Stefanie Eckermann, Marketing & Business Development Representative at Volvo Financial Services (VFS) Nordic, has worked for the company for 13 years. During her career she’s had various roles in Gothenburg, Sweden, including Executive Assistant and Commercial Analyst. She’s been in her current role – where she’s responsible for business development projects, process optimization, marketing and project portfolio coordination in the Nordic region – since 2017. Having learned a lot over her career, Stefanie is keen to keep developing and share best practices. She recently completed a Micro-Assignment in Helsinki, Finland, and has now started a Short Term Assignment (STA) with the Global VFS headquarters iLab team in Gothenburg.
“Micro-Assignments and STAs are a great way to experience different roles in different parts of the organization,” explains Stefanie. “I spent four weeks in October working at the VFS office in Helsinki on a Micro-Assignment. I was working on several Finnish projects such as the Digital Signature, the introduction of automated credit decisions and an insurance product launch. I also wanted to share knowledge about our business application VFS Connect and discuss various marketing activities. It made sense for me to be with the team in Helsinki for a few weeks, so I spoke to my manager and my family and we made the necessary arrangements. My husband, children and parents all came to visit me while I was away so I wasn’t separated from my family for too long. Spending extra time with the Finnish team gave me a broader understanding of the reality and challenges of the local teams. It’s much easier to support people when you’re there with them and it’ll be more straightforward to work with the team now that I have a better understanding of how they operate.”
Professional and personal development
As well as being a good professional experience, Stefanie also found the Micro-Assignment to be rewarding personally. Having spent a lot of time travelling and living in different cities before she started working at VFS, Stefanie enjoyed immersing herself in a different country again. “ I am from Germany, but I studied in England for a year where I met the man I later married. He is Swedish and we spent some time living and working in Stockholm before we moved to Gothenburg.”
Outside of work, Stefanie likes to spend time with her family. Her parents live in Germany, and she sees them frequently. As for her children, aged five and seven, Stefanie is bringing them up bilingual – speaking Swedish and German – so they can communicate with their grandparents. Stefanie also enjoys being outside, going running and hiking. While she was in Finland, her colleagues arranged a hike and picnic for her in a national park. “The first week in Helsinki was fabulous autumnal weather with bright yellow, orange and red leaves on the trees,” says Stefanie. “They fell off within a week or so, and in the end, it was real November weather and winter had started to set in – but I still spent time outdoors.”
A great opportunity
Now she’s back in Gothenburg, Stefanie has started an STA with the VFS Global HQ Innovation and Strategy organization, working on a project with Volvo Trucks. Now back in Gothenburg, Stefanie’s currently working one day a week on the STA, but it will be a full-time position from December until April next year.
“This is a great opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other business areas, exchange experiences, get a better understanding of the company and strengthen my professional and personal network,” explains Stefanie. “I would encourage everyone to look for, initiate and take advantage of situations like this if they arise. There are some great opportunities available to us at VFS, but sometimes you need to create your own chances or seek opportunities out for yourself. If I hadn’t suggested the Micro-Assignment in Finland to my manager, it wouldn’t have happened – so my advice is to put yourself out there and make your own luck!”
“I’m proud to be a woman of VFS.”