In September 2020 Virena Schmeink joined envelio as a Senior Sales Manager.
In this position, she is responsible for the acquisition of new customers in the DACH market and provides them with sales support in pilot and rollout phases as well as in regular operation.
In her spare time, she is passionate about dancing the Lindy Hop, a swing dance from the 1930s. Unfortunately, dancing is at a standstill right now, due to the pandemic. Moreover, Virena is out in nature whenever she can.
We interviewed Virena.
Why did you choose to work in the tech industry?
My interest in this industry developed over time: I originally studied economics with a focus on energy and resource economics and wanted to become a business journalist in Brussels. I also completed a master’s degree in international management and a journalistic traineeship at Gruner + Jahr Wirtschaftspresse. During that traineeship, I realized that a career in journalism was not for me. However, the energy sector did not let me go. When I accepted a job as a working student at the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne, I was hooked. Since then, I have remained loyal to the energy sector. I have not regretted this decision.
What do you like about the energy industry?
As an “old-established” industry, energy supply plays a significant role in society and the economy. When I started my career, “unbundling” was just around the corner, which means the separation of the energy grids (as natural monopolies) and the market areas (such as sales, trading & procurement) into separate divisions. This meant a complete reorganization of the utilities. Today, we are facing climate change and thus the massive challenge of converting the energy supply from conventional to renewable energies. Here, digitization offers enormous potential that needs to be tapped. Being an active part of these processes and being able to make a difference through your own contribution is extremely exciting for me.
How did you come across envelio?
Before joining envelio, I worked at ATHION, also an energy start-up. At that time, there was a research project that both companies were involved in. A former ATHION colleague once said about envelio that it was “a pretty cool place”. That made me curious, so I made contact. At first, it was unclear to me whether I, as a non-engineer, would fit in here. Today I can say the experiment worked out well.
How would you describe the corporate culture at envelio?
We have a particularly good team spirit, and we stand up for each other. Everyone has a high motivation to do an excellent job. That demands a lot of energy, but it also gives you a lot of energy back. At the same time, we have a lot of fun among our colleagues and enjoy working together. Hardly a meeting goes by without at least one good laugh. The internal atmosphere is positive and harmonious.
How are women valued at envelio?
Regarding my personal situation, I can say that I feel valued to a good extent. There is no bonus because I am a woman, but no disadvantage either.
What have been your experiences as a woman in the tech in the past?
When I started working in this industry, women still had an exotic status. Often I was the only woman at conferences. However, I am happy to say that I see more women in this sector, especially since the beginning of the energy transition. The shift towards renewable energies has made it attractive again.
What needs to change for more women to succeed in tech?
I think it’s important that we teach young girls that subjects like math and physics can be favorites. Girls can also like technology kits just as much as boys. It’s not a contradiction to be interested in technology and like unicorns at the same time. During puberty, it is also extremely significant not to convey typical, clichéd role models. In addition, I would also like us professionals (of all ages) to regularly question ourselves. For example, when we unconsciously talk about “him” in relation to a management position that needs to be filled.