Achieving her dream to work in aviation, Mónica Fischer joined RECARO Aircraft Seating two years ago as Director of Global Marketing and Communications.
Here, she reflects on how her determination, passion and “listen-learn-combine-act” approach has been fundamental to her success and encourages fellow female professionals to grab every opportunity with both hands.
Mónica, How long have you worked in the aviation industry?
For two years and it’s been two exciting years. From the very first second I started with Recaro I felt connected and was highly fascinated by the culture, entrepreneurship, DNA, products, the company’s success story and the people. From the very first second, it felt like the Recaro bug got to me and since then hasn’t left me at all.
How did you get into the industry?
It had always been a dream to work in the aviation industry. Two years ago I thought it’s now or never. That’s when I wrote an application letter to Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO & Shareholder of RECARO. I received an answer right away and went through the whole interview process – the smoothest and most professional I’ve ever experienced. Everything clicked from the very first second and there was no way I could resist this wonderful job-offer.
What is it about working in the aviation industry that appeals to you?
It’s the excitement to work for an industry that continuously takes you around the globe several times a day. Every day brings new opportunities and sometimes challenges. The aviation industry ensures you’re always in motion and challenges you to come up with smart marketing-communication concepts that substantiate the company’s reputation, helping to further build on brand awareness.
As a woman, how do you find working in such a male-dominated industry?
Actually, I enjoy it very much. All I have encountered is a great mutual respect level. And yes, sometimes discussions might become a little bit more heated, but that’s good because it’s all about passion about what each of us believes in. At the end of the day, it’s about a fair share of ‘give and take’ and coming up with the best solution. At Recaro, we have a wonderfully rich culture of values, team spirit, responsibility, integrity, excellence, entrepreneurship and enthusiasm – and this is embodied by everybody working at the company.
Have you encountered any gender discrimination in your career?
Fortunately, I have not. Yet I know that women I have met throughout my career have experienced issues. It’s so damn tough to be brave and have the courage to report incidents because we fear the consequences. We tend to accept the responsibility on our own shoulders. Yet I am a strong believer in justice finding its way, therefore I’d like to encourage all women out there not to shy away, stand up for your rights.
As a female senior leader, why do you think it’s important for companies to address the gender gap?
It’s all about having a good balance – that’s a rule that applies to life. What happens if you eat too many gummy-bears? Your body goes off balance, the same might apply to your wellbeing. This analogy also applies to finding the best balance within teams – genders do benefit from each other. Therefore in order for having a healthy and successful team structure, it’s so relevant to address and create awareness for the gender gap.
One year ago I had a meeting with my boss, Mark Hiller. I told him that I’d like to initiate a women forum within the company, the purpose being to empower women on their career path and to give them a stronger voice within the company.
Mark immediately bought into the idea and is a big promoter of women at RECARO. That’s how the initiative women4women was founded.
What characteristics do you believe women need to survive in the aviation industry?
Women do have one of the most wonderful assets there can be – their team-orientation and their simply wonderful capability of being an integrator. Paired with knowledge, experience, know-how, charisma and leadership skills, this becomes pretty unbeatable.
In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle to women succeeding in the workplace?
Generally speaking, I’d say their fear/doubts about not being knowledgeable enough to meet the requirements of the industry. I believe women could learn from men in business a lot and vice versa. In this specific context I’d say allow yourself to be daring and start reaching for opportunities, be certain and don’t wait until being “asked” by your superiors/peers – when you know what you want, all you have to do is “go for it”.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the aviation industry?
In a male-dominated working environment? We need to further build on diversity in all aspects of the industry. It’s why we launched the women4women initiative. We also need to address sustainability and introduce programs to build on employees training and education. Having attractive career programs for capable ambitious people is key. At RECARO, we have the global FLY program. It is a one-year program that supports team members from across the world, helping them to take the next step in their career into a leadership position.
What do you believe has been the biggest development in air travel over the past 25 years?
Making flying affordable for everybody.
If you could change one thing in the aviation industry, what would it be?
Being more open toward innovation.
Who has been your biggest advocate/mentor in the workplace and why?
Always my bosses, because of mainly two reasons. The first, new ideas to support and build on the company’s reputation and second, because I offered them peace of mind through my approach to business.
ABOUT MÓNICA FISCHER
Mónica Fischer has more than 30 years’ experience in marketing and communications. She joined RECARO Aircraft Seating, a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, in 2018 as Director of Global Marketing and Communications. She leads the team responsible for all marketing aspects at RECARO, helping to facilitate and improve the company’s relationship with its key stakeholders. Prior to joining RECARO, Mónica held the position as Managing Director of AMCommunications, a subsidiary of DSV Gruppe for more than eight years, following more than nine years as Joint Managing Director of McCann Erickson, working across its Frankfurt, Berlin and Zurich offices.
Sign up for the latest exhibition updates and industry insights here.