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A job interview at four months pregnant: Pia’s path to Head of IT at Otto PEG

A job interview at four months pregnant: Pia’s path to Head of IT at Otto PEG

Her enthusiasm for IT is infectious: Pia Fischbach on technology, her two children and her role as Head of IT at OTTO Payment Entwicklungsgesellschaft

3/10/2022 Editor Verena Kolb Reading time: 4 Minutes
If there’s one thing Pia can’t stand, it’s being bored. And that’s reflected in her daily (working) life too. In this article, she tells us how she manages to combine family life with a full-time job and why she wants to share her story with others

Pia’s path into IT

Pia discovers her passion for technology and IT while she’s still a teenager: she studies programming at her business-focused secondary school. So it’s no surprise that, once she leaves school, she embarks on a degree in Business Informatics. With her Bachelor’s degree under her belt, Pia moves from southern Germany right up north. First stop is Copenhagen, where she completes a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She then starts her professional career in her adopted home city of Hamburg. That was 14 years ago now, but her passion for Hamburg and for the world of IT burns just as brightly as ever.

Getting rid of clichés

There have been times in Pia’s professional life when she has been looked down upon as a woman in IT. In those situations, she likes to fight back with her specialist knowledge. The fact that she is a woman in a male-dominated field isn’t entirely negative, though. Often it has actually opened doors for her, as employers prefer to recruit women for many positions in order to improve the gender balance. Pia doesn’t really understand why so few women have the confidence to go into IT. “Even during my studies, it was mostly men who sat next to me in the lecture halls. We just need to start getting people excited about technology and IT much earlier. Right from school,” says Pia thoughtfully.
What did she do after graduation? Although the 40-year-old initially worked for a few years in IT in various sectors, including the automotive industry, she ended up joining the EOS Group in 2013. And that’s where her journey as part of the Otto Group family starts.

When I was a student, it was mostly men who sat next to me in the lecture halls. One should simply start getting excited about technology and IT much earlier. Already at school

Pia Fischbach, Head of IT, OTTO PEG

A job interview at four months pregnant

Pia has spent eight years climbing the career ladder at the EOS Group and is now Head of Strategy & Consulting. Then she realises: it’s time for something new. And at the end of 2020, without having really pursued it and despite being four months pregnant, she puts herself forward to lead the IT team of the newly founded OTTO Payment Entwicklungsgesellschaft. Concealing her pregnancy was out of the question for Pia. “Absolutely not! I dealt with the situation openly and honestly, and the people I was dealing with (who were all men) clearly weren’t too put off,” Pia smiles, looking back.
And that’s how Pia got her current job as Head of IT. She has been leading a team of 15 people since October 2021 and is the first point of contact for everything relating to IT and tech at OTTO Payment Entwicklungsgesellschaft. IT security, IT management, IT governance – these all form part of Pia's everyday work. “Obviously it takes a certain amount of courage to reorientate yourself professionally in a situation like pregnancy. But it’s not a barrier! That’s why I want to tell my story; that’s why I want to motivate other people to be bold enough to pursue change.”

Family life and a full-time job

Soon after the birth of her first daughter, Pia returns to the world of work. Her daughter is now three years old, and her son came into the world nine months ago. When asked whether she still puts 100% into her work, Pia answers with a laugh: “It’s more like 120%!” Pia’s children and family life are naturally her top priority, but she doesn’t want to give up her job. “It all comes down to being organised,” says the IT specialist. She and her husband follow a 50/50 model, whereby they take turns to look after the household and the children. Often Pia works late in the evening, as soon as her children have gone to sleep. How does she make this set-up work? “By having a partner who shares my values and treats me as an equal, and managers who trust and accept me,” says Pia. And Pia found that kind of management at OTTO Payment Entwicklungsgesellschaft. OTTO’s whole ethos as an employer is perfectly aligned with their model too: here, flexibility is a key priority for us.
“Regardless of which department you work in, the most important thing is that you love what you do. And if that’s no longer the case, you have to make sure that the situation changes – no matter what your situation in life is, whether you’re pregnant or not,” says Pia. As her motto goes, love it, change it or leave it.

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