Reliability, customer focus, enthusiasm: our values-led banking business makes a positive difference – now and for the future. Underlying all of this is our greatest strength of all, our Helaba corporate culture.
"Values with impact", Helaba's bold new corporate tag line, consciously emphasises the “how” of our approach to achieving our objectives. It explains how we work together effectively too, for it is the people behind the Helaba brand who fill our proclaimed values with life. Every day in their dealings with customers, partners and each other they make their own personal contribution to Helaba's long-term success.
We asked them what makes an impact in their life – and how they maintain a happy equilibrium.
It all started in 2001 with a taster course together with some Helaba colleagues. Thomas Koster just thought it might be fun to give climbing a go, but he ended up catching the bug properly and today the sport has become a permanent fixture in his life. He has no difficulty drawing parallels between his climbing and his working day at Corporate Strategy either: "It takes more than just endurance to be a successful climber. Strong concentration and solid forward planning are also essential. Careful consideration of the options and the question of how best to reach the objective are as important in matters of strategy as they are in climbing."
For all these similarities, however, time on the climbing wall – on a Friday night with friends after work or at the weekend with family – makes a great counterbalance to work.
Salvatore Stabilito likes nothing better than to cook for his family, ideally in a peaceful kitchen with a bit of music in the background. Salvatore has lived in Germany since he was 15, but he was born in Italy and definitely shares the Italian passion for good food enjoyed in good company: "I remember walking into the kitchen in the morning as a child to see my mother already busy, the pasta dough and sauce already prepared – that was the best!"
Salvatore has been able to turn his love of cooking into a career and now conjures lunch for hungry employees every day for Helaba's company food service. The challenge of creating an appetising and well-balanced menu for a large number of people at once is one he tackles with pleasure – with a pronounced focus on quality, variety and fresh ingredients. He finds the social side of his work particularly enjoyable and welcomes the opportunity to chat to colleagues from all over the Bank as their food is served. Good food remains very much at the heart of matters after work too: as founder of the organisation Köche ohne Grenzen (Chefs without Borders), Salvatore has made it his mission to bring the message of healthy eating to the younger generation in particular. He even presents educational seminars for children on the subject of cooking.
“Nothing brings people together like good food.”
Chef, Helaba food service, Frankfurt/Offenbach
Variety matters for Kirsten Leichtfuß – and her work in human resource development at Helaba, which spans training management, the HR portal and the virtual training centre, provides plenty of it. Away from work too, Kirsten's curiosity and her conviction that there is always more to learn keep her constantly on the hunt for new challenges: from golf taster sessions to skiing to singing in a choir, she likes to give everything a go.
Sometimes once turns out to be enough, but other activities have become woven into the fabric of her life. Take the piano, for example. More than ten years on from when she first started playing, the piano remains one of Kirsten's favourite ways to relax and recharge. She likes playing classical music most of all; that and providing the musical accompaniment for the family Christmas celebrations. But even in her music, the allure of the new will not be suppressed: "Sometimes I hear a new song on the radio that I really like and when that happens, I track down the music, plant myself in front of the piano and learn to play it for myself."
Nicole Böhringer likes nothing better than a quick yoga session before work. Seven years ago, when trouble with a tight shoulder led someone to recommend she give the practice a try, Nicole had no idea that yoga would become such a source of strength in her life. Now she looks to yoga for both relaxation and energy and finds time for it almost every day. "There is the physical aspect of it, of course, but I also appreciate the mental flexibility involved, that pivot to seeing things in a different way," the head of Sales Public Authorities explains.
This, she points out, is a skill that applies just as much in professional life: "At work too, that ability to look at issues from a different angle can be very important. It can open up a path to completely new solutions both for customers and for ourselves." Happy as she obviously is to bring lessons from yoga into the workplace, Nicole is also perfectly content to set work concerns aside for a while in favour of yoga. Every year she takes time off work for a yoga holiday – to relax, to pursue her interest in the practice further and to help her maintain the balance and flexibility she values across all areas of life.
Be it a tennis match or an informal game of football, Arun König enjoys a fair contest in good company. He played with a local team as a child and, now head of the Credit Operations department at Helaba, still turns out once a week with the company sports group. "I just find I prefer team sports to individual sports. I enjoy the company and it's also a good chance to interact with colleagues from other areas. We're quite a mixed group."
Arun's department has other representatives in the team too, but workplace hierarchies do not apply on the field of play, so this has no effect on team dynamics: all players are equal. Arun König does though see many similarities between the work and sporting arenas: "Ultimately it's all about team spirit, about building on everyone's strengths and making sure everyone is on board. We all strive together for the right result."
“The team meets up mainly just to share some laughs and kick a ball around.”
Head of Department, Credit Operations