3 questions to Ms. Tatjana Lissak
Can you tell us a few words about your professional career?
After completing my studies in Business Administration and Social Economics at Augsburg University in the late 90’s, I started as a Business Consultant at the Global Top-Management Consulting Firm, now called Kearney. As a consultant, you typically work on a variety of topics and projects simultaneously. Hard specialist knowledge, methodological skills, and soft skills are a basic prerequisite for good consulting. Those experiences laid the foundation for my career.
As I always had a strong interest in organisational development and process optimisation, I wanted to implement recommendations and see their practical results. I decided to transfer into Inhouse Consulting to EON corporation, one of Germany’s biggest energy and utility companies. After being there for over 10 years until the closing of the headquarters in Munich, I moved to Germany’s biggest motoring association, ADAC with almost 21 million members and a complex governance structure involving volunteers as well as employees. Being a Senior Organisational Consultant at ADAC, I was able to apply my hard and soft skills as Interim Executive Director in one of the subsidiaries of the ADAC Air Rescue while at the same time still being a Senior Consultant at the Headquarters.
What was your motivation to apply for an organization such as epi?
When I learned that epi was looking for someone with leadership experience in an association, it immediately awakened my interest. More so as I realized that at epi I had the opportunity to work in an international environment, which I have always loved to do. The size of epi is similar to the size of the organisation where I was Executive Director and where I could move projects forward successfully.
During the hiring process, I learned how much I could add to the success of epi in the newly created position of Executive Director. The objective of the role is not only to unburden the volunteers but also to actively re-engineer processes, to build a winning team in utilising all key competencies within the Secretariat‘s excellent team, and to strengthen successful communication management with all parties involved in order to better serve epi’s members. I saw that it will require a change management process not only within the Secretariat but also in the Board, as time-consuming operational activities are being transferred from the Secretary General and the Treasurer to the Executive Director. I accepted the job because my skills for working simultaneously and prudently on a variety of topics and projects are matched with my ambition for taking on challenges and making things happen.
How do you view your role in the short- to mid-term?
Now the "Pole Star” in the Secretariat is to bring operational key processes to the next level of effectiveness. The growing demands of the current economic and structural needs and challenges require greater focus on leadership and organization within the Secretariat and communication to the Board, the Council, and the Committees. The primary goal is and should be to serve epi’s members across all member states. This can be supported via efficient and effective operation of and coordination by the Secretariat.
One requirement is an organisational manual that fully documents processes. A prerequisite is to first define major processes, to assign individuals responsible who perform the work and point out who is accountable for each activity of every single process. I look forward to focusing on this crucial task over the next couple of months and counting on the support of the Secretariat and the Board for this exercise. This analysis will result in clearer, more transparent and fully implemented processes benefitting the efficiency of the Secretariat and increasing the impact of the entire epi organization. As a result, the Board and in particular the Secretary General and the Treasurer will be unburdened from operational duties and can move on to vision and strategy for epi.
Since this effort involves a change management process, we need to give those developments time, and not all processes can be worked on simultaneously. As daily business requires, priorities need to be set among many: be it for financial or accounting matters, organizing a Council meeting, rethinking epi’s IT strategy or communications with the broader epi membership, and many other business matters at hand. To further consolidate epi’s success, it is vital to convince and motivate those involved in the respective processes of how those processes can be adapted to be more effective and efficient and in a way that creates a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
I am very confident that, together, we will lead epi with a renewed motivation into the next era of success. My job is a little bit like a gardener. You need to sow good seeds on fertile soil and then nurture them carefully and caringly, by knowing what is needed at the right time for growing them in a proper way. Over time, you can then bring in the desired harvest.