IWD 2022: An Interview with Sandra Veth
We sat down with Sandra Veth, as part of our ongoing coverage of International Women's Day. As International Director at Tribes Inspiring Workplaces we wanted to find out more about her diverse background and experiences as a leading figure in the flexible workspace market.
Sandra: My name is Sandra Veth, and I am currently International Director at Tribes Inspiring Workplaces. I coordinate business across all of our international markets, which currently includes Belgium & Germany.
What previous roles and careers have you had?
Sandra: My first job ever was as a rental agent with Sixt at Frankfurt Airport. I loved this job. This was a counter job just for the rental of cars. Arriving in the morning, there would 300 rentals to complete in a 2-hour period. The job was non-stop, but I think I thrived in this environment. Later, I had my own business in the travel industry for 2 years, which was challenging to say the least given the small margins. I've been working with in different roles within the flexible workspace industry before joining Tribes Inspiring Workplaces.
What was your experience like in these industries?
Sandra: I loved the travel industry despite how difficult an industry it can be, especially regarding the amount of strikes there were. Not earning money with it was another issue that I had to work out. One thing I learnt while here was that the travel business is all about service – the flexible workspace industry is similar in this way – the better the service, the better the business.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Sandra: For me, it's just another day because I don’t care if a woman is in a leading position or a man – it's the qualification that counts. The passion and commitment to the job that should take precedent. If there is a better man or woman, then they should have the job, whatever that job may be. Representation should not be about quotas.
What entrepreneurs or business leaders do you look up to, and why?
Sandra: My Father was always a big inspiration for me when it came to work – how he was doing his job always motivated me. As a construction engineer and someone who was a managing director for some big companies in Germany, he was always contributing 200% and treating the company like it was his own. From early in my career, this made me look at businesses from more of an entrepreneurial point of view, which helped me greatly.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BreaktheBias, what biases have you witnessed throughout your career?
Sandra: For example, when I started in my career, I was part of a company with a strong male owner whose wife was also very strong. However, when I wanted to be part of a trainee management programme, I did feel my gender was the issue. If I was male, I certainly feel I would have been allowed to participate. Although across my career many things have contributed to the choices of appointments, including age, office politics and more. There have been plenty of occasions where I would say the most qualified person wasn't always the person getting the position.
How did you overcome these biases?
Sandra: I left the company and searched for a company who gave me the chance to grow!! The best example of this was actually my transition from the travel industry to the flexible working industry. I came into this field with next to no knowledge, however I was given the chance to prove myself and make my mark which I continue to do!
Biggest achievement to date!
Sandra: Personally, for me, one of my biggest achievements is giving birth to two children and still being in the position to be independent and to decide on the direction of my life.
Do you think for some people that having children impacts their own personal plans or growth?
Sandra: For others, after having children, it can be seen as a time to step back from personal achievement and progression. This isn't only a look, but a feeling for a lot of people and it is completely understandable. All in all, people give up, and often step back from personal development. For me, it's always important to develop myself further. Even though I have my experiences, I can learn every day from the people around me. It’s not only my team can learn from me and my experiences, but my younger colleagues and the fresh eyes of those around me inspire me daily and I continue to learn from them all.
What are your future hopes for your daughter?
Sandra: That she finds a job in the area she is most passionate about – of course, it depends on what kind of market exists when she is ready to work. All that I can hope is that she leads by example and doesn't settle for going to work just to earn money. In short, I want her to have an impact in whatever she chooses to focus on.
A leader and a legend!
There is a seemingly endless energy radiating from Sandra. And I don't just say this because of the 10 hours of trains she is taking to make appointments, meet with her team and attend important management meetings. Transparency is a rare trait these days. From day one there is no falsity, fakery, or frills with Sandra. What you see is what you get, and this might be one of her strongest qualities. Not only has Sandra built up an incredibly hard-working and in sync team, but she continues to provide support, advice, guidance and laughs to the colleagues, members and guests alike. Her contributions to making Tribes Inspiring Workplaces what it is can't go unnoticed, and hopefully this article makes some steps towards highlighting her integral role to sales, operations and the company culture as a whole.