Profile: Elisabeth Slapio

Elisabeth Slapio, Director Innovation and Environment Section of the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Germany

After studying to become a full-time lawyer and working at the University of Cologne, Elisabeth worked as a lawyer in various law firms. In the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she is currently focusing on the IT and Telecommunications Industries as well as digitizing value-added processes in small and medium-sized companies. Other topics include advising retail companies and assisting the administration in the reorganization and digitization of specialized procedures in electronic government.

1.How have you deployed your passion and innovation as a leader or entrepreneur? What is your secret sauce or pixie dust?

Complexity has become the norm in today’s globalized, connected and increasingly digitized world. If only a few decades ago we were doing well with this, we were looking for solutions to the problems of our immediate environment. In our organization, our entrepreneurial decisions and our actions today increasingly have side effects and side effects that are dif cult to anticipate. So it’s important to focus on complexity as a regular part of our time and to welcome it. Simpli cation is one possible way to optimize complicated issues. However, she alone will not be the royal road to assert herself in a complex environment.

Time and again, I experience networking and sharing experience and knowledge as a strong foundation for career success and personal satisfaction. To practice this in everyday life is still a challenge and an incentive for me.

2.Give an example of a project or business that you’re really proud of?

Our most important investment in the future should be to guide young people on their way to the new digital world. For some years, I have been developing models and ideas for digital administration in workshops with students from the University of Applied Sciences of Cologne. We learn together and from each other how changes in society affect the understanding of modern politics and administration.

3.What tips or lessons would you pass on to the younger women networked into the GTWN?

Networking with national and international women, as practised by GTWn, is a great way to share experiences. Young women should actively use these networks. It should become a matter of course to ask for help and support and to use the good contacts. Here women still have a lot of potential.

4.Name a challenge for women in the GTWn to achieve in the next 25 years as we step up to the complex world in this current “Mobile Century”

The biggest challenge for women will be not only to penetrate the complexity, but also to present solutions simply and clearly. Women are often said to be less pragmatic about many issues than men. one of the causes may be that women occasionally seem less risk-averse than men. The reasons for this are that they sometimes leave the impression of being too complicated when communicating about the weighing process. Here, self-con dence and perseverance are needed to prevail against prejudice.

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