Interview with Karin Richman
Project Manager Non-Tech & Executive Assistant to Stefan Trondl, Country Manager & GM @ Dell EMC

Karin's daily business entails calendar management, coordination of internal meetings/trainings, customer meetings at CxO level, travel management, input and approval of expenses. Since mid-2017, she is the Sustainability & CSR Lead for Austria. Karin provides general support to the local Sales Team, and am responsible for coordination of public tenders, organizing official documentation. Her project management resume includes many extra-ordinary projects such as: International Women's Day since 2014, Pink Ribbon Day since 2012, Wiener Töchtertag (Girls' Day) since 2015, EMC Gives Back campaigns, and more. She also co-led the EMC Austria Teenage Cancer Aid Project (Community Involvement Project) which ran from 2009-2013 and was a very successful community involvement project. Karin launched the quarterly regional newsletter in Q2 2016, contributing to the High Performance Culture in the CEE region with interesting updates from the countries, awards, recognition, and so on. The launch was accompanied by a short video with the RCM, which she filmed and edited. Check out Dell EMC.
Hi, Karin! Tell us about Dell's office in Austria, and what a typical day looks like for you?
Dell's offices in the Euro Plaza complex in the south-western part of Vienna. The office park has been being built out since 2003, and we were one of the first companies to move in here. The office is a light airy open-plan, and it is a very pleasant environment to work in. With regard to a typical day for me: there isn't really such a thing as a typical day. I have a few standard meetings that happen once a week, or once every two weeks, and other than that, the day starts in the morning when I look at my emails and then I get an idea of how busy things are going to be or whether it's going to be relatively stable. So when it comes to the larger projects, I need to be quite disciplined about planning in my time.
Who have been your most important mentors, and what lessons from them do you carry with you to this day?
In my career I've never actually had a formal mentor - that's maybe been a mistake - nevertheless, I've had a lot of informal mentors, and with the company, over the years there have been two people who stick out in my mind. One started as a peer, and then became my manager. And from him, I learned the lesson that it's not only what you know, but it's also who you know - and how to establish a network and look after that network, and communicate with the network, and make sure that you don't just communicate at peer level and below, but also make sure that you network upwards as well. And a second mentor, I met her actually when she originally interviewed me for this job. And we have known one another ever since and have a lot in common, and enjoy working together on various projects. And she taught me that it's not just what you know and who you know, but it is also very important who knows you. In other words: doing internal marketing within the company, as well as external marketing and obviously through social media channels now give one a much better chance to do that.
What events and organizational activities are you most proud of your work on?
The activity of which I'm most proud, is a project which we ran here at the site from 2009 to 2013 called the Teenage Cancer Aid Project. As part of this we helped young people, survivors of childhood cancers, to orientate themselves on the job market by providing mentoring, interview techniques, helping them fill out their CVs, and even as basic as pointing them in the right direction in where to look for a job. We also were able to provide the internship for one young man, who had his faith in human nature restored after a rather unfortunate experience at a different employer. And we have also been able to provide long-term employment for one young man, who spent three months with us for part of his college training, and then was able to apply for an associate job, and in the meantime he has a successful career with us.
How did your previous experience lead you to Dell, and how has the company changed since you started there in 2003?
Prior to joining the company in 2003, I worked for an American multinational company with the sales office based in Vienna and responsible for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. So, joining EMC - as it was at the time - my geographical span was a little bit greater, because we also had not just Central and Eastern Europe, but also Middle East and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. That made life even more interesting. And sales managers or sales managers, I don't think it makes much difference which industry you're working in. As far as changes within the company are concerned, ever since the merger with Dell things have changed unrecognizably. EMC had previously grown, but now the company is very, very large and across the entire world. This has meant that focus has actually, locally, become far more on Austria, which is also interesting: because instead of working across multi-borders, now we can focus a lot more on what's happening on our doorstep.
What's next for you?
As far as the near future is concerned, I'm going to be focusing a lot more on my role as corporate social responsibility lead in Austria, introducing the new Social Impact Program at our Dell technologies forum in October. And also, I'm going to be expanding my role as our MARC Ambassador - MARC stands for Many Advocating Real Change - and is an awareness program to help people understand why inclusion is important, and what role they can play in creating an inclusive environment. We're starting some awareness sessions here in Vienna in September and October, and I'll be leading those, so I'm very much looking forward to finding out everybody's ideas and inputs on those. With regard to the medium term, I'm looking forward to a holiday in Asia! My husband and I are going to discover a little bit more of the world together. As far as my career is concerned, I'm going to wait and see what surprises wait for me around the corner.