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Category: Interactive Events

2017 NCT run cancer research charity HIP

The NCT charity run for cancer research

On July 7th a team of HIP members and their families joined the NCT charity run for cancer research. Our team was one of 300 to walk, run and skate on the course and finished on position 15 of the ranking with 66 rounds. With 22 people on the course we collected 580 € donations. We are proud of this great result!

Four of our members completed the 11 km distance and one even completed the half marathon distance.

Heidelberg International Professional Women's Forum NCT charity run

2017 HIP international women's day

International Women’s day with HIP in Heidelberg

The official International Women’s Day theme 2017 was


At HIP we met on Wednesday March 8th to celebrate the day and to reflect on:

  • Where are we now?
  • What’s being done by the system?
  • What can we as individuals do to impact this equation?

We had a full house for the panel discussion. After a brief run through of some basic statistics to set the stage, our speakers shared their perspective of what is actually happening with gender equality in the region. Whether from the sciences, academia, the corporate world or the entrepreneurial angle there remains a huge gap to close to achieve parity in the world of work. So now what?

Quotas and having role models have been shown to be effective when properly employed.

But what can we do about it?

As the discussion turned to brainstorming ideas of being bold and searching for what we as individuals could be doing to move things along there seemed to be hesitation.  Little by little some ideas emerged including: mentoring another woman, creating groups to support one another, and examining our own biases via the Harvard Business School Implicit Association Test (IAT).

None-the-less this is a sign that our engagement for women’s development is not finished.  We at HIP need to keep the discussion alive and growing to speed up change and advance our own empowerment.


Picture by Edu Lauton on Unsplash.com, Creative Commons Zero lincence

own your career own your life

Own Your Career – Own Your Life

Tuesday evening’s presentation ‘Own Your Career-Own Your Life’  by Monika Niederhoff proved to be another stimulating success with lots of enthusiastic discussion.

Monika, VP Production Program Director at SAP, shared with us the story of her career as she worked her way up the ladder in her field.  A few of the to-dos and taboos included:

To do: have clear goals, be courageous, let your voice be heard, be aware of cross-cultural differences.

Taboos: At yearly reviews focus on what you have accomplished, not where you can improve! Do not hesitate or hold back, state your interest for areas and posts of interest.  Don’t expect encouragement or reassurance to be willing to grab an opportunity.

Monika also demonstrated the intersection between work and family, and how it takes a strong commitment from the entire family to find the right balance for everyone.  She was warm, she was witty and I believe her story resonated with many of us in the room.

own your career own you rlife monika niederhof at HIP 2016


social media marketing

Marketing yourself in social media with Austeja Subaciute and Larisa Balanovskaya

On Juli 21st we had the opportunity to improve our personal branding in an interactive workshop with Austėja Subačiūtė and Larisa Balanovskaya. The workshop addressed branding ourselves as individual professionals and as business owners.

Austėja explained to us the methodology of psychographic consumer segmentation, showing us the importance of understanding consumers as humans with full lives. We also learned that for successful communication it is critical to start with understanding the needs of consumers instead of trying to push our brand attributes.

Buidling up on Austeja’s presentation, Larisa talked about how to apply the principles of branding online. In her presentation she covered two platforms: Facebook and LinkedIn. She explained what a business owner can do to create exposure and awareness for business on Facebook as well as to enhance the customer experience and ultimately increase sales. After discussing some rules of successful Facebook pages, Larisa has talked about how a corporate professional can optimize LinkedIn profile to position herself as an authority in the field.
Even though social media marketing is not set in stone, and the key of success is in experimenting and testing of what works for your own business or personal brands and what does not, one should be aware of the basic rules and guidelines every online platform has. Besides, there are some tricks that make the process of setting online presence easier.
Larisa shared valuable practical advises of how to use these two platforms to build successful and profitable brands.
We continued to discover how to identify our own brand essence based on understanding the target audience and the environment around us. We finished the session with an interactive workshop where we all worked on our brand essence, presenting our results to each other.

The workshop was extremely engaged and active. We were all inspired by fellow business owners soaking up new ideas how to improve their business marketing. Discussions continued throughout the workshop to obtain further insights.

All participants received the presentation slide deck for future reference. Anyone we missed may request a copy from Austeja. Please contact her at austeja(at)garrisongroup.eu .

HIP joins NCT run against cancer 2016 charity

NCT-RUNning against cancer

This year’s NCT-RUNning against cancer was another great success, bringing in over 105,000€ to beat back cancer.  We walked, we ran, we went with Nordic poles and trotters, with our kids and our enthusiasm. And, ta-da! HIP came in 27th in contributions ahead of the over 275 teams signed up for the event!. That’s not bad ladies, congratulations!

We’re planning on making this an annual project so please schedule for next year’s event on July 7, 2017.  Let’s show them all that we’re ‘Women on the Run’!

Many thanks to Cheryl for the classy T-shirts which made us feel very official!

2016 HIP imrov theatre workshop

Using improvisation theater in your presentations

Some years ago, Frédérique was captivated by theatrical improvisation technique, which she finds an inspiring and compelling tool for personal development, leadership, change management, team building, creativity, and communication skills development. Improvisation Theater is the art of acting without script or props – making everything up on the spot, in real time, following a set of rules and practices such as focusing on the here and now and making the most out of what is available at the moment to achieve the intended goal.

Key-competencies of an improvisational actor are also important to anyone working in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world (sometimes abbreviated as VUCA), such as the ability to let go of the initial plan, listening to others’ ideas, building on them, and exploring unconventional solutions.

At the beginning of the workshop Frédérique shared with us some insights she had while learning improvisation theater. And because talking about it is no substitute for the experience, you had the opportunity to take part in some improvisation exercises. We tested ourselves how body language shapes our mind, feeling unsecure with a hunched posture and confident when we made eye contact with others.


Frédérique Thiriet-Smith, a HIP member from the beginning, is a French national who has lived in Heidelberg, Germany since 1999. She has worked in international companies for over 30 years, successfully leading multicultural and virtual teams facilitating change, skills development and knowledge exchange on a worldwide scale.


Picture: Drive-In Theatre by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.com, Creative Commons Zero licence

2015 HIP Carousel

Networking, Energy & Connection at the First HIP Carousel

What looked like a trade fair, it was an event with a unique intention and a friendly atmosphere. And that made all the difference in the quality of the HIP Carousel: International Women at Work event last Saturday, October 17, 2015.

The intention was: service to others.  How can we share all we have learned to spur other women on to reaching their dreams. Over 150 people, including participants and volunteers, showed up and took part in the first ever event like this by HIP. HIP Founder Shuchi Sharma and HIP Founding Member Fabiana Bianchi joined for the day, leading the round table discussions and provided inspiring beginning and ending speeches for the day.

Held in the DAI’s Grand Hall the event was organized around different themes and areas.

The Business Owner section was the largest – 19 tables of independent women sharing their experiences of building a business.

2015 HIP Carousel business owners entrepreneuers


The Corporate, Academic and the Sciences table brought the combined experience of dozens of women to our visitors.  Our members shared the obstacles they faced and the resources they discovered as they develop their careers. We’re hoping our visitors will be able to apply those lessons immediately.

2015 HIP Carousel corporate, academia & science women table



The two Round Table discussions covered Work/Life Balance and presented and compared the advantages of being self-employed with those who are employed.

2015 HIP Carousel podium discussions

What were some of the highlights from those discussions?

  • One thing everyone agreed on was that the learning acquired while working in a company can pay off handsomely when you decide to go self-employed.
  • That the structure an employer provides, as well as a regular income, are a huge plus in terms of security and peace of mind.
  • That starting your own business is not for the faint at heart, but provides enormous flexibility to schedule your working hours to suit your needs.
  • That being your own boss comes with a liberating feeling of doing what you love, the way you want to do it.

A series of mini-presentations, individuals telling their stories throughout the day, was a real crowd-pleaser. Held in the “Living Room’ these were more personal accounts of lessons learned.  The more intimate format fostered connection and group discussion.

2015 HIP Carousel podium discussions and short presentations

There was also an Information Area where the IHK StarterCenter Rhein-Neckar, the DAI Heidelberg and the Amt für Chancengleichheit from Stadt Heidelberg were present to share their expertise.

2015 HIP Carousel IHK


Gloria Miller, a HIP member and founder of her own Management and IT consulting company, challenged everyone in the morning to up their professional networking, giving us some clear objectives to aim for throughout the event.  As she wrapped up, she demonstrated her own application of those guidelines and shared her takeaways from the day.

2015 HIP Carousel Claudia Miller


From the first cords of Chopin, played by our very own HIP member Barbara Janssens, to the warm applause as we closed the event at 16:30, the Grand Hall was filled with buzz, exchange, connection and people helping people.  HIP clearly achieved the goals we set for ourselves in building the HIP Carousel.

2015 HIP Carousel Barbara Janssens


We say again a big thank you to our partners, sponsors and volunteers without whom we could not have held this amazing event!

Please browse the photo gallery below. Should you want to order any of the photos or see the full gallery, please contact HIP Member Dorothée Piroëlle.

2015 HIP tour at the BASF


I believe I am pretty well informed about what’s going on in the Rhine-Neckar area – but I have lived here and had never heard of the BASF Visitor Center and all the cool things they offer. So thanks to HIP for organizing this! For this special occasion HIP members brought their family, children included.  It was an opportunity to see a global company from the inside. 

On June 13th 2015 we met at The BASF Visitor Center for a special welcome and introduction before our bus tour; kids were able to launch a rocket or learn what a superabsorbent is (yes, that’s what in the diaper of your little siblings).

During the tour Ms Rudloff, our English speaking guide, showed us the inner workings of this giant industrial plant which has such a large impact on this area and the world.  It was interesting to see the sheer size of this conglomerate and learn about how it ticks. The bus tour was informative and you really got a feeling for the size: the Ludwigshafen site covers more than ten square kilometers, making it the world’s largest integrated chemical facility. There are thousands of bikes, several buses and train stops. But we also learned a lot about the history and products. Everybody who was there will remember what the letters in BASF stand for but also which smell is characteristic for BASF 🙂 Will you ever look at a bubbly drink again and not think ‘the bubbles in there are a waste product from BASF’?

Following this excursion we had another hour to explore and discover the new Visitor Center: 2000 square meters of multi-media and interactive exhibits – either to explore some more things or network while their kids enjoyed the experiments.

We learned more about chemistry, business and the people that make it happen! It was a great day out and gave us much food for thought. Thanks to the HIPsters who suggested it and made it happen!

Getting a first-hand experience with this rich exhibit center will surely entice you to come back again! Check out the Visitor Center website (in German) to plan what you want to focus on.

By the way – the bus tour takes place once a month and anyone can visit the Visitor Center… Check it out!

I will definitely return for the kids’ lab, which also takes place once a month. How about combining the Visitor Center, bus tour and kids’ lab? You’ll be exhausted, but you have learned a lot!

See here for more information about the Family Program in the Kids’ Lab (in German).

Kerstin Lambert, HIP Steering Committee Member