A personal tale of
a people-first

The ambitions, skills and ideas of the employees at Boehringer Ingelheim are the foundation of its innovative strength. This is why the family-owned company has always placed an emphasis on its workforce and continues to put people first in everything it does. Together, the employees of Boehringer Ingelheim shape a work environment that lets every individual thrive.

When Dr. Anna Kaufmann began her journey at Boehringer Ingelheim about five years ago, it was as a post-doctoral researcher in downstream drug development. Then her manager became a mother — and served as a role model for flexible working.

“She worked from home, part-time,” Dr. Kaufmann recalls. “At first, a little over two hours a day. Nevertheless, she managed to make sure that I was able to find my way and that we were all well-coordinated as a team. In retrospect, she played a truly pioneering role in my life.”

Dr. Kaufmann’s post-doctoral work was followed by a stint in drug formulation development. It was a valuable experience, outside a laboratory. But she realized her true yearning was for scientific work in the lab — a realization reinforced by a three-month job rotation in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Immuno-Oncology research department. “Making my career in research is something I’m very passionate about,” she says.

An ideal opportunity

And then came an alluring job advertisement: An opening in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Drug Discovery Sciences research department in Biberach, Germany, led by Dr. Achim Sauer.

“I saw this job posting — in research, which I had always worked towards," Dr. Kaufmann says. Even though the job as a senior scientist involved a management role, and she had no history of leadership experience, she applied anyway.

Dr. Kaufmann was invited to the selection process, which included performing a research task which she had to solve theoretically from the field with which she had no previous experience, either. “I took an extra three days’ time to do this research work,” she says. “I was convinced that the job vacancy would mean a great development opportunity for me, and that's why I decided to roll up my sleeves.”

Dr. Sauer was impressed. “She exceeded expectations,” he says, “and demonstrated her ability to familiarize herself with new topics quickly and solve challenging questions.”

Dr. Kaufmann’s coveted job offer was accompanied by another piece of good fortune: She was going to become a mother, for the second time. "My family and I were enormously happy about the news,” she says. “At the same time, I wondered what this would mean for the job change.”

Dr. Kaufmann opted for openness and transparency, which she considers crucial to good teamwork. So, when asked when she could start, she replied: “I'm pregnant.”

Thinking in terms of generations

When Dr. Ms. Kaufmann returned from her leave, she followed the plan inspired by her manager five years earlier, working 1.5 hours a day for the first two months.

“We all have different life circumstances and in my case it's the new addition to the family. I want to show that we can link different working models and meet our personal needs as well as work-related aspirations.”

“We know that highly committed employees are the core of the innovative strength of our company.”Dr. Sven Sommerlatte,
Global Head of Human Resources at Boehringer Ingelheim

It's all in keeping with the company’s people-first culture, in the view of Dr. Sven Sommerlatte, Global Head of Human Resources at Boehringer Ingelheim. Dr. Kaufmann's career trajectory demonstrates what is possible at Boehringer Ingelheim, a family-owned company that thinks in terms of generations.

“We know that highly committed employees are the core of the innovative strength of our company,” Dr. Sommerlatte says. “If, like Dr. Kaufmann, they have a job that suits them and where they can grow, then this is also for the benefit of humans and animals.”


Learn more about working at Boehringer Ingelheim


Explore the career tips from Dr. Sven Sommerlatte, Global Head of Human Resources, Boehringer Ingelheim