1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Marlen Krügener. I am from Berlin and am Mimi’s Head of People and Culture.
2. What does your role as Head of People and Culture entail at Mimi?
My role has changed a lot over time. When I first joined Mimi, I was the only person in HR. This required me to set up the HR processes for our growing company and react quickly in order to recruit, train, motivate and retain our team. Now, our HR department is a team of 4 and my role has shifted into a managerial role where I am required to be more proactive than reactive. I am required to work more strategically, with a longer-term focus, to ensure that as a team, we are prioritizing the right tasks and working on the most important projects.
A highlight of my role as Head of People and culture is that I am able to talk to so many people, both internally and externally. It enables me to be interconnected with the outside world, the leadership team, and our wonderful Mimians. I really like the people I work with and the opportunity to constantly challenge myself to do things, improve and do better is so rewarding.
3. What influenced you to pursue a career in technology and in particular, at Mimi?
Coming from Berlin, I have always been really interested in its startup scene. Not only this, but I was looking for an international company, as I missed being a part of an international working atmosphere. With this, I joined a startup called Carmudi and worked as the HR manager for some time, then, when they moved part of their business abroad, I found Mimi.
The prospect of joining Mimi was an amazing learning opportunity for me as it gave me the challenges I was looking for to set up HR processes from scratch. What also attracted me to Mimi was my interest in technology and the company’s dynamic working atmosphere. Technology is a really exciting and innovative sector for me as it is constantly changing the way we live and work. It also feels so motivating to work for a company whose mission I connect with where I can do purposeful work and make an impact rather than just be a tiny cog within a wheel. I love to look back at my journey with Mimi, to see how I have grown both personally and professionally and I am grateful for the trust Mimi has given me.
4. What is it like to be a woman working in technology for you?
I personally never felt like there was any difference being a woman working in a technology company, however, it is a male-dominated world. It certainly makes it really difficult to recruit women, particularly in developer roles. The good thing about Mimi is that everyone is very open, interested and supportive so I have never felt advantaged nor disadvantaged. We also have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee dedicated to this topic and have put a number of initiatives in place to continuously improve our D&I efforts. This is awesome, as it involves people across all departments coming together to work on our initiatives and come up with new ideas.
5. What advice would you give to a woman considering technology as her career?
My advice is to try out what you are interested in; be curious and open-minded. Don’t be afraid to try things out and don’t be afraid to change. You never know until you try and it is this which shapes you. If you love it great, but if you hate it, at least you know – you will find the right thing for you.
It is also important not to get frustrated if you get stuck and don’t know how to move ahead; reach out, go to meet-ups and connect on platforms like LinkedIn. There are lots of people sharing insights who are willing to help you. I have found a community of female developers who are really supportive so I recommend getting involved in the initiatives which are out there. It gives you confidence being around women who are on the same path as you and it helps you to understand that everyone is learning. At first, I thought to learn coding you needed to be really strong in maths but from my glimpse into the topic, I have learned that it is not a pre-requirement so don’t let that stop you. I enrolled in a frontend development course designed specifically for women to help me better understand the technical side of the business. Although this was my original intention, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it. It is a really brilliant challenge and I love being able to see my progression.
6. What makes a Mimian to you?
Mimians are very welcoming, open-minded and caring. Something that they all have in common is the drive to reach out and support one another. We also have a shared interest in music, sound and helping others and I believe it is this which connects the team.
7. What is the soundtrack to your life?
8. What could you not live without?
Yoga. It gives me a lot of balance and strength and allows me to be the person that I am. I feel off when I do not do this regularly.