulrike’s journey is filled with collaboration, support, and effort. Ulrike says, “Change does not happen alone, it’s important that we search, ask, and explore different opportunities which can pave the way to a fulfilling career. Growth is a collective effort, and I am sure if we all support one another, we all can grow.”

The journeys of Etiéne and Ulrike at KWS are proof that no journey is undertaken alone. It’s the collective effort, support, and collaboration of colleagues and the company’s environment that pave our KWS journeys. |


© KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA 2024