Welcome to a special Thought Leaders episode with Nina Strassner, head of Diversity and People programs, and Cawa Younosi, Head of H.R. Germany at SAP SE. This is our personal invite to you to join our casual lunchtime chat where we discuss the personal challenges of working from home and the importance of good routines. Since COVID social distancing means that many of us are working remotely, Cawa and Nina have become expert enablers of distant socializing! Stay tuned to hear about their daily struggles and successes and learn what motivates and inspires them to drive pioneering HR projects at SAP.
I’m your host, Elisabeth Riemann. Let me introduce you to Nina Strassner and Cawa Younosi.
Guest: Nina Strassner
Head of Diversity and People Programs, SAP SE
Nina is part of Cawa Younosi’s Management Crew and is responsible for diversity measures and HR programs for SAP employees in Germany. Before joining the SAP management team in 2019, Nina previously worked as a lawyer and specialist in labor law for almost 12 years. She’s a lecturer and business editor, has published a book on family and labor law topics, she writes columns in Brigitte MOM and Wirtschaftswoche, and has a “Golden Blogger 2018” badge on her backpack.
Nina’s is happy mother of two and lives in Kiel, in the very North of Germany with an overweight cat, she says, and an annoyingly sporty husband. She grew up in a small town in the Swabian Alb in southern Germany, and then made her way to Dresden, Sydney Australia and Stellenbosch South Africa, to the Baltic Sea, from where she now regularly travels to meet with her team and colleagues at SAP HQs in Walldorf, Germany.
Follow Nina on Twitter: @DieJuramama
Web page: https://www.juramama.de/ (German only)
Guest: Cawa Younosi
Head of HR Germany, SAP SE
As head of HR for SAP in Germany, Cawa Younosi provides opportunities for people to excel, even if their resume is a bit different than what recruiters typically look for. His own experiences taught him to find the possibilities that lie beyond a conventional way of thinking. In the late 1980s, when war was tearing apart his home country of Afghanistan, Cawa’s parents put him on an airplane at the age of 14 to Europe. As an unaccompanied minor, he was accepted as a refugee and put in a children’s home and later in foster care. Despite such a difficult beginning, he thrived; he learned the language, made friends, and exceled in school in the German capital city of Bonn. Diverse backgrounds weren’t unusual in that city, because many children of foreign diplomats lived there. After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart and started his own small business.
Cawa joined SAP as a lawyer in the legal department. Now, as an HR leader, Cawa fights passionately for equal opportunity – for all people of cultural and ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental and physical abilities, and different living and working conditions. “My main concern is that we create the framework conditions to offer everyone the same access opportunities”, he says. Equal opportunity is about fairness. “It is also about giving SAP a critical advantage in attracting and retaining the best and brightest so we can stay ahead of the pack and really stand out as an employer of choice”, says Cawa. It is often the unorthodox choices and ideas that, when coupled with a goal, can drive innovation. Cawa’s recipe for success is based on that kind of thinking. “I feel if you level with people and find common objectives, you can forge strong business alliances and friendships. And if you put trust in people, there is no end to what you can achieve together.” And it works. Cawa drives forward dozens of unconventional and pioneering projects in the field of HR, making SAP shine both in employer rankings and internal job satisfaction surveys.
Follow Cawa on Twitter: @CYounosi
References & Recommendations
- Clubhouse app https://www.joinclubhouse.com/
- Mural digital workspace for visual collaboration https://www.mural.co/
Hosted by Elisabeth Riemann – Senior Knowledge Consultant & Product Manager, openSAP