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How to Scrum: 5 Tips from Karsten Breit

Published 28. Jul 2021 in Company Insights
How to Scrum: 5 Tips from Karsten Breit

Karsten Breit is the Head of Engineering – Production & Supply Chain at Spread Group. Initially, he was skeptical about the framework of scrum. Despite several workshops with external trainers, the business informatics graduate was unconvinced that the agile process model was anything more than a hyped and short-lived trend. It was not until a workshop with Jeff Sutherland, the co-founder of scrum, that Karsten experienced a revelation. Sutherland sees an agile mindset as the core of his framework, roles and rituals, on the other hand, as changeable tools. Karsten has now been working in software development at Spread Group for more than 15 years and is continuously expanding upon the framework as a certified Scrum Master.


To introduce scrum successfully and according to plan, one should first look at the whole organization. Is it acceptable for the team to work without a hard deadline due to the uncertain environment? And is it okay to fail with some ideas? Then scrum could be a good model for internal projects – and product management, says Karsten Breit. Anyone can train to become a Scrum Master. It is important for someone in the role to think analytically, to be communicative and to be able to deal well with people.
 
1.     Question everything

Scrum thrives on further development. Since it is used in areas where the end result is not exactly predictable, changes are part of the project. In review meetings and retrospectives, work results and new suggestions should be critically discussed. “Scrum thrives on continuous improvement, in which we arrive at our goal through numerous, incremental changes. The quality and efficiency of the products are greatly improved as a result,” says Breit.
 
2.     Trust your team

Not every manager can get used to the fact that failure is a part of agile work. They should not succumb to the temptation to exert more control over their employees. An excessive focus on detail takes away the momentum and causes team members to reorient themselves in the long term, as Breit explains: “Mutual trust is also the basis for our retrospective meetings. In them, every team member gives honest feedback on the last sprint. As Scrum Master, I take the feedback seriously and consider it for our next sprint.

3.     Work on your scrum
 
Part of an agile process model, like scrum, is adapting roles and rituals to be project specific. “Since our stakeholders are internationally distributed, we recorded our reviews as video clips for a while. But that was quite costly due to the post-production. We later decided to blog and have since published our sprint summary and an outlook as posts,” says Breit.
 
4.     Ensure transparency

A Scrum Master can strengthen the basis of trust within their team and the organization with the help of transparent documentation, as Breit confirms: “I recommend openly preparing project progress and addressing it to the appropriate people. In addition to a blog, joint review meetings are also possibly. Such ‘interim reports’ will also give you tailwind for the next sprints.
 
5.     Communicate a lot (and regularly)
 
The rituals in scrum are deliberately timed tightly. In daily scrums and sprint reviews, nothing should remain unspoken, if possible, that could stand in the way of the project’s progress. “We hold team meetings twice a week and use a lot of visualizations in our meetings, such as workflow charts and diagrams, to create a common understanding of the tasks at hand. These formats have translated easily to digital tools during the remote working period,” explains Breit.
 
 

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Silke Möller

Silke Möller

Corporate Communications Specialist

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How to Scrum: 5 Tips from Anna-Karoline Abraham

Published 21. Jul 2021 in Company Insights
How to Scrum: 5 Tips from Anna-Karoline Abraham

Scrum has become the industry standard in software companies, as the framework scores with high flexibility, effectiveness and transparency in IT projects. But an agile mindset, the basis of every scrum framework, can also enrich project work outside the IT industry, finds Anna-Karoline Abraham, Product Management Lead at Spread Group. As a certified Product Owner, Anna-Karoline Abraham has been working on digital products from initial vision to realization for over six years.

“My job is to understand the ‘why?’ behind the user problem and act as a mediator between IT, business and the user to derive the ‘what’ from it. Our developers, on the other hand, are responsible for the ‘how?’. A good product owner should have an agile mindset, be empathetic and structured, and be able to communicate well. And they should have no problem saying “no” clearly,” says Anna-Karoline Abraham. According to her, there is no perfect career path to becoming a product owner: Spread Group’s product owners have very different degrees – from business administration to computer science to mechanical engineering. Anna-Karoline Abraham herself studied media production, took computer science modules and already worked as a student trainee at Spreadshirt in product management.
 
1.     Find your scrum variant

If you are dealing with scrum for the first time, you will quickly come across the official “Scrum Guide,” in which the most important elements are summarized. However, it is also mentioned there that these can be adapted, but then it is no longer scrum. “I think it should be possible to be agile here as well. It’s about trying something out, evaluating it and adapting it if necessary. The team should be able to work together productively – that’s more important than formalities. For example, we work without a Scrum Master, but for us, collaboration still works well. We regularly reflect on our processes, often simply try out a different approach and see what works for us and what doesn’t,” says Anna-Karoline Abraham.
 
2.     Pay attention to effective team sizes

The maximum team size in scrum is often stated as eight people in order to work together effectively within the framework. Anna-Karoline Abraham, on the other hand, has learned to appreciate even smaller teams: “I have had the best experiences with teams of four to five developers and me as the product owner. The advantage here is clearly the short communication channels: Coordination loops among five people run much faster.”

3.     Create a common understanding
 
When introducing scrum, which is often driven by management, it is important to talk about expectations and goals. “Employees should be given the chance to understand and internalize what scrum is actually about. Likewise, it should be communicated what is hoped for from the introduction, how to get there and how to determine afterwards whether you were successful with the project. When introducing new processes, it is equally important to understand that the process itself should live and not simply exist overnight,” says Anna-Karoline Abraham.
 
4.     Test out new tools

Two whiteboards still hang in her office, but in the wake of increased remote working, her team has switched entirely to digital tools. “We’ve discovered Miro over that time, and we use the application frequently for workshops or to record ideas, diagrams and workflows. Even though some of us are slowly moving back to the office, Miro will certainly stay with us for these tasks.”
 
5.     Accept unpredictability
 
For us, the focus is on results, not hard deadlines. We are absolutely aware that it is impossible to name a deadline for completion in advance. Since you plan continuously in scrum, unexpected delays become visible more quickly and planning becomes more realistic, as Anna-Karoline Abraham describes: “We set ourselves shorter planning cycles in the form of two-week sprints, which has the advantage that we can react more quickly if we need to correct our course. In addition, scrum enables good communication. The daily exchange that takes place in the form of a short stand-up in the teams is incredibly important and good for making progress as well as for trust and transparency in the projects.”
 
 

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Silke Möller

Silke Möller

Corporate Communications Specialist

Newsroom

Spread Group Is Awarded the Family-Friendliness Prize of the City of Leipzig

Published 24. Jun 2021 in Company Insights
Spread Group Is Awarded the Family-Friendliness Prize of the City of Leipzig

The City of Leipzig’s Family Friendliness Award has been presented for the 13th time. This year, companies and institutions were honored that showed particular commitment to the compatibility of family and career during the pandemic. In the “Retail & Distribution” category, Spread Group received the award for being a family-friendly employer.

Local companies became particularly active and also creative in the context of family friendliness during the pandemic. That was the big issue at this year’s presentation of the City of Leipzig’s Family Friendliness Award 2021. Several Leipzig businesses and institutions applied, and Spread Group can count itself among the award winners.

The compatibility of family and career is a living culture at the Spread Group. For home-schooling and home-care, parents working at the company were provided with additional technical equipment for digital lessons. Working hours can be individually timed to fit in with family situations. Strategies have been devised for online meetings to ensure that the fun factor is not neglected. Digital sports breaks, lunch lotteries or an Easter challenge are just some of the actions implemented to support the team during the pandemic. This also applied to the children: For them, special kids’ yoga classes and a kids’ disco were created,” says the current press release of the city of Leipzig.

Spread Group Is Awarded the Family-Friendliness Prize of the City of Leipzig
Burghard Jung (Mayor of Leipzig), Silvia Lauterbach (Spread Group), Vicki Felthaus (Mayor for Youth, School and Democracy), Georg Teichert (Central Equal Opportunities Officer for Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Family at the University of Leipzig) and Volkmar Müller (Managing Director LVV), from left to right, © Copyright Eric Kemnitz.

In his laudatory speech at the award ceremony, Georg Teichert, Central Equal Opportunities Officer for Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Family at the University of Leipzig, paid tribute to Spread Group: “Giving expression to messages is Spread Group’s corporate idea, and when it comes to family-friendliness, this company has a very clear plan for its employees, where home office has long been part of everyday life. The corporate culture is characterized by flat hierarchies, a willingness to engage in dialog and participation at all levels.
The jury of the Family Friendliness Award was particularly impressed by the fact that Spread Group has always thought about the children of its employees and has created (virtual) formats such as Kid’s Yoga or Kids’ Disco.
With the words “We as jury members say ‘wow’ and are thrilled by so much commitment!” Silvia Lauterbach, Head of Recruiting & Employer Branding at Spread Group, will ceremoniously hand over the certificate and the prize money. “Many thanks for this award and this great laudation! I would like to give a very special thanks to our colleagues and Spread Group’s management. They have always supported and promoted all these ideas and actions. Hopefully, we will continue to have the courage to be an innovative pioneer and inspirer,” says Silvia Lauterbach.

Spread Group’s Image of Family Friendliness

Work-life balance has been an integral part of Spread Group’s culture since the beginning. As a family-friendly employer, the company relies on 100% trust-based working hours with flexible home office options and usually no appointments after 4 pm. With a very accessible HR department, family-friendly part-time models can be agreed with the employee and implemented promptly. In addition, the company has maintained a successful cooperation with a daycare center in Leipzig for several years. Since 2011, the company’s Feel-Good Management department has also been firmly established. Among other things, it organizes yoga and meditation breaks and joint after-work events for colleagues, summer parties and hiking days, as well as children’s activities such as the kids’ disco and painting activities, all of which currently take place virtually.

Spread Group Is Awarded the Family-Friendliness Prize of the City of Leipzig
Spread Group Is Awarded the Family-Friendliness Prize of the City of Leipzig
© Copyright Eric Kemnitz

In addition to Spread Group, other Leipzig institutions and companies have been honored for their commitment as family-friendly employers. The award winners include pioneer communications GmbH, the Mütterzentrum Leipzig e.V. association and the Dr. Anita Wieser practice. Kunststoffzentrum gGmbH was also honored with the special prize of the Leipzig Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The prize of the children’s jury went to a Grünau cooperation project between the Grünau Family Center (Caritas Leipzig e.V.), Haus Steinstraße e.V. and the association dezentrale e.V. The prize was awarded in a small circle of finalists on June 18, 2021 in the LVZ dome.

To watch the award ceremony there is a video recording, which can be accessed at the following link: https://www.leipzig.de/buergerservice-und-verwaltung/unsere-stadt/auszeichnungen-und-ehrungen/familienfreundlichkeitspreis/

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Please direct your questions about Spread Group to our Corporate Communications team.
Romy-Marie Ulrich

Romy-Marie Ulrich

Corporate Communications Specialist

Newsroom

Spread Group’s Guide to Gender-Inclusive Language

Published 12. May 2021 in Company Insights
Spread+Group%27s+Guide+to+Gender-Inclusive+Language

The Head of Copywriting and Translation at Spread Group, Felicitas Kermarrec has just published her Guide to Gender-Inclusive English, German and French “Connecting with Language” to mark European Diversity Month with a handy directive. Be sure to read her free e-paper.

Some may perceive gender-sensitive language as cumbersome or even aggravating, yet it is easy to adopt a positive approach when bearing a few ruses in mind. Language is a symbolic means of referring to objects and ideas, and as such of vital importance for anyone – and also commercial companies – to assume responsibility when considering the choice of words. Of course, the same is true for imagery. At Spread Group, Felicitas Kermarrec has attended to the matter as she spearheaded an initiative to define a company-wide standard of gender-appropriate language. In doing so, she put her team of 30 permanently appointed and freelance members on course to writing in a more inclusive way when creating content across the platform’s 13 languages of Spread Group’s various brands.

Looking back on some 15 years of professional experience in localization, translation, and copywriting, Felicitas is well acquainted with potential pitfalls of gender-inclusive language. “The shift towards a more inclusive application of language has been felt in almost all European countries in recent years. However, our quest for more inclusivity is still in its infant stage. This is why a guideline with rules and helpful advice will hopefully go a long way to get a well-needed change off the ground. Thanks to the guide that my team has developed, we can now quickly and easily achieve our goal of writing gender-appropriate texts that sound both natural and articulate. A mix of clear instructions and creative solutions are instrumental here.”

Visible gender-equality in language – a new business standard

The omens are favorable that gender-inclusive languages will keep gaining momentum in corporate language and communication. According to a recent survey by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, 10 of a total of 30 DAX-listed companies already use inclusive language. These companies serve as important role models when trailblazing the way for small and medium-sized companies. The most frequently cited motivation for their decision comprises of the fact that gender-inclusive language corresponds to their relationship of non-discriminatory interaction with each other.

Felicitas Kermarrec has designed her guide for gender-inclusive English, German and French as a compact manual. The English-language e-paper includes the most important tips and ruses that have already proven to work very well in practice for Spread Group’s copywriters and translators.

FURTHER LINKS

Spread Group appoints Dr. Julian de Grahl as CEO of the company. The new CEO brings with him almost 20 years of experience in the internet industry and listed companies. He has been Managing Director at CTS EVENTIM since 2012, and was previously Managing Director at amiando (now XING Events) and Vice President Vertical Business at XING AG (now New Work SE). Dr. Julian de Grahl studied law and economics (business administration) in Hamburg and Cape Town and earned his doctorate at the University of Hamburg.

“Under Philip Rooke’s leadership, Spread Group has developed from a start-up to a highly profitable industry leader. I have great respect for this achievement. I am very excited to continue this growth trajectory together with a sensational team and to set new stimuli,” says the new Spread Group CEO Dr. Julian de Grahl.

Newsroom

CSR @ Spread Group – 5 Questions for Dave Gorman

Published 06. Apr 2021 in Company Insights Responsibility
CSR+%40+Spread+Group+%E2%80%93+5+Questions+for+Dave+Gorman

Corporate Social Responsibility is not just trendy topic, but an attitude. The goal is to create a good life for everyone. In our new interview series, we ask our staff how they feel about one of the most important issues in our industry: sustainability. And how committed are they themselves?

We’re kicking off our interview series with Dave Gorman, Director of Customer Experience and CSR Project Officer at Spread Group. Dave originally hails from Boston, where he started his university studies in Neuroscience before completing his degree in Creative Writing. He has lived in Leipzig for over 15 years now, and previously worked as a copywriter and English Teacher before coming to Spreadshirt as a writer. Now he is responsible for the teams that handle User Research & Experience, Copywriting & Translation, Photography, and central Design functions. It was his father who used to be quite ahead of the curve when it came to recycling and conscious shopping. This is how Dave developed a keen interest in environmental issues from an early age, not least because his travels to parts of the world – where the effects of unsustainable practices are quite visible – influenced his ecological awareness.

Spread Group: How do we define sustainability at Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: We see sustainability made up of three important pillars: environment, economy, society. While the environment is a huge factor on our minds and on our customers’ minds – the economic and societal sides of sustainability are a part of our responsibility that we feel we also need to contribute to. Under the environmental umbrella, we see our print-on-demand model as the basis for sustainable commerce. It goes along with where and how our products are sourced, how much of our product range is made up of eco-friendly products, the quality and longevity of our products, our use of packaging, and a number of other green initiatives. When it comes to the society, we look at both our responsibility to our employees across the planet and the responsibility for the kind of content that can be sold on our platform. And finally, we’re excited about our economic role of supporting small to medium sized businesses and independent designers. We empower them with a place to earn money selling online, as well as the other philanthropic campaigns to provide support to those in need.

Spread Group: What does sustainability mean to Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: Sustainability has been an important part of Spread Group from the very beginning. The core of our business model relies on the print-on-demand model. Compared to typical clothing companies, we only print and sell what is purchased, which prevents unsold overstock and reduces waste. While we’re proud of those roots, we’ve seen how important this topic is for our customers, our employees, and the environment itself. That’s why we look forward to doing even more to meet those challenges.

Spread Group: How do we promote sustainability at Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: We formed a task force, a cross-company team whose job it is to uncover more about the sustainable efforts we’re already making. And we also discover what else we can do, and then drive those new sustainability initiatives. While we’re proud of the things we’re already doing, we’re really excited to tackle problems around our carbon footprint, sourcing & supply chain, eco-friendly product range, packaging, and more.

Spread Group: What are the biggest challenges for an e-commerce company in the textile industry in terms of sustainability? How do we meet these challenges?

Dave Gorman: There are some very really tough challenges for e-commerce companies in the textile industry. It starts with where and how cotton is grown (or synthetic fibers are sourced), all the way to how customers use, reuse, and recycle these products. Our print-on-demand approach solves one of the biggest issues of overproduction and waste issues that fast fashion companies face. However, the questions of a) where and how our suppliers source their materials and b) what kind of packaging involved in shipping our products to customers remain the challenges we are more than willing to accept.

Spread Group:
What is your personal advice on how to be more sustainable in your everyday life?

Dave Gorman: As an individual you can live more sustainably, because you have the choice to reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can ask yourself, do I really need something? Where is it produced? And can the item it replaces be reused or recycled? There’s this great podcast series by Jane Goodalls Hopecast that I find very inspirational. She’s a scientist, activist, and amazing storyteller who takes a look at the adversities that the planet and environment face. What’s great about it is being given a view through the optimistic lens of how human spirit and hope can still make a difference. And it feels like her many experiences have made a difference already. I highly recommend it!

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Dave!

Newsroom

In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group

Published 30. Mar 2021 in Company Insights
In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group

As a crowning finale to Women’s Month you will be introduced to five inspiring and strong women at Spread Group. Learn more about their thoughts of empowering women, their greatest strengths and their personal role models.

Let’s start with Spread Group’s Chief Customer Delivery Officer (CCDO) Hanne Dinkel. As CCDO since 2018, Hanne is managing Spread Group’s five production sites in Europe and North America, and she is also responsible for the strategic management of Operations, Assortment, Purchasing and Customer Service.

Hanne Dinkel
Hanne Dinkel, Chief Customer Delivery Officer

Here are three questions to Hanne:

How do you empower other women?
I am a female C-Level, that is empowering: We as women are there and visible.

What is the most important challenge that women face today?
We are still not there: we are 50% of the world but we don’t yield our share of influence as we could and should.

Which woman in your life are you grateful for?
I am very grateful for my older sister, she introduced me to feminist literature like Simone de Beauvoir. As a teenager I started to think about the role of women in this world and what I could do to make a difference.

In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group
Sanja Wetzel, Junior Software Engineer

Sanja Wetzel is a true role model for those who keep reinventing themselves. After studying classical vocal performance at the San Francisco State University, she worked in the hospitality industry for 17 years. Then she took up a new career path in web development. She learned the basics in computer systems software from scratch and joined our company as a Junior Software Engineer this year. Three questions to Sanja:

Which women inspire you the most?
Nina Simone, Angela Davis, Marsha P. Johnson, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

Which woman you would like to meet and why?
Dolly Parton, because she is a legend!

What can we do to start making a difference for women globally?
We should finally recognize that gender isn’t binary, that not all women are born into the bodies they identify with, and that being true to who you are is the greatest strength and gift anyone can have.

In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group
Daniela Kroll, Senior Customer Service Representative

“I’m inspired by women who fight for women’s rights, and not just on March 8th.” That is the message of Daniela Kroll. Daniela is part of Spread Group’s indispensable Customer Service team, taking care of requests and questions. We asked Daniela for which women she is grateful in her life. Her answer is a special tribute to her team: “I’m grateful for my fellow female co-workers in customer service. No jealousy, no judgement, a lot of friendship and laughter. I really like all of them.” Here are three more questions to Daniela:

What is your greatest strength?
As a single mom I am really good at time management and being patient, that may help me in my job.

What is the most important challenge that women face today?
Depending on the form of society, women face different challenges. Women in Poland are fighting for their right to have an abortion. In Germany, they are fighting for the abolition of paragraph 219a.

How do you empower other women?
I don’t know if I treat women some kind of special. But I try to be supportive in any way I can.

In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group
Manuela von zur Mühlen, Director of Global Strategic Alliances & Business Development

Manuela von zur Mühlenn is our Director of Global Strategic Alliances & Business Development at Spread Group. She proves that women of all ages, talents, and backgrounds have the power to leave a positive impact on the world. Three questions to Manuela:

Which women inspire you the most?
Ida Strauß, my grandma in spirit, 88 years young. During WWII she hid 2 Jewish families in her barn, sharing the little food she had while her family had to survive. For me she is the epitome of kindness and wisdom. This lady had to leave school after 4 years, because she was “just a girl.” She knows what really matters.

Which woman would you like to meet and why?
Ingrid Klimke. “Ride to your own joy” is the credo of the Olympic multiple-gold-medal winner. Ingrid is an athlete, businesswoman, ambassador of charities like Pink Ribbon Deutschland and roterkeil.net. She is also an equestrian icon, as she treats horses like equals. She is an inspiration of what devotion and credibility can achieve.

How should we start empowering women globally?
We have the luxury to live in a world where we can choose to be anything – so we should finally choose to be kind.

In honor of Women’s Month: Meet 5 inspiring women at Spread Group
Marta Chade, Design Lead Spreadshirt

“Raising children without imposing gender stereotypes on them.” This is the idea of Marta Chade how we should start making a difference for women globally. Marta is Spreadshirt’s Design Lead Marketplace and has started working at Spread Group four years ago. Here are three questions to Marta:

How do you empower other women?
Lead by example. Be there for them when they need advice, support, or a boost of positive energy.

What is the most important challenge that women face today?
Politicians who feel entitled to enforce laws that turn women’s lives into a living hell. Women are more than capable of being in charge of their own lives and making their own choices.

What is your greatest strength?
An inquiring mind that’s able of creative and abstract thinking.

Looking for facts, figures, or photos?

Get in Touch

Please direct your questions about Spread Group to our Corporate Communications team.
Romy-Marie Ulrich

Romy-Marie Ulrich

Corporate Communications Specialist

Der Bereich des Feel-Good-Managements erlebt vor dem Hintergrund von mobilem Arbeiten, virtuellen Teammeetings und Home-Schooling derzeit einen neuen Aufschwung. Die Spread Group stellt sich diesen Herausforderungen und begrüßt die neue Feel Good Managerin Nelly Flieger.

Mit Nelly Flieger gewinnt die Spread Group eine erfahrene und aufgeschlossene Gesundheitstrainerin zur Erweiterung der unternehmensinternen Feel-Good-Aktivitäten. Die gebürtige Leipzigerin ist seit 2016 in ihrer Heimat als Yogatrainerin sowie als Fitness- und Ayurveda-Lifestyle-Coach selbstständig. Seither verfolgt sie die Vision, Menschen mit ihrer Arbeit gesünder und glücklicher zu machen. In ihrer Tätigkeit als neue Feel Good Managerin bei der Spread Group fokussiert sie einen gesundheitsbewussten und ganzheitlichen Ansatz und lässt diesen in die Angebote einfließen.

Feel Good Aktivitäten in Zeiten von Home-Office und virtueller Zusammenarbeit – die Spread Group holt sich personelle Verstärkung und erweitert ihr Angebot

Ursprünglich kommt die 34-Jährige aus der Branche der Verpackungs- und Drucktechnik. Nebenher widmet sich die studierte Verpackungsingenieurin bereits seit ihrer Jugend dem Sport- und Gesundheitsbereich und hat u. a. als Fitnesstrainerin im Ausland gearbeitet. Das Feel-Good-Angebot der Spread Group, das sich seit 2011 auf das Wohlbefinden, die Kultur und das Gemeinschaftsgefühl der über 400 Kolleg*innen am Standort in Leipzig konzentriert, hat Nelly Flieger als Außenstehende stets sehr interessiert verfolgt. In ihrer Rolle als Feel Good Managerin möchte sie ihr Wissen aus der Industrie- und der Gesundheitswelt vereinen und neue Akzente der Achtsamkeit und Bewegung setzen.

Ich sehe es als Chance und Herausforderung zugleich, in meiner neuen Position remote zu starten und ausgewählte Feel-Good-Aktivitäten in dieser bewegten Zeit vorerst ins Virtuelle zu überführen. Ich setze mich aktuell intensiv mit der Frage auseinander, wie man die Feel-Good-Kultur auch aus der Ferne aufrechterhalten und weiter aufleben lassen kann. Dafür muss ich zu Beginn sehr offen sein und viel zuhören, um ein Angebot schaffen zu können, was alle Spreadster in der derzeitigen Situation glücklicher, zufriedener macht und das Wir-Gefühl bestärkt. Nur so können wir im Umkehrschluss ausgeglichener und auch leistungsfähiger sein“, sagt Nelly Flieger.

Die ersten Aktionen hat die Leipzigerin bereits ins Leben gerufen, wie die virtuell stattfindenden Yoga-, Stretching- als auch bewussten Atempausen, die unter der Woche fast täglich angeboten werden. Im neu eröffneten internen Feel-Good-Chat werden die Themen Achtsamkeit und Bewegung im Alltag besprochen, um auch dem ständigen Sitzen im Home-Office entgegenzusteuern. Angesichts der aktuellen Herausforderungen rund um Home-Schooling und Kinderbetreuung von Zuhause hat Nelly Flieger auch ein Angebot für Mitarbeitende mit Kindern geschaffen. Zusammen mit der IT-Abteilung wurden Notebooks als Leihgabe zur Verfügung gestellt, interne Kreative der Spread Group haben ein Malbuch angefertigt und einmal pro Woche lädt die Feel Good Managerin zur virtuellen Kinderdisco und zum Kinderyoga ein.

„Wir feiern dieses Jahr unser 10-jähriges Feel-Good-Jubiläum bei der Spread Group. Nelly stellt mit ihrer vielseitigen Expertise eine perfekte Ergänzung für unsere bisherige Arbeit dar. Gemeinsam werden wir die Feel-Good-Aktivitäten nun auch im virtuellen Bereich auf ein neues Level heben, denn das geistige und körperliche Wohlbefinden sowie das Gemeinschaftsgefühl im Team sind die Basis unserer Unternehmenskultur“, sagt Theresa Kretzschmar, Personalchefin der Spread Group.

Mehr Informationen

Mehr zur neuen Feel Good Managerin Nelly Flieger, zu ihrer Person und ihrer Arbeit bei der Spread Group, gibt es im Interview zu lesen.

Bildmaterial zum Download

(Copyright Spread Group)

Nelly Flieger expands the Feel-Good area at Spread Group to get staff moving in home office. Find out how the passionate yoga teacher used to print T-shirts in the university basement, and what mindfulness and health means in her daily (work) life.

„Eine Feel Good Managerin ist wie die Mutter einer Großfamilie“ – Nelly Flieger im Interview

Hi Nelly, we just have to ask the inevitable question – who are you?

Sure! I’m Nelly Flieger and 34 years old. Some may have heard that I’m the new Feel-Good Manager here at Spread Group. I am a true Leipziger, as I have spent most of my life in the south of Leipzig. I studied in Stuttgart, but I would call Hamburg my second home, as I lived and worked there for a good while.

Feel Good Manager sounds like an exciting position. Did you study to get on this career path?

Actually, I studied packaging technology in conjunction with printing technology. Then I worked in this field for several years, both for an agency and in a corporate group. Fun fact – during my studies, I already printed T-shirts myself in the university basement, trying out simple designs. Sounds like the right fit for Spread Group!

Absolutely! And we’ve heard that next to being a real yoga whizz-kid, you’re also a fitness coach and Ayurveda lifestyle coach. How did you get there?

When I was younger, I worked as a trainer for children and show dance, mainly in carnival clubs. I completed my classical aerobics training at an early age and worked in the gym. Sports and the joy of movement have always been more than a hobby for me. That’s why I went abroad after graduating to work in the fitness area of a hotel. I spent a year each in Spain and Turkey, and I’ve been a licensed Yoga and Pilates teacher since 2011. About 5 years ago, I started my own business to pursue this more, and I also became a trained Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. Ayurveda is more than wellness or spicy Indian food, it’s also a holistic and health-conscious approach to life. And that’s what I want to incorporate into my role as Feel-Good Manager at Spread Group.

That’s quite a career! What makes your new role so exciting?

I had been flirting with Spread Group for quite a while, and I followed the development of the Feel-Good area. The family-like corporate culture, the colorful teams, the fun at work – that’s what stands out about Spread Group from the outside. I was convinced that as a Feel-Good Manager I would be able to combine my knowledge from the industry as well as the health world to set a new marker. Since opening my yoga studio, I’ve been pursuing the vision of caring for people to be healthier and happier. This vision continues to accompany me in my new role as a Feel-Good Manager.

Have your first weeks as a Feel-Good Manager met your expectations? What’s going on right now?

I received a very warm welcome, but my start was very different from what I had initially expected. Due to the current pandemic, my professional onboarding and getting to know my colleagues is taking place through my home office. But I see it as both an opportunity and a challenge to start remotely in my new position. During this turbulent time, the challenge is to transfer a selection of Feel-Good activities to the virtual world for the time being. In the first few weeks, I was able to get to know many of my colleagues online, and I got an impression of the current mood. I was happy to see that there is already a good Feel-Good vibe in the company. Now I’m working hard on maintaining the Feel-Good culture remotely. I need to listen a lot to come up with the right offers to keep our Spreadsters happy, while also strengthening the community spirit. This is the only way we can stay balanced and efficient.

Do you already have ideas of how to galvanize the community spirit?

Not only ideas! Along with the Human Resources team, I’ve launched the first activities and offers. These include virtual yoga, stretching, and conscious breathing breaks that take place almost every day during the week. I send reminders of these Feel-Good breaks to everyone through the company chat. But the chat is also about mindfulness and movement in everyday life. The idea is to counteract the strain that comes with sitting in home office, and to talk about the feelings around the lockdown. Then we have a virtual lunch lottery, where colleagues can get to know each other across teams and exchange ideas. Given the current challenges around home schooling and childcare from home, an offer for employees with children was also created. Our IT department helped provide notebooks for them. Then we created a coloring book for kids to provide a little insight into their parents’ working lives. Those of the children who feel like moving can take part in the weekly virtual kids’ disco and kids’ yoga with dolls and cuddly toys. And there will be more to come, stay tuned!

Nelly Flieger der Spread Group lädt die Mitarbeitenden zu den Feel Good Breaks zum Stretchen und Bewegen ein.

Speaking of kids, how would you explain to children what a Feel-Good Manager is?

That’s a nice question. I like to compare the role of a Feel-Good Manager to that of a loving mother of an extended family, keeping a watchful eye to make sure everyone’s doing well. She motivates and helps everyone to realize their potential, thereby knitting ties between all the members of the family aka the company. I think this metaphor explains it very nicely.

An apt comparison indeed! What makes a well-timed Feel-Good Management for you? What qualities should a Feel-Good Manager have?

Feel-Good Management is incredibly versatile. There are so many possibilities. But the important thing is that what’s on offer fits the needs of your staff, and that the focus is on the well-being of your colleagues – both physically and emotionally. Great Feel-Good Management has a strong sense of community, and it is a highly approachable part of corporate culture. At Spread Group, I immediately found out that a sound structure had been put in place very well.

What’s more, a Feel-Good Manager’s job is a very active and fast-moving one, and you should be very open-minded, flexible, and be a very good listener. Organizational skills are also vital. Apart from that, I think the following qualities are important: Communication, empathy, and being actively motivating.

How do you see the future of Feel-Good Management in companies and in society?

I am convinced that this area of business will become increasingly important, and also more in demand. Due to the unstoppable digitalization and the noticeable increase in technology, the needs of people must take center stage much more. After many decades of out-and-out technological progress, we’ve now entered a period of the “next new normal” due to the pandemic. Now, Feel-Good Management is an important tool for companies to get ahead of the competition in the labor market. The portfolio of offers in the area of Feel-Good will develop into a decisive criterion for generations to come. Feel-Good Management will become a corporate staple.

Another personal question! What do you do when you’re not doing gymnastics on the yoga mat?

I love being outside! That’s why I love Leipzig and its surroundings so much. The nature, the lake landscape! In fact, even before the Corona lockdown, I enjoyed going for walks and hikes. That’s not a Corona hobby (laughs)! Otherwise, I sing in the choir, currently also virtually, and brushed up my accordion and ukulele skills during the lockdown situation. And who knows, maybe Spread Group will soon be able to enjoy musical Feel-Good activities. We will see! Oh yeah, and I’m passionate about water sports. SUP yoga in the summer, surfing or sailing. And I’m still looking for a sailing partner!

Final question: Which slogan would you print on a T-shirt right away?

I don’t need to think long and hard. “Feeling tired? Breathe, enjoy, and smile!” That’s what my Spread Group colleagues will remember, even in my courses. You can get something good out of any situation! Don’t forget to breathe, and don’t let the stress get on top of you!

Thanks for the interview and the insight into your work, Nelly!

Newsroom

Julian de Grahl named new Spread Group CEO

Published 21. Dec 2020 in Company Insights Press Releases
Dr.+Julian+de+Grahl

Philip Rooke will pass the baton on to Julian de Grahl April 1st, 2021.

Dr. Julian de Grahl (47) will become the new CEO of Spread Group, an enterprise group of leading digital brands empowering self expression with print-on-demand products. As of April 1st, 2021, de Grahl will take over from Philip Rooke (52), who decided a few months ago to pursue a new career opportunity after 10 years as CEO.

Dr. Julian de Grahl has more than 18 years’ e-commerce experience, of those more than 13 years in listed companies and high-growth, high-margin environments. He has been Managing Director at CTS EVENTIM since 2012 and responsible for several business units addressing the sports, cultural, and club/festival markets with specialized software, e-commerce shops, and merchandising solutions. In this function he had a strong focus on agile product development, internationalization, and B2B-sales. Prior to this, Dr. Julian de Grahl was Managing Director at amiando (now XING Events) and Vice President Vertical Business at XING AG (now New Work SE). Dr. Julian de Grahl studied law and economics (BWL), holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg, a master’s degree from the University of Cape Town and two state exams from the City of Hamburg.

“Spread Group’s teams have done a tremendous job building an international, sustainable, and profitable business. With its variety of digital products (Spreadshop, Spreadshirt Marketplaces, Spreadshirt Create-Your-Own, TeamShirts, SPOD), its loyal partner community, and its production and fulfillment facilities, Spread Group is extremely well-positioned to further expand into social commerce and B2B. I had excellent talks with the board and can’t wait to take over in April,”
says Dr. Julian de Grahl, CEO of Spread Group as of April 1st, 2021.

Under Philip Rooke’s leadership, Spread Group developed from a start-up to the only true international and highly-profitable player in the PoD market. Among Philip Rooke’s major achievements are instilling highly effective leadership, establishing excellent teams, and building successful business models. Since he was appointed CEO in 2011, Spread Group increased its revenue by 600 percent, expanded beyond its flagship brand Spreadshirt to include several newly developed brands, and is now active in 18 markets with over 1,000 employees.

“Spread Group is in a great place – we are a strong, sustainable, and profitable business. It has been an incredible honor to work with such talented people and to have achieved so much together. As I move on, the thing I’m most proud of is the team at Spread Group and a huge thank you goes out to them. Julian will be a great addition to the team and his vast experience, fresh eyes, and multifaceted approach will take the Group to the next level,” comments Philip Rooke, CEO of Spread Group.

“I sincerely thank Philip for his outstanding performance and achievements in over a decade at Spread Group. His time as CEO of Spread Group leaves us with a great foundation and an exceptional team. In Julian, we have found an excellent successor and we look forward to expanding the culture, developing new innovative business areas, and making the company ready for the capital market!” says Lukasz Gadowski, Spreadshirt’s founder and Chairman of the Spread Group Supervisory Board.