After 18 years in the job, it’s difficult to recreate the sense of excitement of that first day. But Ingo Angres can do exactly that when he talks about how he found himself at Sennheiser (and found himself at the same time). “I was a children’s entertainer before I started my training with Sennheiser. My work clothes consisted of inflatable dinosaur costumes, colorful animal faces and funny hats. My clients were kids aged 6 to 14 who wanted to enjoy a memorable vacation. My mother had to iron quite a few shirts for me to take the leap into the adult world,” he laughs.
To avoid attracting attention on his first day, Ingo was sure that he shouldn’t mention the icebreaker games, the children’s discos and the holiday tunes. And even though he immediately warmed to the friendly atmosphere at Sennheiser, he felt he needed to hold back slightly—until he was assigned to the postal service that is. As a trainee, working in the postal service was a great introduction to the company for Ingo. “My colleague Ilona Koch showed me around the whole site and introduced me to everyone. I had never met so many people all at once.”
Getting to know the site wasn’t the only way that Ilona helped Ingo. She also gave him some wise advice. She knew there was more to him than meets the eye. “After a few days she said to me, Come on Ingo. You work in marketing. Why are you always running around in those gray shirts? I said: Well, I thought I’d have to dress a bit more like an adult now. She dismissed me with a wave of her hand. What rubbish. The last thing you want is marketing that is gray and colorless.”
The following Monday Ingo wore two different shoes: one white with black shoelaces and one black with white shoelaces—the ironed shirts were confined to the wardrobe. However, this wasn’t just a styling tip from one colleague to another. For Ingo it was a revelation. “It was great to realize that I didn’t have to pretend. I’ve never felt the need to dress like an adult since.” For Ingo one thing is crystal clear: Only when you are allowed to be yourself, can you make changes—and inspire others. Now Ingo passes on Ilona’s advice to new colleagues. “I love it when colleagues take it upon themselves to think outside of the box, to turn things upside down and break away from old ideas. It just needs someone to give you a thumbs-up and support you. Of course, you don’t need to have two different shoes. Ironed shirts are just not my thing, especially now that I have to iron them myself!” And that twinkle in the eye is back. Thank you Ilona!