Spotlight Series: Annette Breunig, Executive Vice President People & Culture, Körber Supply Chain Software

Annette Breunig


Meet Annette Breunig, Executive Vice President People & Culture, Körber Supply Chain Software! Annette sits down with us to chat about her career journey into tech, walk us through an average day at work and shares her career advice for other women in tech.

Annette has 20+ years’ experience in the field of People & Culture and has spent 15+ years in leadership positions.

She has a proven record in designing and implementing successful HR programs within Körber including Talent Management, Career Paths, People Development, Total Rewards, and Employer Branding.

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How did you land your current role? Was it planned? 

I was approached for my current role with Körber, based on my more than 20 years of experience in the People & Culture (P&C) field. I saw this as a great opportunity to take on a new challenge in a Private Equity (PE) environment, within an exciting, fast-growing industry.

My passion is to build strong teams and establish a robust company culture that drives success. At Körber, I have the chance to do just that. Working for such an innovative and rapidly expanding company, I am excited to be part of a team that is shaping the future of the industry.

What are the key roles in your field of work, and why did you choose your current expertise? 

I strongly believe in the quote: “To win in the marketplace you first need to win in the workplace.”

Your business is only as good as the people you have in it and the culture you create around them is crucial. Your wider business objectives depend on the people you have in your business. You need to create a place where people can thrive and grow, both personally and professionally.

This is my passion, which why I chose to be in the field of People & Culture.

What are you most proud of in your career, so far? 

I would say that what I’m most proud of in my career is building a global culture within the Körber Business Unit Supply Chain Software.

The business was built by combining several very different legacy companies, and so building one common identity and culture, around our 5 values, and seeing our people really live by them – I’m very proud of that.

Our values are the core of our culture. Wherever I am in the world with our teams, in the UK, the US, Germany, I always see the values displayed and in action with our colleagues. Embedding those values and creating that culture at our global business, working with our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and my People & Culture colleagues, that’s something I am very proud of.

What does an average workday look like for you? 

Is there ever an average day in any line of work?! 

I spend a lot of my time listening to our employees, embracing our value: ‘Be curious’.

I listen to their needs, their feedback, to the views and concerns of our people in different functions and locations and to our Workers Council representatives in Germany. It’s critical to take this time to listen, because then I will work with our Executive Leadership Team to make informed decisions to invest in our people, training, communications, technology and processes. Everything that we need to invest in our people and achieve the growth that we want.

And so, an average day for me involves a lot of listening, and a lot of working with our leadership team to drive our organisation forward.

Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field? 

Certainly, they will be looking for a leader with expertise in People & Culture. But not just the function of leadership, they are looking for leadership qualities that are needed to lead people and drive a strong culture.

They are also looking for change management skills and the ability to get buy-in for your agenda and projects. You will always need to earn buy-in from your leadership team, to drive change and drive the P&C agenda forward. So, the ability to get that buy-in, and the ability to lead – even if it hasn’t been in your previous job description – those are key skills and traits that companies are always looking for. 

Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found the tech sector supportive? 

One of my main personal drivers has always been a desire to learn and grow, and to help others do the same. I firmly believe you should never let someone else stop you from learning.

There are countless opportunities to learn something new every day, so it’s important to seek them out and take advantage of them. By making a habit of learning something every day, you can accumulate knowledge and continuously develop yourself.

Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

It is common and very normal for individuals to experience insecurities and anxieties in their career – regardless of what their doubts may be.

What really helps is to talk openly with your colleagues and peers, both inside and outside the organisation.

I always say, ‘Big dreams, small steps.’ Dream big but then realise that small steps, one after the other, will get you there.

Ultimately, it’s importance to speak with your colleagues and peers as they are likely to relate and understand your concerns.

Entering the world of work can be daunting. Do you have any words of advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed? 

Talk openly with your peers, colleagues and manager. Talking openly with them will help you understand that everyone feels the same way when they start out. Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. And that’s OK.

In addition, find a leader you can talk to. Be open to your feelings and address them. That’s the most important thing.

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology? 

I would reiterate what I’ve already said – that in order to have a dream come true, you first must have a dream in the first place. So, please do dream!

And remember: Big dreams, small steps. It really is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be low points, but the race is long. So, keep going!

There is always a second way to achieve a goal. The route one person takes does not have to be your route. If you need to, take a different way to the top of the same mountain. And – most importantly – enjoy the journey!


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