Katrin J. Yuan on Embracing a Corporate Culture that Allows Employees to Thrive

Katrin J. Yuan, Head of Business Excellence and a member of CURAZE, leads eight departments and knows a thing or two when it comes to being a good leader. In her experience, the key to successful leadership is trusting your people, empowering, and enabling them to thrive in a diverse environment and to live the best version of themselves

by Rachel Johnson | 10 Nov, 2022
Katrin J. Yuan on Embracing a Corporate Culture that Allows Employees to Thrive

1. What are the most important drivers of business today?

As a manager, speaker, and lecturer, I am connecting the corporate, conference, and academia world and spot the most important drivers of business today from various perspectives. These are: rapidly advancing digitalization and transformation, New work – new forms of leadership, and interconnection between data, tools, and people.

2. What are the biggest challenges?

Being privileged to serve on boards as an advisor with a strategy consultancy background, I may share the hypothesis that the biggest challenge is not the technology, but winning people, defining new standards, getting everyone on board, and creating a grow-mindset corporate culture. Not the strongest, biggest, oldest, and most established but the ones with the ability to adapt, innovate, and reinvent will outperform the others, survive, and sustain.

3. Which innovations and tech trends do you find particularly exciting?

I am privileged to be appointed to global conferences as a speaker and jury member, challenging the latest tech trends such as:

Cybersecurity, which has become a necessity for business and boards of all sizes as their systems contain sensitive valuable data. Without a cybersecurity strategy, your business cannot defend itself from cyber threats and leaves it vulnerable.

In addition, energy saving efficiency enhancing use of data tracking, NFTs and the Metaverse, innovation around FinTech as a driver of digitalization in Insurance and Asset Management, harmonization of data landscape in full digital transformation (not segregated parts), and ESG investing: to use the impact of not only achieving returns with the invested capital but of enhancing the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic.

4. What thought leader has inspired you?

Inspiration comes in many forms and has many faces. Great leaders follow a vision despite the circumstances they were born into. I had a Warren Buffet and an Einstein poster in my kid’s room. I admire Buffet’s thoughts as a sustainable wealth builder, entrepreneur, and inspiring leader.

I felt inspired by Einstein for his creativity and imagination, how he questioned existing and found new ways of solving old problems. I was selected to be part of the Youth Talent Academy financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research of Germany. Only one student from each Gymnasium is recommended to apply for the program and then goes through a federal selection process. A limited number of the nation's best students are accepted each year. There I visited a course on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and was deeply impressed. He made a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, including basic concepts of time, light, and gravity. Both leaders inspire me not only for their intellect but also because they share a deep sense of humor and a work ethic in line with mine.

5. Why do cultural change and digital transformation go together?

Why do some fail, and others don’t? Hire for attitude, train for skills. Culture is more challenging to get a new release than technology tools. You can quick fix bugs, but you can’t quick fix people. You manage things. You lead people. Those with a great mindset, skills, and attitude thrive and outperform in the right culture. I am thankful to be in a position in executive management being able to lead eight departments with a substantial amount of people and diverse mindsets. I support a corporate culture that empowers people to grow and thrive to their best version.

You can quick fix bugs, but you can’t quick fix people.

6. In one sentence, what is one topic we shouldn't be discussing in five years?

Pay gap and diverse leadership.

7. What makes companies and leadership successful in the long term?

Trust your people, empower, and enable them to thrive in a diverse environment to live the best version of themselves. Make role models visible and show appreciation to your people. Hire the best people. As a leader, I hire people who know more than I do and who do a better job in their specific areas. We rise by lifting others. Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you want to become a member of CURAZE, our innovator’s network? Join our growing community and register to our matchmaking platform here.



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