On an espresso with ... Inka Lux, Coffee Champion & HR Specialist Talent Acquisition and Development DACH
Interview with Inka Lux, JDE
We met Inka Lux for coffee – what else? – at the newly renovated employee café at JDE.
When did you study in Bremen and why did you decide to attend university here?
I previously had completed an apprenticeship as a speech therapist and had actually wanted to study Pedagogy at the University of Bremen – becoming a teacher seemed exciting. However, not every university offered the combination of Sports and English as teaching subjects. So Bremen was a great chance. I am originally from the Harz Mountains and moved to Aachen for my apprenticeship. That’s why I wanted to go back north. The fact that the university did not charge tuition fees when I started in 2006 was the deciding factor. And honestly? I have never regretted my decision and was very positively surprised.
What was your most important or most memorable memory to your time here?
I was in my twenties when I was a student, so my entire time as a student was an important and memorable experience – friendships, decisions, networking. Personally and academically, I have always been supported by somebody. There were many strong personalities at work here. It has been an exciting time overall, in which I was also able to study literature in Oxford for a year. I then realized that becoming a teacher was not the right path for me at that point and decided to do the Master’s in Transcultural Studies. It was just amazing to be able to follow an even clearer and customized path and receive a lot of support along the way.
Has there also been something that influenced your personal career in particular?
Yes: the attitude, staying open and enthusiastic, and searching for one’s own potential. You have to look a little further to the left and right, notice different things as well. For example, I have done several internships that carried me forward and provided me with additional insights. This may perhaps seem more difficult nowadays. Nevertheless, I would like to give students the advice to be ready to accept putting up with things. Forget the standard period of study! It is not decisive. Your years as a student offer the best opportunities to grow, to try yourself out, and to broaden your horizon. That was the biggest influence on my life and has helped me along.
Is this your advice to today’s students? Considering you are an HR specialist in the field of recruitment?
Yes, exactly! That, and: don’t forget the bigger picture! Do not unduly stick to the rules and regulations. Instead, look at what you really want and what is important to you. It may take a little more effort today and require more action, but my advice is this: Find your own path. It does not matter how long it takes you, only the result and the degree of satisfaction are important. You will radiate that when looking for jobs. Those are the types of employees we are looking for at JDE as well; those with their own ideas, with passion, and with courage to try things out. That will always pay off. Many have asked me along the way: What is it that you do with Transcultural Studies? What will your future be like? But those are the wrong questions. Seek for something that fascinates you, something you are passionate about!
You are now connected to the University of Bremen as an alumna – but there is a completely new role as well… Tell us about it, Ms. Lux! What does the new corporate membership mean to Jacobs Douwe Egberts?
We are excited that our company enters – as pioneers – this cooperation with the alumni association of the University of Bremen. We are a long-standing company in Bremen. About 125 years ago, Johann Jacobs opened his first store at the Domshof. Today, we are present in the city with our coffee plant in Bremen-Hemelingen and the headquarters for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in Bremen-Neustadt. We also feel like an integral part of the city. Therefore, we would like to become more visible as an interesting and attractive employer in the city and give something back. The university in our city is an ideal partner for that. It is a major chance for both sides. A network like this can give young people and those interested the chance to gain a significant insight into the goings-on behind the scenes and into the different fields of work here.
And the topic of coffee is always a good ice breaker, right? How will the cooperation be palpable? What do you imagine?
(laughs) Coffee always works! That’s right. We approached the alumni association proactively and agreed on the partnership quickly. We go about it twofold: In the beginning, we would like to offer information so that people can learn more about JDE and the world of coffee and to present the great network such as this with an interesting job offer here or there; in the long run, we would like to increase using the network for the exchange of ideas and for conversations as well as – wherever possible – open our doors for insights on-site. Maybe at some point in the future, the alumni are interested in consultation services on the topics of applications or career start. Something like that. Ideally, both sides learn from one another. We are always on the lookout for new approaches, new ideas. The same is true for JDE in terms of interns and graduates. We appreciate new ideas in all fields of our work.
So the cooperation offers new impulses for JDE as well?
I am certain this will make for a great symbiosis! Science follows different approaches than economy – but finding points of intersection is what makes it exciting. Mutual understanding! We are looking for people with passion. We need people with ideas who can think outside the box and strive to improve. We are looking for team thinkers. There is a lot of freedom for change, flat hierarchies, and exemplified responsibility. Even our directors do not hide in their offices but have their desks in the regular open-plan office; they are approachable and in direct contact with everyone else. With their fingers on the pulse of life and their employees. Those are new paths – and we take them with enthusiasm. And we always welcome new impulses and ideas from the outside. That is how the cooperation with the University of Bremen through the alumni association will be a marvelous opportunity. We are looking forward to it!
This sounds very convinced and convincing! Thank you very much for the interview! We are curious to learn more from JDE.
Thank you, Ms Lux. (The interview was held by Manuela Brocksieper, conTEXT.)