The Brainy Digital Fairy
Nina is one smart cookie. She holds a Master’s degree in business innovation from the University of St. Gallen as well as a teacher’s degree. At only 30 years old she got promoted to Head of Digital Experience at Swiss Life, the insurance company she’s been with for almost 5 years. We talked to Nina about her career highlights and challenges, where she finds the strength to keep pushing when she’s close to giving up. Enjoy reading our chat with this kick-ass lady and true Doyenne.
You went to university and got a double degree in business innovation and teaching. After graduation you started working for Swiss Life. Did you know straight away that you didn’t want to become a teacher or was there a particular moment that catalyzed the decision for you?
I made a decision for myself while I was writing my master's thesis (and teaching on the side): I wasn't going to start teaching right away because I became more and more aware of the fact that the best teachers come with a lot of real life experience. So it was clear to me that I had to start somewhere out on the field and was looking for a challenge that would allow me to learn and grow. When I first accepted the job at Swiss Life, I knew from day one: Fostering innovation in one of the oldest companies in the field of life insurance would be an enormous challenge, so I decided to go for it!
You’ve been with Swiss Life for almost 5 years now and at a pretty young age got promoted to Head of Digital Experience. How do you think women can push thru and shine in your male-dominated industry?
All it takes is the guts to stand up for ourselves – ‘cause if we don’t do it, no one else ever will! In my opinion, one of the most important things is to build an extensive network in order to make progress. Another thing is to closely listen to critics – you can learn a lot from them.
What is the most challenging part of your job and what do you find most fulfilling?
Trying to live up to all expectations – not just the ones from my team, my line manager and stakeholders, but especially also my own expectations. There's still a lot I need to learn and experience, and that can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. But I'm slowly getting there!
What truly puts a smile on my face is when I leave the building for the day and know that I was able to achieve things that matter – to both myself and the company – whether it's getting great feedback on a project or putting a smile on a colleague's face.
What kind of advice would you give young women just getting started in your work field?
Be open, be modest, learn quickly and challenge yourself to do the best you can. Most importantly, don't doubt yourself too much, especially when you commit an error. It's human and most things are fixable somehow. Have faith.
What’s a mistake you see get made all the time, even by very smart people? What have you learned from that to handle it the right way?
It’s probably that a lot of people tend to choose options that result in the least effort for them personally. I assume it’s because they settle and become lazy over time. To prevent myself from getting to this state of mind, I try to reflect on my behavior every now and then and as soon as I notice signs of “settling laziness”, I force myself to change - by evaluating all options, talking to people with different point of views, or more radically, by switching jobs (which I 've done several times during the last 5 years, counting myself lucky that my company has supported me in switching jobs internally).
Zodiac sign: Aries
Favorite quote: The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
Currently listening to: Jein, Fettes Brot / Victory Lane Nipsey Hussle, Stacy Barthe
Ultimate happy fix: A weekend trip to Piemonte – soul food, exquisite wine, best friends, what else do you need?
How to unwind after a long day at work: Either a long jog or a glass of Gsprützte Suur at Schickeria
Can’t live without: My day ones and Sprüngli's chocolate truffles
Most used emojis: 🙌🦍🏆💯
Best piece of advice for success: Success isn't final, failure isn't fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts.
Finish this sentence "Women should be more: confident in their abilities, skills and - most importantly - themselves in general."