From Assistant to President to Project Manager

My path at Konica Minolta


As an executive assistant, Tatjana had an enviable insight into how things work at Konica Minolta. In addition to her broad range of responsibilities, her tremendous drive, diverse skills and willingness to learn paved her way into project management, where she now works as a project manager. 

Why the move to Konica Minolta was the right choice for me 

I chose Konica Minolta because it is an established medium-sized company with locations worldwide. I am a mother of two children and have been working full-time at the headquarters in Langenhagen for over four years. 

I initially started in the role of executive assistant for Germany and Austria. In this role, I was able to gain insights into many areas of the company and get to know many colleagues. Working closely with our Managing Director was the core of the job. This gave me the desire to develop into the role of project manager and I had the opportunity to do so. 

I started my career as a travel agent before deciding to study for a degree in economics. For more than 20 years, I worked in various management positions in sales and service. 

But then the day came when I decided to turn my back on my managerial role. I realized that I would rather lead by being a role model and driving change. And I was able to do that as Assistant to President at Konica Minolta Germany and Austria. In this role, I not only managed agendas and meetings, but also worked on projects. This prepared me perfectly for my next career step. I took the opportunity to develop within known structures and am now working as a project manager at Konica Minolta. 

I love project management. Why? Projects have a beginning and an end with a focus, goals, milestones and guidelines that I define from A to Z and where I can bring people together. Working in a team is very important to me, but I also need a certain amount of freedom without being questioned on everything I do. I value my role at Konica Minolta because it gives me that freedom. It's how I work best. Give me some goals and a framework and let me get started! 

Gender should not play a role 

The role of an assistant is generally perceived as a "woman's job" and is still often underestimated. I don't know why, because you need a lot of skills, abilities and a strong backbone. At Konica Minolta, they recognized this and didn't overlook me. I was involved in projects where I could contribute my strengths and was able to optimize my weaknesses through continuous learning processes. It became clear that project management was a sensible next step for me - my gender or age didn't play a role in this decision. 

I have noticed that some business units aim to support, recruit and promote women in management and leadership positions. Other business units are still more traditionally oriented and certainly have room for improvement. For example, we could run more mentoring programs geared towards women or propose various development programs (e.g. in IT) for women. Diversity should continue to be a priority. 

In Germany and Austria, only 18% of management positions are held by women, and the overall proportion of women is 23.5%. We are making progress, but still have a long way to go.

A positive attitude and a real work-life balance 

The working atmosphere and cooperation at Konica Minolta are extremely good - open, positive, appreciative - even with all the challenges we face every day. Compared to other companies I've worked for, Konica Minolta is the best I've ever experienced: the company culture, the collaborative approach, the freedom that comes with mobile working, simply the opportunity for a better work-life balance. As a mother, I used to find it difficult to balance my work and home life. It was a stressful and sometimes painful experience and I even lost two jobs because of being a mother. Since I started working at Konica Minolta, I have been able to balance work and family for the first time in my life. My manager expects me to meet my targets but gives me the freedom to choose how and where I do my work. 

During the Corona pandemic, most companies allowed their employees to work from home. But many have since had to return to the office. At Konica Minolta, we took the opportunity to introduce mobile working on a permanent basis. It makes my life as a full-time working mother much easier. My work-life balance is the best I've ever had. 

quotation marks

Since joining Konica Minolta, I have been able to balance work and family for the first time in my life.

Tatjana Preyer

Assistant to President Konica Minolta Germany and Austria

I have evolved in my role 

As an executive assistant, I was actively involved in project management and had my role in the management team. I felt that I really grew into my role. I already had many of the skills I needed and learned new ones through on-the-job training. Further training outside of the job was and is also important. You can't go through life with blinkers on. With my change of position, it's important to get to know new aspects of the company and leave my comfort zone. I'm learning a lot of new things, both professionally and personally. The daily challenges coupled with a certain routine and security from my previous role reward me every day. 

It's not just me who is developing, the company is also changing. In addition to personal goals, it is also important to keep a close eye on the company's overall goals. In Germany and Austria, our vision is "added value through data". Of course, this doesn't happen overnight. We are increasingly combining our day-to-day business with a digitalized way of working and are transforming ourselves into an IT solution provider. To achieve this, everyone needs to be on board and support us with patience, understanding and personal responsibility. 

I think my work has had a big impact, both as an assistant and as a project manager. Since I joined Konica Minolta, I have been able to build a great network, which is constantly expanding with every project and every new task. My colleagues appreciate what I say, think and experience and I have already been able to manage and accompany several projects in recent years. Being part of this change is how I see myself. 

The way we work has changed 

When the Corona pandemic started in 2020 and we had to work from home almost overnight, everything happened very quickly. Sending almost 2,000 people home and providing them with the necessary digital environment was impressive! Adapting to a digital way of working became a priority to manage the change. It was not easy to organize ourselves in a digital world. We had to change our mindset and are still in the process of doing so. 

Digitalization has also sharpened our view of software-based communication and collaboration. With the decision to switch from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams as the central  collaboration tool, I accompanied the Teams implementation projects for Germany, Austria and the European headquarters with a small team of colleagues. 

Another highlight of my career at Konica Minolta was the operational management of our "New Way of Work" project at our headquarters in Langenhagen. A project that has changed the way we define work in the "new normal" after the Corona pandemic, including our concept for mobile working. This has so far been one of the bigger tasks and challenges I have experienced since joining Konica Minolta. Engaging different stakeholders, interest groups and employees has been a combination of a bit of political skill, being in the right place at the right time, sometimes making unpopular decisions, but always inspiring people to adapt to and help shape this new working environment. The experience in this project has given me a further boost for my role change. 

quotation marks

It was not easy to organize ourselves in a digital world. We had to change our mindset and are still in the process of doing so.

Tatjana Preyer

Assistant to President Konica Minolta Germany and Austria

Flexible thinking, networking and communication are important 

A flexible, innovative mindset, a good network and communication are particularly important.  

Agile approaches in projects, good networks with colleagues, listening to them and integrating their input into the further development of tasks are essential. A good dose of resilience and calm is part of this, whether as an executive assistant or now as a project manager. 

We work in an environment of constant change and innovation. 
For me, being innovative means challenging how we do things, which sometimes means simply changing the approach or mindset of the past. Innovation is not always about invention: It's often just about looking at things differently and changing them in our daily routine. Simply said - sometimes innovation is evolution. You can't invent new things every day, but you can evolve every day. 

Communication and networking are important because they help me to stay up to date and have a say. These skills are also essential in my new role as a project manager across countries, organizational units and teams. Since I joined Konica Minolta, I have always received great support. Sometimes it is difficult to get things done within a certain time frame, but "staying in touch" and maintaining open and honest communication has always helped me to "get there". 

quotation marks

A flexible, innovative mindset, a good network and communication are particularly important.

Tatjana Preyer

Assistant to President Konica Minolta Germany and Austria

My message to new colleagues 

Like many other companies, we face challenges in adapting to the new way of working. But Konica Minolta is a company of opportunities. If you are willing to take ownership, you are given the freedom to shape your own role and, in my case, evolve into a new role. And: I have rarely experienced such a willingness to work together.