Career Lounge

Diversity at VIG

Diversity in the business environment is a highly discussed topic, especially in the field of staff and personnel development. At Vienna Insurance Group diversity is daily experienced. This may be recognized by more than 20 different languages spoken and 26 nationalities of employees – only in the headquarter in Vienna.  

Get to know some of our employees’ personal backgrounds and professional careers:

Svetla Nestorova

Svetla Nestorova

General Manager, Bulstrad Life
Country: Bulgaria

Profile:
-    At Bulstrad since 2004, with VIG since 2006 (acquisition of Bulstrad by VIG)
-    In current position since 2006
-    Responsibilities: General Management

My VIG story
I had already been at VIG for a while and thought that I knew everything. But then I realised that I had some learning to do. I may have been a VIG employee, but I wasn’t VIG through and through until I took part in the IEDC Leadership Development Programme in Bled in Slovenia in 2011. I met some amazing people there, both professionally and privately, from all over CEE – people who I can now call friends.
I discovered how rewarding it can be to work with a diverse group of intelligent, professional people who are keen to learn. We were pushed to our limits, and honed our skills, learned new things and searched for answers together. The programme lasted for about a year, and I didn’t return as a VIG employee but as a VIG fan!
When I started at Bulstrad, we were ranked sixth in the life market. Every improvement in our market share since then was a milestone which strengthened my belief that nothing is impossible in my job.

What it means to be part of VIG
VIG is a phenomenon, and having access to the Group’s wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise is a huge advantage. You can’t even begin to count the number of years of market experience which the Group companies have built up. Regional experience is the most decisive factor.
No matter what the situation, you can just pick up the phone and speak to someone who can help. There is always a specialist who is available to give you advice and support. And even if that person doesn’t know the answer, they always know someone who does.

My advice for new (female) VIG employees

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to choose between your private life and your work! It’s just not true that they are mutually exclusive. I have a wonderful family. A husband and two kids who need their mother. And I’m there for them. The same goes for lots of women in our team, and of course for the men too! (Laughs)
In my experience, a rewarding career enriches your family life and vice versa. It’s up to you. You can have one or the other, or both. And VIG is the perfect place to find the right balance.

Fahrettin Turan

Fahrettin Turan

Member of the Managing Board, Executive Director, Ray Sigorta
Country: Turkey
Hobbies and interests: skiing, jogging, trips to historic places

My VIG story
I
n September 2006 I joined Ray as Assistant Manager in Claims Department, responsible for Purchasing and Logistics activities, six months later I became Claims and Subrogation Manager. When the department was split into motor and non-motor insurance, I had the chance to head up the motor insurance section. That was a major challenge, as it was the year in which VIG acquired a majority stake in Ray and began to play a more prominent role in setting the company’s strategy. Since then I participated in very different projects, meetings, seminars within the Group, ranging from claims up to human resources. I also had a chance to spend two months in VIG’s Czech Group companies. I met many people and made many friends during all this period. In April 2014 I was nominated to the Managing Board and Executive Director, responsible for Motor Underwriting, Motor Claims and Subrogation. For me the most exciting part to be in VIG is that there are always surprises waiting for you in your career, in a positive way for sure.

My career
After graduating from Management Engineering, I wanted to pursue a career in banking. I worked as a financial analyst at a bank and moved to another financial institution. And then the financial crisis hit! So I used the time to go to England and improve my business English. As I returned to Turkey, I changed my occupation and started working in the automotive industry – until I got the job offer from Ray.

What’s special about my job at VIG
The major point is that you are at the heart of core business, Motor! You never get bored; there are always plenty of things to do, to change and to discover. To be responsible for claims together with underwriting, also enlarge your vision and enable you to have many different points of view. Moreover, being in contact with colleagues from different countries is special about working for VIG. I attended the management training programme in Bled where I met lots of colleagues from VIG Group companies all over Europe.

A person who I’ve learnt a lot from
I have a motto that you can learn very useful behaviours and information for your own sake from each and every person surrounding you. On the other hand, there are of course some very special people impressing you and affecting your career path. As an example I’ll never forget Mr. Karl Fink, our Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He opened my mind and opened new gates for me since we have met in 2009. I owe him a lot.

Christine Dornaus

Christine Dornaus

Managing Board member, Wiener Städtische Versicherung
Country: Austria

Profile
- At VIG since 2002
- In current position since June 2009
- Responsibilities: securities and funds, investment management and loans, real estate and real estate related investments, finance and accounting, collections service centre

What it means to be part of VIG

It means being part of an Austrian and also an international success story. The staff event we held for the inauguration of CEO Peter Hagen gave me a real taste of the strong sense of togetherness in the Group. For me, this close cooperation within the Group is one of the secrets of VIG’s success.

My personal success factors
I believe there are four factors which have helped me to be successful:
1)    a team which pulls its weight
2)    a boss who backs me up
3)    a family that supports my career
4)    hard work

My advice for new VIG employees
Put all of your energy into getting as much as you can out of your work and channelling it into your personal development.

What makes VIG special in comparison to other international companies
The individual professionalism at VIG is something really special.

Emir Halilovic

Emir Halilovic

Investor Relations Manager, Vienna Insurance Group
Country: Austria
Hobbies, interests and home life: sport (handball, football), socialising

My VIG story
I joined the VIG Investor Relations team in the middle of December 2012. Marianna Binder from the Recruiting team called me a short time after my application to ask whether I would consider taking on a role in the Investor Relations team – a different position to the one I applied for, and one that had not even been advertised at that point.
My application was forwarded on to Nina Higatzberger, the head of Investor Relations, and everything fell into place very quickly after that. Because the team is quite small you are involved in all aspects of capital market communications as an Investor Relations Manager – I’m not restricted to any one single area, and I like that.

My career
I was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina. My parents moved to Austria with their jobs when I was just four years old. We lived in Villach, and I moved to Vienna to study for a bachelor’s degree at the Vienna University of Business and Economics.
After graduating I completed a six-month internship at the investor relations department of a major international bank, and they offered me the chance to take up a full-time position. The IR team was very large and had a completely different structure to the one at VIG. I was assigned to the analyst team, and got to know this part of the business inside out during my time there. But after a year and a half I was hungry to find out more about other sectors, which is why I decided to apply for a job at VIG.

What’s special about my job at VIG
Although the Group is a very large organisation, it doesn’t seem like it thanks to its flat hierarchies. This is particularly true of VIG Holding in Vienna.
After just a few months I had a clear overview of how the company worked – and that’s extremely important in my role. The quick and unbureaucratic rotation scheme also helped, and gave me hands-on experience of all the areas that are most important for Investor Relations, such as Controlling and Asset Management.
All in all I feel very welcome, and it didn’t take long for me to find my feet in the Group from a professional or personal perspective, which is by no means a given in a company of this size.

Daniela Lemmel-Seedorf

Daniela Lemmel-Seedorf

Investor Relations Assistant, Vienna Insurance Group
Country: Austria
Hobbies, interests and home life: opera, theatre, history

My VIG story
I had heard a lot of good things about VIG as an employer from a friend of mine who had been working for the Group for just under a year. When the time came for a change in my career, I submitted an unsolicited application to the Recruiting team and soon received an invitation to attend an initial interview. Everything snowballed from there really: Investor Relations was looking for a new assistant to take over at short notice, which opened the door to me at VIG in February 2011.
I didn’t really have any fixed ideas about what to expect in the Investor Relations department, but the sheer variety of tasks that I was given responsibility for came as a very positive surprise. Alongside my standard office management and travel planning responsibilities, I also have a hand in the IR section of the VIG website. Every day is different and brings fresh challenges with it.

My career
After graduating from Vienna University in theatre studies and ethnology I was given the opportunity to accumulate valuable experience as a management assistant at the division “European Computer Driving Licence” (ECDL) of the non-profit foundation “Austrian Computer Association”. I was involved in building up the ECDL and helped to shape the development of computer application certificates over the years, as well as organising and holding workshops. During this time I also found time to start a family. But after 12 years I felt that it was time for a new challenge.

What’s special about my job at VIG
Working in a large group was a completely new experience for me. I attach great importance to a friendly working atmosphere, and I like to know that my work is appreciated. As far as that’s concerned, VIG has more than exceeded my expectations. I go to work motivated and with a spring in my step each day. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to say that.