Eva Wittka, Adventure traveler, summit conqueror, multilinguist, art lover.
Building a global IT workflow tool. Figurehead of digital transformation.
Vice President Broadcast & Marketing Solutions, arvato Systems, Cologne.

Eva Wittka

Creativity is hugely important to me

When I’m completely focused on something and can really get in the flow, that’s when I'm happiest, says Eva Wittka, that’s why I enjoy my work so much, because it gives me the chance to apply my talents and express my personality. At home I'm no different to how I am at work. My job is therefore an important part of my life.

Eva Wittka is responsible for the business unit Broadcast Management and Marketing at arvato Systems within the Bertelsmann Group. Together with her team, she develops individual IT solutions for media and television companies. Our clients are just in the middle of their digital transformation. For the moment, most of their income is still generated using traditional business models, but they know they need to develop new approaches to keep up with the digital world, explains Eva. We create products that help our clients move forward in this, and we also offer specific solutions that continue to support traditional models while at the same time integrating the new models and providing a bridge between the two. Eva’s job involves working alongside arvato’s clients, preparing them for the transition towards completely digitized and simplified broadcasting processes.

Eva currently commutes between the two cities of Cologne and Munich.

I think I would describe my lifestyle as urban. I live in Cologne and Munich, in both cases in the city centre. I don’t have a car, so I usually travel on foot or use public transport.

But a friend gave me an old ladies bicycle, which I use to get to work when I’m in Cologne.

A good work-life balance is very important to Eva. Modern technology affords her and her eighty-strong team the necessary freedom and flexibility for creative work. We use webinars and web conferences. Colleagues who have a long commute are able to work from home. I expect that our working lives will become even more dynamic and flexible in the future, that things will continue to get faster and more automated and spread out across different locations. Eva therefore sees it as part of her job to start relevant initiatives now to ensure a better work-life balance for her present and future colleagues. Technology allows us to be more flexible and at least choose where we want to work, since we can’t really have control over when we want to work.

Eva actively seeks the dialogue with her team and feels that this helps her in her day-to-day responsibilities. Working as a team, bouncing ideas off each other, that really inspires me. And I think that most of my colleagues also enjoy working with me and appreciate the exchange of ideas. Although, she also readily admits that she isn't always the easiest person to work with: I often tend to finish things only at the very last minute. If, for example, I have to give a presentation, I will usually be finalizing it on the plane on the way there, she confesses, I believe that my colleagues find that difficult at times. I guess it’s fair to say that punctuality is not exactly my greatest strength.

On the other hand, Eva makes a point of knowing every one of her eighty team members individually, what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, and what their aspirations are. And in her efforts to coach them and help them grow and develop, she will sometimes also help them move on: I had a colleague who desperately wanted to work abroad. So I got in touch with our team in New York and recommended him.

For Eva herself, too, spending time abroad was life-defining. I spent two years in Canada, introducing our software to a television company there, and the experience was invaluable for me, both personally and professionally. In fact, the international component was one of the main reasons she chose Bertelsmann ten years ago. I’d already worked for another media company and definitely wanted to stay in the industry. But I also wanted to work in a global context and gain some international experience. Bertelsmann could offer all of that, so I chose this job. And she’s never looked back:

I really love the variety. I have to look at things from so many different angles here: from a business perspective, but also thinking creatively, developing new visions, leading my team, working with clients. It really is an extremely diverse job and I learn something new every day. It never gets boring.

Of course things also get stressful at times. Then I usually ask myself: ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ And because it’s not really a case of life and death here, it generally isn’t so bad. Then I set priorities, focus on one thing at a time and things usually sort themselves out.

To relax in the evening, Eva tends to reach for a good book. Books help me to slow down because I can decide the speed for myself. The book matches my own tempo and I really like that a lot. My friends gave me something great for my birthday. They created a book, in which everyone recommended their favorite book. I’m reading one of them at the moment. But Eva also likes to explore new terrain in her free time. At the weekend I often go hiking in the mountains. In winter too, but then with snowshoes. And if I have a bit more time, I go on a real adventure holiday. The last time, I went to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Hiking through the amazing natural scenery there really was the most wonderful experience.

For her professional journey, Eva has great plans too: My goal is to continue preparing our business unit for the future, through innovation and by making sure that our teams enjoy their work, that they can develop their talents and that working here is a positive experience. Working towards this vision is Eva’s motivation to get up every day looking forward to her work.

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