From IT consultant to acting division head: Olivia Mente has now been working for Lufthansa Industry Solutions for 17 years. In this interview, she tells us how she made her way to IT via SAP and why she likes to work in projects with international customers.
Ms. Mente, you have been the assistant head of the Maritime Industry department since April 2016. What exactly does your job entail?
At the moment I am fascinated by the new challenges presented by my role as assistant division head, in particular personnel management. I am now managing a team of twelve members of staff and it keeps growing. In addition to this, we are SAP experts in my area of responsibility. We have been developing this focus in numerous aviation projects. Now we want to transfer our core SAP competencies from the aviation industry to the maritime industry.
Where does your SAP expertise come from?
Alongside marketing, the focus of my cooperative studies in European Business was IT and I worked in the IT consultancy business during my practical phases. It was during this period that I built a bridge to the world of IT. I then acquired more knowledge in the field of SAP bit by bit. During one major project – an in-house development on an SAP basis – I gained extensive experience, as it also demanded connections to standard SAP modules. Now I am mainly occupied with one niche, Revenue Accounting.
Alongside marketing, the focus of my cooperative studies in European Business was IT. It was during this period that I built a bridge to the world of IT.Olivia Mente, Assistant head of the Maritime Industry division
Where have you put your expert knowledge into action?
As a business analyst and SAP expert, I have worked in a range of very different roles for a range of very different customers. I have served international customers as a project manager and worked as a program manager during a major project at Lufthansa Cargo. This means that the content of my work has not changed much during my professional years, but the customers and the assignments have – during a lot of international projects too. Of course, there are new challenges when you are working with people from foreign cultures, for instance communication challenges. In a lot of cultures, people don’t like to say ‘no’, which means that you have to find out whether a ‘yes’ really is a ‘yes’.
SAP IT consultant (m/f/diverse)
IT consultants (m/f/diverse) with SAP focus create solutions for our customers, consult with them on special SAP modules, prepare concepts as guidelines for development and supervise migration and roll-out projects in a range of different industries. They assist development and sales and assume the technical management of (sub) projects, while taking charge of specialist and economic results.
You have been working at Lufthansa Industry Solutions for 17 years. What do you like about your work as a consultant?
In my job, you have to be communicative and open for new issues and technologies. These are the basic requirements. But it is also important that you get along with customers and engage with new circumstances.
The advantage of life as a consultant is that, on the one hand, I have to have technical expertise. But, on the other hand, business processes and understanding industries and customers also play an important role. I have always found it exciting to be the gateway between customer demands and technical implementation.
When you compare 2016 with 1999, your first year at Lufthansa Industry Solutions, to what extent have you got more female colleagues? Or was the IT consulting business never a male-dominated field?
Of course, there are a lot of topics in the field of IT that are more attractive to men. But in our company, the ratio is pretty even. I was never the only woman in any field. The ratio is usually one third women to two thirds men. It was never a disadvantage – on the contrary. It’s always good to have a mixture in the team; it promotes productivity.
I was never the only woman in any field. The ratio is usually one third women to two thirds men. It was never a disadvantage – on the contrary. It’s always good to have a mixture in the team; it promotes productivity.Olivia Mente
Assistant head of Maritime Industry division
What does Lufthansa Industry Solutions mean to you?
Lufthansa Industry Solutions covers a wide range of fields and technologies within the consulting business – in business process analysis and IT architecture, in big data and IT security. We have a broad customer and industry base. This means that Lufthansa Industry Solutions provides you with a lot of good opportunities to work on different issues and in different projects. I found this combination very exciting from the beginning, and it has always made my work really fun. I have been working with some of my colleagues for years, which is also good for making sure everybody gets along. In addition to this, it has always been important to me to make sure there is space for my career and my family – because I also have two children. And this is possible at Lufthansa Industry Solutions.
Olivia Mente has now been working for Lufthansa Industry Solutions for 17 years. Since April 2016, Ms. Mente has been the assistant head of the Maritime Industry division and is in charge of a team of twelve members of staff. In addition to this, she is the key account manager for a customer in the Revenue Accounting division. Before this, she worked as a release and resource manager and as an IT consultant and project manager in international projects. Ms. Mente graduated with a cooperative degree from the European Business Program (EBP) at the Münster University of Applied Sciences.