If there is one MHP value that sums up Johanna’s approach to life, it’s passion. She always gives 200 per cent on every one of her projects, whether she’s working or at home. Her passion at work for almost ten years now has clearly been sales. Johanna is currently helping our manufacturing clients to understand and tackle the challenges they are facing. At home, she invests a lot of time in her cats and her passion for nature, so it makes sense that spending time on a Demeter vegetable farm was the perfect choice for Johanna’s sabbatical.
You’ve spent almost ten years in sales – have you ever gotten bored of it?
"No. It may sound like a long time, but those ten years have absolutely flown by for me. I’ve always had opportunities to develop within the MHP Sales team and I’ve also been able to work with several different clients and projects.
Even now, I’m still working on completely new topics with my clients in the manufacturing industry. Learning about those topics also helps me to better understand my role as an intermediary between clients and consultants. It’s a lot of fun.
Since MHP is an IT consultancy, I also benefit from working in a very dynamic field that constantly sees innovations being launched. I don’t have the chance to get bored!"
You’ve said that you enjoy learning about new manufacturing topics – what sparked your interest in this field?
„I’ve always been interested in manufacturing; as a child I was fascinated by big machines like construction site vehicles and airplanes. Even today, I still love watching a construction site develop or a tunnel being drilled. Some people will find this bizarre, but my family and friends have gotten used to stopping and spending some time watching construction sites with me.
My specific role is very digital, so I spend a lot of time on my smartphone and laptop, but that means I enjoy visiting my clients at their plants and production sites even more when I get the chance. It helps me to better understand our clients’ needs and gives me a regular hit of that machine oil smell.“
Given that you are so passionate about your area of responsibility, do you even need anything else other than your job to keep you happy?
„Of course! I have lots of different interests – I’m interested in things that most people would not normally associate with a salesperson. I think everyone at MHP knows that I absolutely love cats. I currently have two at home and both are rescue cats. That number tends to go up and down depending on whether there are any cats that urgently need a home.
I love nature in general, really. I spend a lot of time outside and I like to recharge my batteries by hiking, jogging, cycling or gardening. Sustainability and local food is another thing that I think about a lot.“
Is that what gave you the idea for your unusual sabbatical?
„Yes definitely. My four-month sabbatical was completely different than my work at MHP. I swapped my office clothes for dungarees and worked at a Demeter vegetable farm five days a week.
I started my working day with a yoga session before cycling to the farm. Most of my work there was based outside in the fresh air, sowing and harvesting vegetables and weeding. I had a wonderful time; I was able to completely switch off. The best part was that one of the calves was named after me!“
You’ve told us that you have a close relationship with your clients. Did that make it difficult to decide whether to take a sabbatical?
"Deciding to take a sabbatical was actually an easy decision for me – the process leading up to it was more difficult. My manager was immediately supportive when I told him about my idea. The only real problem was deciding how to ensure that my clients continued to get the support they needed.
But with a bit of planning and teamwork, everything ran smoothly. We came up with a cover plan that gave my clients the best possible support while allowing me to completely focus on my personal development during the sabbatical."
What did you take away from the sabbatical from a personal perspective?
"Firstly, that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! It was great to do something completely different, get out of my comfort zone and do manual work all day. The challenges of agriculture are completely different than the challenges of private enterprise – you are dependent on the weather, you sometimes have to deal with crop failures and therefore difficult times financially, and you have to look after the animals every day.
The experience helped to ground me and is still helping me to see the bigger picture now that I’m back at work. People used to be able to contact me late in the evening and at the weekend but now I only allow that in exceptional cases."
Final question: What are your plans and goals for the next ten years?
"My first big step is becoming a Sales Director, which is set to happen in July. Aside from that, I’m planning to continue my professional development and strengthen the relationship with my clients to make them successful. For me, the foundation of mutual success is ultimately a long-term partnership between the client and MHP. I’ve got lots of personal plans and goals as well but I’m keeping them to myself for now ;-) "