Today on the podcast we have Dirk Frese, PhD, Director of Sales and Marketing at Julabo USA. He is also Executive Director of WISDOM (Women In Science Demonstrating Outstanding Merits), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, supporting and mentoring women in science.
In this episode, we talk about
managing a global team,
the positive and negative experiences that shaped Dirk’s leadership style,
and a lot more, so make sure to tune in!
Dr. Frese, born in Berlin, Germany, completed schooling there before embarking to the United States. Dr. Frese’s education includes a Master of Science in Chemistry and a Doctorate Degree of Natural Sciences in Biochemistry from the Technical University of Berlin.
Dr. Frese specializes in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology and microbiology with a sub-specialty in global sales and marketing. He has worked at internationally recognized powerhouses including CIBA-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, E. Merck, Switzerland, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Dr. Frese was General Manager at BioTek Instruments, Europe and served as President of BioTek Instruments SAS, France.
Dr. Frese is widely known as an expert communicator and trainer. He believes communication is the key to successful business, especially within science and technology. “Strong communication skills guide us in how to effectively interact with colleagues, students and business leaders and can refine things like interview skills.”
Dr. Frese believes that so much can be lost in translation due to the technical nature of science, as well as working with those from many cultural and language backgrounds. Dr. Frese, who is highly trained in oral and written communications, believes it is paramount to train employees on the finer details of body language and micro expressions. Dr. Frese offers this type of training in both face-to-face and virtual settings for Julabo USA, Inc. and WISDOM.
I went to a very large laboratory company in the end, which was globally responsible as a leader in this area. I also took a global responsibility, which made it even more interesting for me to think about communications because from one day to another I led a global team with staff members on every continent.
That was interesting because communication skills are, to a certain degree, objective, but on the other hand, very much biased by a cultural influence.
I was very much exposed to cross-cultural management and gathered interest in that area as well.
The Most Important Thing
When asked where his leadership drive comes from, Dirk shares that it’s all based on love:
For me, love is the main topic. Not only in your private life, but in your business life.
For me, the most important thing in life is love. It’s even on the website of Julabo USA where I’m currently working, under my profile picture, because I think this really drives us.
This is my mantra.
How WISDOM started
Dirk’s wife is a scientist, and he has a daughter as well, so this is something that’s really close to his heart. This came about a year after he arrived in the US. He realized that women in the area they served, mainly in the scientific community, are very much underrepresented.
I hadn’t seen this in other countries as strict and as harsh as here, and that was in 2016.
I spoke to a customer of ours, a professor at a state university and I asked her, “Did you face any obstacles? Why aren’t there more faculty members who are females?”
We’ve been talking about that, and I said, “Together, we should do something about it.”
So we started a nonprofit organization called WISDOM – Women In Science Demonstrating Outstanding Merits – to advance women in their scientific career and to overcome these obstacles by offering mentorship, opportunities, internships, and the social platform.
This was taken on so passionately by the women we talked to today, because we’re the only industry-backed organization like that.
There are a lot of women in science organizations which are great, they all sprouted out from academia, but there is a gap between academia and the corporate world or the industrial world, and that’s something we want to bridge.
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