Female Disruptors: Katrin Zimmermann is shaking up strategic innovation

Break the rules, you can apologize later. When I co-founded Lufthansa’s innovation hub, this was the advice of the first female CFO of a…

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Break the rules, you can apologize later. When I co-founded Lufthansa’s innovation hub, this was the advice of the first female CFO of a DAX 30 Company, Simone Menne. She was 100% right.

I had the pleasure to interview Katrin Zimmermann. Katrin Zimmermann launched TLGG’s first international office, based in New York. As Managing Director The Americas, Katrin is holistically responsible for TLGGs Consulting services with global clients based within the NAFTA region. She counsels international companies and brands like Bayer, Unilever, Porsche or the Le Mans Corporation in the strategic use of digital technologies, creation of new organization forms or the development of new business models.

Thank you so much for joining us. What is your “backstory”?

My path to TLGG was a bit more unconventional. After 15 years in the aviation industry, I joined TLGG and launched the first international office. While I had some helpful experience consulting clients on how technology impacts their business and induces change, I also had a lot to learn. Taking a leap of faith to consulting full time pushed my boundaries in a positive way, and I was able to really learn — something I still do every day.

Why did you find your company?

Our world is changing faster than ever as digital technologies transform one industry after another. We need to actively shape a human future in this digital age. TLGG aims to do just this in a balanced matter. Most companies struggle with this transition, particularly in the fields of strategy, organizational development and business model innovation. We wanted to be different.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Navigating through this digital age requires strategic consulting and innovative thinking. We are able to offer our clients a holistic perspective in times of constant change. In addition, gender equality has been part of our DNA from the very beginning- we’re probably the only consulting company in New York with 80% of female staff — I am proud of that fact and clients very much appreciate it today!

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

I have been quite lucky to have wonderful friends and family, a strong supportive network, smart sparring partners and outstanding bosses that have always pushed me and given me the freedom to grow. Nurturing these relationships — no matter how stressed I am or how demanding my job is, has always been a priority for me.

How are you going to shake things up next?

As long as I stay open-minded, I’ll always be ready to take on the next challenge that comes my way. We currently have a couple of projects that focus on how communities, companies and governments can come together to shape digitalization, rather than being shaped by it. This is definitely one of the areas I would like to explore further in the next couple of years.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

1. Break the rules, you can apologize later.

When I co-founded Lufthansa’s innovation hub, this was the advice of the first female CFO of a DAX 30 Company, Simone Menne. She was 100% right.

2. Nobody thinks as much about you, as you do yourself.

A wise mentor who reminded me that I am my own worst critic. Women especially tend to do be very harsh on themselves. Sometimes done really is better than perfect. (what does done mean?)

3. Always wear good shoes.

That’s what my grandmother told me when I was 4 — we share a passion for extraordinary shoes!

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

Sapiens/Homo deus from Y. Harari — probably a standard answer these days! It helped me understand that no matter how small we are in the context of human evolution, we live in incredibly impactful times. For the first time in history, we are conscious as a connected society about the changes we are going through- how that is driving and impacting change itself is incredibly fascinating to me.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Kara Swisher — She is an icon and idol for women who strive to own and create their own destiny. A powerful voice in a male dominated environment, a creator and questioner. A pioneer of her own success story driving respect and freedom of behavior. She definitely has a few stories to tell.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @TLGGConsulting

LinkedIn: TLGG Consulting


Twitter: @roaminstar


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