At 20, the world is your oyster. Some take to travel, looking to find themselves and discover what they enjoy. Others know early on where and how they would like to start their careers.
The three talented individuals we will meet on the next few pages can certainly be said to belong to the latter group. L&R constantly invests in the training of new employees, as well as the further professional development of its existing workforce, and it really shows in all areas of the company. No matter where you go at L&R, you’re bound to meet young, motivated colleagues who are ready to take on responsibility and help to shape the future of the medical device sector by making their contribution. These three employee profiles will give you an idea of the challenges faced by young employees at L&R, what type of goals they have, and what advice they would give to their 18-year-old selves.
Who can be found on the front line when it comes to looking for new talent, and supporting our employees as individuals? Human resources, of course. Behind a somewhat worn-out job title stands an exciting role with a great deal of responsibility. It is no wonder, then, that even German-speaking employees try to make the department sound a little more fun by referring to its English name, or even just “HR”. On the jobs market, our colleagues from HR act like the company’s advertising billboard: they act as the first point of contact for anyone looking to start a career with L&R. This can certainly be said to be true in the case of Nadine Zimmermann. As a trainer at the company, she is constantly on the lookout for new recruits to train, and once they’re on board, looks after her trainees from the first seminar right up to their final qualifying exams. She knows exactly what young employees at L&R have on their plate: indeed, not so long ago she started out herself as a trainee at L&R. Applying the right mix of dedication and passion for the job, she didn’t just successfully find a place at the company, but even started up the first rungs on the career ladder.
After completing her A levels, Nadine had her mind made up: she wanted to find a dual-training course. She quickly decided on the Mittelrhein model, as this guaranteed both a professional qualification and a diploma in business economics on completion, as well as offering IHK-certified foreign language instruction. She progressed quickly, completing her qualifications to be an industrial management assistant whilst at the same time earning that crucial practical experience with L&R, moving through a wide range of different departments, from production, to logistics, and marketing. At the same time, she was attending her lectures and classes at college. Every Saturday, she met with other like-minded people who she could share experiences with as well as securing the basic theoretical knowledge needed for her practical work.
She had very little time left for herself: “Dealing with the workload is a real challenge”, she explains, and for this reason, today she is handing out an all-round care-free package to her trainees, or “Azubis”. An essential part of the package is the introductory seminar, which is meant to help new colleagues during their induction at L&R. The organisation, with internal and external speakers, and her brief to ensure all open questions are given an answer as part of one compact programme, requires a serious amount of resources. But Nadine is delighted, each year just like the last, when she is faced with this task:
“There is nothing nicer than to see how a sense of belonging to the company, and a real team spirit starts to develop amongst the trainees.”
It is exactly this ‘togetherness’ which she values so much about her work at L&R. The fact that she can make her own contribution every single day to reinforce that atmosphere was a key reason why she set down this career path. Nadine enjoys having those interpersonal contacts with so many different colleagues, as well as deeply appreciating the strategic partnerships formed between all the different departments:
“Every conversation you have is different: you have to take a fresh approach to each and every colleague, trainee or new candidate.”
When asked what she enjoys most about the job, she doesn’t hesitate to reply:
“Giving school leavers the opportunity to start their training and future careers at L&R, as well as opening up their future prospects, has to be one of the nicest parts of my job.”
And what do Nadine’s career prospects look like? She has really found her calling in HR, and would like to continue specialising and learning more within this field. Alongside her career, she has also gained her Bachelor of Arts over the past few years. It seems she knows, and indeed always had clear in her head, where she is heading:
“When I read the advert for the position on the Mittelrhein model programme back in 2013, I knew straight away that this path would turn into a truly challenging adventure. Looking back, I now know it is a field you can master.”
And what advice would she give to her 18-year-old self?
“Do it all again, exactly the same.”
Customer and service oriented, as well as innovative: these are company values which L&R feel a particular commitment to, and are also reflected as characteristic values in many of our products. Many L&R products are born out of in-house development centres, such as the Austrian site at Schönau a.d. Triesting. This is where we can find the workplace of Cassia Rothen. Working as a product developer in the field of medical technologies, she sees an idea through the entire development cycle to become a finished product. This requires not only creativity, flair, technical expertise and adaptability, but above all else, the practical skills to implement and create prototypes, carry out product tests, and ensure detailed record keeping in compliance with medical regulations. Furthermore, her passion and dedication to working on innovation in the technical field represents a vital project component for success.
Cassia is also the single field-specific contact person at her site for the planning and implementation of stability studies. If we want to know whether product X will remain useable after a determined shelf life in Country Y, with its specific climate, we would turn to Cassia, our sporty scientist hailing originally from Vienna. She is also responsible for the generation of new processes in the field of stability studies (both in Schönau and across the different sites).
Even during her time studying sport equipment technologies (Bachelor and Masters) at the Technical University of Vienna, it was the lectures on medical topics which fascinated her, making her career path into the medical device sector no accident: it was her plan all along. After a brief detour working in the gait analysis laboratory of a Vienna hospital, she applied for a post at L&R. As she only had minimal experience in the field at the time, she was offered an internship place to gain the additional technical knowledge she needed. On the basis of her excellent work, and with her colleagues keen to retain her within the company, she was offered a position as a product developer.
Cassia is one of those people who are often labelled “doers”: she is proactive and disciplined, and does not shy away from new tasks or from taking on responsibility. At the same time, she is aware that success is always dependent on teamwork; she knows how to bring her colleagues up to speed on development to make sure collaboration can run smoothly, and values exchange with her colleagues, working even with those in entirely different sites. This positive working environment at her level within the company is what she values most about her job: she can enjoy a bit of fun, and even that typical Viennese “Schmäh” humour with her other colleagues in R&D. A sense of inner calm, and her talent for approaching problems in a structured and measured way, without falling prey to high emotions, have made her a contact person, or coach, within her own team due to her approachability.
The development of products and meaningful processes for their successful use in patients: tangible, technical, analytical and meaningful factors all come together as a complete package.
Her biggest challenge to-date? It is difficult to give an exact answer to this question, as:
“Due to the broad range of different areas I work in, the challenges are equally varied. One of these challenges, for example, is to be someone who comes up with solutions”.
In the past few years, she has learned that “good things take time”:
“Having patience and being able to accept that certain processes simply need time, is simply part of the game we play in this complex field of work”,
Cassia told us.
To overcome these challenges in her day-to-day work, she finds looking to sport to unwind helps to balance her: she is particularly into running. She finds that running is another activity that requires persistence and real focus in order to achieve your goals.
So what’s next for Cassia? She is currently delighted with her responsibilites, working on the further development of the Suprasorb CNP products. With its application-based interaction of different products, combined with software-controlled active medical devices, CNP is an exciting, varied and challenging area to work in.
“Expertise can always be built on, and the field is always calling out for new solutions.”
She would like to work more often with the medical specialists in the field of acceptance testing, as after all, this is where development-related input can be obtained first hand. Cassia does not shy away from taking on management responsibilities either, though, and has already taken on a role as project manager as a first step in this direction.
She would advise her 18-year-old self to follow the same path as she has taken, as in a career there is nothing nicer than being able to see your personal interests reflected in your working life, and to be able to pursue those interests. And:
“To be more persistent when faced with certain situations, and to stick to your guns when you want to achieve something, as that’s the only way to reach your objective.”
Helping other people’s lives. Lindsay Ryback at our L&R site in Milwaukee, USA, shows how this claim can be lived and how diverse it can be. When Lindsay took an extra semester in college, she chose Solaris as a local company to partner with as a part of a school project to work with a local company on developing a marketing plan.
“I fell in love with the products and their care for improving patients’ self-management of “Lymphawhat?!”,
she admits openly.
In more than six years she has developed from a college graduate with flowers in her hair to a businesswoman who remains authentic in her heart. In 2019, she celebrated her 5 year work anniversary and received a trophy from the President of L&R USA. Today, the hands-on learner sees herself as a networker with decision-makers, patients and therapists - with the ultimate goal of supporting patients’ lives with lymphedema. In addition to her expertise in L&R compression solutions, the 28-year-old touches people with her commitment and infects them with her optimism. Lindsay wears a smile on her face even under a very full workload. At a young age, Lindsay's parents taught her about hard work and passion in everything you do through the example they set in both their family-owned grocery store and restaurant. This sharpened her view of her own career definition: she wants to improve something, wants to connect nodes, know the interstices of responsibilities and think processes as a whole. Her dad gave her early advice:
“When you believe in what you do, people will trust you.”
Now, a couple of years later, Lindsay would advise her 18-year- old-self:
“Build strong co-worker and industry relationships as teamwork is where true success comes from, and always remember to say thank those that help you along the way.”
At a conference of the International Lymphoedema Framework she had met Immy, a lymphoedema patient, with her mother at the L&R booth. A month later, they accepted Lindsay's invitation to a tour of the L&R production site in Milwaukee, which delighted them. Immy is in daily skin contact with L&R products, which she has been wearing for years. A look behind the scenes of L&R’s production and getting in touch with the people who manufacture and sell the compression solutions fascinated her.
“Supporting patients and their loved ones by helping improve their overall quality of life – that’s the part that really drives me. We save patient’s time, we provide quality they can count on, we support them in their self-care”,
Whether in roundtable discussions and events with patients, or at conferences and workshops with medical professionals, or even in sales meetings – the ambassador of the L&R employee campaign "I am L&R" at L&R USA shares knowledge and stories and listens carefully. In her eyes, it is precisely this mix of internal office tasks and external field work that makes her job so exciting and dynamic. As she transitioned from Marketing Associate into Product Management and took over the range of garments, wraps and stockings which enable patients to become more independent, she learned more about the products’ technology and application. Lindsay took the time to observe daily therapy practice on site in medical facilities, where she found out more about the emotional support patients need too.
“Being a part of the compression community has taught me so much about true care and passion for what it means to support one another. Whether it is a co-worker, patient, therapist, or even sometimes a competitor – it is great to see everyone come together for the greater good of supporting clinical challenges and patient needs for an improved quality of life.”
And yet, there are particularly complex challenges facing her from time to time. In these moments, she grabs her iced coffee with homemade lavender simple syrup and buckles down. What she appreciates most – is rolling up her dress sleeves to work with her colleagues supporting one another across departments - and sometimes doing tasks that would not be covered under a "job description" for the betterment of the company. Besides positivity she is convinced that decisions for the organization are made best when different experts bring in their knowledge. That is why, as part of her task of introducing and further developing compression solutions in the US market, she exchanges views with key opinion leaders, both on the patient and the professional side. Her commitment to helping patients is aimed at long-term impact, which includes representing L&R USA on the Lymphedema Treatment Act Board in Washington DC to advocate for the reimbursement of garments, wraps and bandages.
“Whether I am working on a new product data sheet, strategic pricing, training the sales force or am holding a presentation with medical professionals: When a task presents itself, that brings value to the company overall, it needs to be done. I want to be part of the solution, not sitting back waiting for someone else to take it over.”
Being a part of the compression community, it has taught me so much about true care and passion for what it means to support one another. Whether it is a co-worker, patient, therapist, or even sometimes a competitor – it is great to see everyone come together for the greater good of the clinical challenges and patient needs for an improved quality of life.