How do we tackle challenges? As a team!

Franziska Kunz and Kistler – a story of shared success that began fourteen years ago in 2006, when Franziska joined the sales team at Kistler's predecessor company, Präzisions-Messtechnik Baewert GmbH. From day one, Franziska was inspired by the diversity of work in an international market environment that brought her into contact with people from every walk of life.

The birth of her first child coincided with the sale of the company to Kistler – so as 2012 dawned, Franziska Kunz was facing a huge challenge. She had only reached a verbal agreement with the previous CEO that she would return to her position as manager after her maternity leave. So she approached the new owners without a written agreement – but with a very clear goal in mind. CEO Rolf Sonderegger readily agreed to a discussion, so she bundled her husband and child into the car and set off on the eight-hour journey for a face-to-face meeting with him in Winterthur. As business discussions alternated with breaks to nurse the baby, the pair found a way forward that was acceptable to both of them. Years later, Franziska Kunz still says: "I've never forgotten that situation."

From the outset, she had the backing of the workforce at Kistler's Meerane site – because Franziska had not stepped straight into a management post six years before: in fact, she diligently worked her way up to the top by the sweat of her own brow. What else do Franziska and Kistler have in common? A firm belief that teamwork is the only way to achieve success. Flexibility is her top priority – and her team of cable production specialists appreciate that. Meerane is a small place, the employees' children know each other, and they attend preschool together. "So everybody understands if one of us has to take a little time out because the daycare center has called up, for example." And situations such as these present no problems thanks to the "lean" principle that is the basis for the site's organization. Each member of the production team performs the same work processes, so all of them can step into one another's shoes at short notice.

Franziska views the balance between family and job as a matter of organization. She's passionate about her role as manager of the site – but outside of work hours, she's an equally devoted mom – "unless there's an emergency". Then she turns her attention to her site and her employees to make sure that production runs smoothly. Franziska enjoys switching between roles: while she's playing with her children, she can forget herself and think along different lines. But here too, she has to keep her mind on what she's actually doing. "And if I don't, the children soon notice," she says with a laugh. Franziska Kunz is honest: "just" being a housewife would not be fulfilling enough for her. She enjoys the balance and the variety. And that's why one of her key concerns is to create family-friendly jobs. Franziska is firmly convinced: "We can only make a difference if we tackle things together as a team, and if we support one another." She is also personally committed to passing on her business knowledge and her understanding of modern management principles: this is why she has maintained her honorary involvement with the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) since 1999. Back then, she started out as a member of the "Business Juniors", a forum that combines networking among young businesspeople with dialog about key economic and social issues. Today, she is a member of the IHK's Plenary Assembly and she sits on the coordinating committee for the LEADER Region, which supports rural enterprises. One hundred percent commitment to her job, her family and society – that's how Franziska Kunz lives her life.

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