Meet: Daniela Maisel

Daniela Maisel studied bioinformatics, made her PhD in molecular biomedicine and joined Roche Diagnostics GmbH in Penzberg 10 years ago as a Bioinformatics Scientist. Today, she is Head of RICM Site Operations and Site Head of Roche Innovation Center Munich. 

Why did you choose Roche as your employer and how did you start at Roche?

As a bioinformatician you had to decide early on where you wanted to go after graduating. It was always clear to me that I want to work in industry. I’m from southern Germany and Roche was very well known there. After completing my PhD, I applied for an advertised position as a bioinformatician in research and was hired. 

What moved you from bioinformatics to leadership?

The special thing about my position at the time was that I was the first bioinformatician trained in pharmaceutical research at the Penzberg site. I am still very proud of this today. Together with my former manager, I gradually built up the department and made it popular. I always enjoyed working scientifically very much but I soon realized that I enjoyed working with people just as much. And so my desire for further development was born. I discussed this with my manager and after a restructuring of our department and my parental leave, my manager asked me for a position as Operations Manager in Site Management. This opportunity came at the right time and some time later I even took on an additional position as Site Head of Roche Innovation Center Munich. Double burden? On the contrary: the timing for this challenge was just right for me!

What is indispensable for your profession and what do you particularly enjoy?

Working with people and constant challenges are incredibly important to me. I cannot get bored. For me, the most important thing is to work together as a team on a project and to be satisfied when you have achieved your goals. That's why I like to call myself a change champion. In my role as Site Head, I have to be able to inspire my employees and colleagues for the various projects and innovations.  The awareness that our global projects can make a difference and change something gives me a lot of pleasure.


How do you reconcile career and family?

I can answer this question very short! Organisational Talent! A good organization is the be-all and end-all for me. I like to plan 3 to 4 months in advance. My plans include the time spent at the day care centre for my children, my private and leisure activities as well as my professional projects. But you also have to let your job be your job. This is not always easy, but in my opinion it is indispensable. My work is very important for me but without family it doesn't work for me either. For me, this means that if I want to spend an afternoon with my children, the next day I will go to work earlier or come home later. Of course, the partner also plays an important role here. Without this, such an overall construct is not possible.

You have also taken over your children's football training - where do you get the energy from?

I have never lacked energy. For me such activities are an enrichment in my everyday life. Of course, I have to consciously take the time to do this. The good thing about my job is that I can mainly manage my working day myself. I am addressing the topic of mobile working. Whether I spend time with my children at noon and create my presentation in the evening when the children are in bed is up to me. Our motto is: We don't work on time - we work on outcome.

In your opinion, is there still room for improvement in supporting women in management positions? What is Roche's support like?

Personally, I have always been very lucky with my previous managers when it comes to further development. Even my pregnancy had not put my future position as group leader at risk. A joint solution was found for this situation, too, for example that I took up the position a little later. A rejection was never a possible outcome. However, I know that unfortunately this is not yet taken for granted everywhere - but it should be. I think that the cultural change in this direction has not yet been successfully completed and for this reason I still see a clear need for improvement.  

What 3 tips would you give to women who aspire to a leadership position?

First and foremost, of course, it is a good organization, followed by the implementation of its goals and the courage to do so. I advise a woman to really live her desire for further development and to stand up for her rights. It is incredibly important to be aware of one's own strengths and abilities, to demonstrate and embody them. Women should not disparage themselves and simply ignore the prejudices against women in management positions, some of which unfortunately still exist. Women can achieve just as much as men - sometimes they simply lack the courage to do so. For this reason, I do not see a women's quota in companies as the best solution. The person who is best suited for the job should be given the job. 

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