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Would you dare a career change?

For some of us, changing the direction in our career may sound a little unsettling and perhaps difficult to happen. Or we may be ready to make a change and we really don’t know the steps we need to take.

More and more people dare to change their career path and their experience says that it may be easier to move around and experiment in new roles than we think.

Danielle, now National Activation Manager in Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland, worked until recently as Communications Manager in Public Affairs and Communication department.

Read on to learn more about Danielle’s background, the reason why she wanted a change, and how she made it happen

Man standing behind a chair on stage in the dark with a spotlight on him Man standing behind a chair on stage in the dark with a spotlight on him

Danielle, what is your educational background? 

I have an educational background in communications and in business. In my Bachelor Studies, I studied communications at the University of Zurich. Afterwards, I did a Master’s Degree in Management, Organization and Culture (MOK) at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). In my last term, I went to Sweden for an exchange semester, where I attended classes of the Masters Marketing Program at Stockholm School of Economics (SSE). 

What were the first roles you took up in your career?  

My first full-time job was at an international communications and marketing agency in Hamburg, where I helped build brand visibility for a large, well-known cosmetics brand. I worked for some of the world's largest PR and marketing agencies across many industries and built up a profound background in communications, public affairs, and marketing.

I was then approached about the position of External Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland in the Public Affairs & Communications (PAC) team. And so began my journey in the company. I stayed in this role for more than 1.5 years and during this time worked on many exciting projects in cross-functional teams across Switzerland and other Business Units.

Why did you decide to make a career change and move from PAC to Marketing? 

I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to expand my expertise in a connected function and strengthen my business acumen. It’s a highly dynamic and fast paced environment where I can grow. I considered it – and still do - an important step to further build my profile to be a more well-rounded professional.

There are important communications skills that are useful in my new marketing role: Both jobs are about getting a message across. While in PA&C the communication is addressed for example to journalists or political decision-makers, in marketing the message is directed towards our customers. Both roles require strong project management skills and I work with a wide network of stakeholders and suppliers on a daily basis.

Danielle von Rechenberg

If you know the direction you want to go towards, shape your profile accordingly.

Be open about it and start the discussion with your line manager early on about how you want to develop your personal career. And most importantly: Embrace the opportunity when it comes up!

Danielle von Rechenberg National Activation Manager

It was you who initiated the change. How did you make it happen

Even if the actual career move happened very fast, I was thinking about it for a while and was also very transparent about it with my Line Manager. He was very supportive about it and encouraged me to take on this next career step. We discussed my career plans as part of our performance review session. In the same week, I had my first talks with the Head of Trade Marketing, and in the same month I received the offer. Three months later, for my next review session, I was already part of the new team. 

Have you regretted the change?

No. Of course, a career change is not always easy and it takes time to get used to the new role. But I was very lucky to get a great introduction from my predecessor and my team is doing a great job, so I quickly got up to speed. In the six months in my new role, I had the chance to make many new contacts and work with very talented people inside and outside our company. I have learned a lot and I still learn something new every day.

What would you advise someone who is now thinking of changing careers but may be a little hesitant?

It’s you who is responsible to build your own career. Be open-minded when talking to people inside and out of the organisation, hear their insights and keep on questioning your choices. You may realise there are more areas that you would be interested to explore professionally, and you may become aware of unseen opportunities. For me personally, the exchange with my mentor was also very helpful.

If you know the direction you want to go towards, shape your profile accordingly. Be open about it and start the discussion with your line manager early on about how you want to develop your personal career. And most importantly: Embrace the opportunity when it comes up! There are ways to do this, for example by getting engaged in projects with the team you would like to become part of. 


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