A positive overall attitude is the key to doing well through the COVID-19 pandemic

A positive overall attitude is the key to doing well through the COVID 19 pandemic

We asked female leaders from our GFL-community to share their personal thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and new perspectives they have personally encountered as they navigate through the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This special series should inspire and encourage you to continue to manage the crisis in the best possible way. This is where Christine Cheminay, who finds that laughing together – at home and with the team – is immensely important, has her say.

Christine is with Webasto since 2001. During that time she worked in different Purchasing roles and is currently responsible for Indirect Purchasing of the Group. After her master studies of Industrial Engineering and Business Administration, with stops in Japan and the US, Christine started her career in Sales, with Siemens Power Generation. A few years later, she moved to Strategic Purchasing of INA Schaeffler, where she worked in Project Purchasing for one of the TOP10 projects.

Christine supports Young Females as a Mentor (e.g. TUMentorIng) and shares her expertise e.g. in Leadership, Negotiations, Agility. Her passion is to encourage Young Professionals to combine work and family to become happy and successful working parents. She has 2 kids, enjoys outdoor activities and traveling.

How has the Covid-19 crisis affected your life and work so far and how have you adapted to the new situation?

In January, we still knew almost nothing about the virus, how it would spread and how dangerous it was – like a cold, a flu or worse. Besides, there were no recommendations from authorities or scientists yet. Webasto has clearly prioritized the health of its employees and society. This enabled us to quickly break through the infection cycle.

The transparent and open communication helped me a lot to feel save even with this unclear situation. I experienced myself adapting from one day to the other to full home office, virtual leadership, virtual international meetings – and it worked pretty well and after a short time I started enjoying the digital and virtual possibilities

My personal experience is that it still feels strange how much Covid suddenly limited my radius of action, in regards to friends, business trips, holiday travels. And Covid has turned our family life upside down. It was quickly clear:

I am the motor for the kids, if I am careful and happy and positive to how we interact with other people and to what is coming, they copy me and see the positive side of “we stay at home”.

Christine Cheminay, Director of the Global Indirect Purchasing, Webasto Roof & Components SE, Germany

Where have you felt you have reached your limits and what did you do to keep your head above water?

Managing professional life and family is sometimes quite a challenge. The lockdown of the schools brought and brings me to my limits. It is a big struggle! How to handle my job professionally, take care about the kids, my partnership, my sick mom and keep in a positive mood.. ? And the day has still only 24h!

My way was and is to work on my approach: I believe a positive overall attitude is key and a sort of structure to allow re-priorisation during the day without frustration about moving targets. I apply this on my job as well as in private life. Plus I tried to have dedicated time slots with my kids and some personal time for me as well. I love sports and it helped me to compensate bad energy.

Last but not least: Laughing together is important – at home and with the team.

As the saying goes, “with every challenge, there is an opportunity”, what opportunities have you personally discovered (are you discovering) during this downtime?

Due to short term work I had 10 weeks of additional time with the kids. I spend so much time at home as never before in a row and my kids and we discovered a lot together: we enjoyed loads of outdoor activities, including simple things like rope skipping, climbing trees… and we extended playing games (now we have a pile of new games) with great experience of winning and losing especially for the little one…

At work, I was very positively surprised how well virtual meetings would run and that opening a camera is a small thing but makes a big change to feel closer to each other. I guess that in future we can do a lot of meetings virtually and travelling will be reduced as well.

But for forming a new team, for networking and socializing topics it is important to meet in person.

Christine Cheminay, Director of the Global Indirect Purchasing, Webasto Roof & Components SE, Germany

Being a female leader, how has leadership changed for you? How have you changed as a leader in an uncertain time?

It is important for me that I’m available for my team members and reachable as if they would step into my office. I listen and take care and I am much more pro-active in reaching out to them. As mobile office overlaps our private and professional life, it is important for me to take care about employee’s needs, find solutions in regard to timing and still getting our jobs done professionally. In this uncertain times I have seen that people react different on changes. But fears and worries are neither healthy for a person nor for team spirit. Therefore, I started addressing such impressions straight forward to help finding individual solutions.

But fears and worries are neither healthy for a person nor a team spirit. Therefore, I started addressing such impressions straight forward to help finding individual solutions.

Christine Cheminay, Director of the Global Indirect Purchasing, Webasto Roof & Components SE, Germany

What has been your biggest learning(s) so far and how do you intend to develop it/them?

I am still very impressed about the capability to work with a mobile devide all alone in a homeoffice for weeks and I will for sure continue to support extended homeoffice post-Covid as well. This brings along changes in leadership and communication where I want to stay open for individual needs as well as experimenting a bit with unconventional formats.

Any other aspects that you deem interesting to complete your story?

I would wish all companies are aware about the extreme situation and high efforts of working parents – and demonstrate appreciation and flexibility!

Review 2019: Collaborating to Build a Better World

Once again, remarkable women and influential leaders from all over the world convened under one roof to share their expertise, perspective and acumen on how the world we live in is developing and what everyone can contribute to make a positive impact. Learn more and download the offical review 2019!


Martina Eckermann

At Management Circle, I lead the content marketing team. Amongst others, I manage and oversee the Global Female Leaders blog. I am also responsible for the topics soft skills, project management and trademarks on the Management Circle blog. I am delighted to inform you about current topics, trends and creative ideas. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Covid-19: A potential equalizer for gender equality

Covid-19: A potential equalizer for gender equality

The Covid-19 pandemic is acting like a burning glass on many issues. Also on working conditions for families. With it comes a new perspective on what companies and management need to do for people to feel well taken care of. Read more about the mood among female leaders here.

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