• TRACYANN OTTESLEV Great Britain and Ireland


  • JORDI SERRAL Spain and Portugal


  • CAMILLA LÅNG Hällekis, Sweden and Gdansk, Poland

  • OSCAR MARTINI Pogliano, Italy

  • Hariolf Kottmann, Chief Executive Officer (portrait)

    Tracyann OtteslevHuman Resources Manager, Great Britain and Ireland

    I am thoroughly convinced that people are a company’s most valuable asset. They are what brings a company to life. That is why in my position, I make sure there is a focus on the employees’ well-being. Especially as we are asking our employees to continually deliver high performance, it is important that we strive towards a better work-life balance. As an HR manager, I try to put myself in the employees’ shoes and come up with creative solutions to allow them to balance work with the rest of their lives.

    In the UK, we have introduced a buy-sell arrangement for holidays and also implemented flexible working hours. Some colleagues use the flexible working conditions to take their children to school, to support their local church, or simply avoid the peak traffic. For me personally, it allows me to help my 95-year-old dad to look after my mum who is suffering from dementia. But it also means that I don’t miss out on those special moments with my children, such as school plays and sports days. The fact that the company is willing to meet the employees halfway shows that Clariant recognizes the longer term benefits of employee well-being. The value of the goodwill that is generated amongst our employees with these initiatives should not be underestimated.

    There are many employees now that are part of the »sandwich generation,« looking after both children and aging parents. My situation is not unusual, and for me, that’s what life is all about. It is not always easy, but I love looking after my parents. After all, they looked after me so well, for so many years. I know how important it is though to get some personal respite, and I love spending quality time outdoors with my husband and my two boys. Taking our camper van to the Yorkshire Dales on weekends, discovering new walks, and sitting around the campfire in the evening – it’s often the simple things that allow me to relax and find some inner peace.

    Sometimes, it can be a challenge convincing managers that employees do not need to be sitting in the office every day at set times in order to do a great job. With the right IT equipment and some good individual planning, most of us are able to do part of our jobs from home. These different ways of working are not just for parents who need to consider childcare. If we take a closer look at our workforce, we also have employees supporting grandchildren, elderly parents, or sick family members, whilst at the same time, remaining committed to their career and the company.

    The profile of our population is changing, and not just at Clariant. As a society, we must be ready to adapt to new ways of living and working, so that we can keep juggling our commitments without sacrificing our well-being.

  • Agata WieruszewskaAssistant Manager, Global Business Services, Clariant Shared Services Center, Lodz, Poland

    I feel truly in my element when I’m with friends who share similar interests. Dogs are a very important part of my world, and my husband and I have a large circle of friends who love dogs as much as we do. We take our dogs out together, and even train them and go to dog shows together. I have already won several gold and silver medals with Rosa, my golden retriever.

    Once when I was with Rosa in the woods, I found another dog that had been abandoned there. She followed us to the parking lot and jumped into the car. I couldn’t afford to keep her, so I brought her to the shelter. After three months, the staff at the shelter were able to find a new home for her. I was so happy that I wanted to thank them in some way. At work, I took up a collection, and my co-workers generously donated money and supplies such as food and medicine. When I drove to the animal shelter to present them with these gifts, my car was full.

    Since that time, I often visit the shelter and take out homeless dogs for a walk. Those dogs are otherwise locked up in cages the rest of the time. There are hundreds of them here, and in the country, the problem is even worse. There, the animals are simply killed if no one needs them. The people in those areas don’t even bring their dogs to the vet. They just abandon them.

    I was surprised at how many co-workers supported my collection. You’d think that everyone would just be too busy with their own concerns to even care. But the response was overwhelmingly positive. I believe that you can cause a lot of people to reflect with these types of initiatives. The people you reach just need someone to raise their awareness.

    In this instance, we only improved the lives of some dogs. But it really encourages a person to take on other causes as well. I know I would like to do a lot more. Caring for dogs is just the beginning.

  • Jordi SerralHead of Local Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs (LSRA),
    Spain and Portugal

    My father took me to the nearby mountains of Catalonia when I was five or six years old. That’s when my love of this region was ignited, and it has not been dampened since. To this day, I try to spend time there as often as possible, either alone, with a co-worker or with my family.

    I think today’s children need to learn about nature. We live on a beautiful planet, which they should value. For me, sustainability means recognizing the value of life by respecting people, respecting the planet and trying to give one’s best.

    In my position, I help to ensure that the employees at the locations in Spain and Portugal return home just as healthy as when they arrived at work. I also help to ensure that we are always working in a more environmentally compatible manner. Protecting the environment and people – I think that is what motivates me the most.

    From my perspective, we have done a good job if the year-end statistics do not show any accidents with downtime and if there is progress: less waste, less air pollution, and less waste water – and if people understand why safety and environmental impact are so important. As long as I can convey this, I feel satisfied in knowing that I have done my job effectively.

    If something needs to be changed, people are the only resource that can bring about that change. That’s why people are the most important part of a company. That is also probably what I like the most about my job: You have to work with people and try to convince them of what you’re talking about.

    Here in Tarragona, we have the tradition of the »castells« – towers constructed out of real people who rely on each other to climb upwards. For me, this is the best proof that we have the opportunity to achieve incredible things if we work together. The team is always mightier than the individual. Each person brings their own strengths, but those who know how best to work with others win in the end.

  • Katrin BachmeierMarketing Manager, BU Industrial & Consumer Specialties,
    Region EMEA

    Especially in our Business Unit, we are extremely widely positioned with approximately eight segments, which include everything from aircraft de-icing fluids to household cleaners to cosmetics. Our communication regarding our positioning is very good, but we must always strive to stay up to date. This is one reason why I’m also working toward a master’s degree in advanced studies with a concentration in brand and marketing management at the University of Applied Sciences in Lucerne. I want to learn how the marketing world will evolve in the future, particularly with regard to digitization and Industry 4.0.

    Of course, I don’t have much free time because the classes are on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. But it’s incredibly fun. There are ten of us in the course, which is quite intense. We talk about big data and the entire digital transformation that is underway. All of the course content is very practical and tailored to my needs. For instance, with what I’m learning, I can help make our portfolio digitally accessible to customers. This is extremely important for those who wish to access our information at any time of the day.

    I like to listen and absorb information quickly, and I am not afraid of change at all. As the digital transformation progresses, some jobs will certainly fall by the wayside. On the other hand, new jobs will be created. Humankind is resourceful, and individuals will have to adapt to the changes.

    In our own company, we have already implemented an enormous change. I am really proud that with GlucoTain®, we brought a product to the market that is both innovative and sustainable. Since then, a surface cleaner made with bioethanol from straw has also arrived on the market. These types of environmentally compatible products strengthen our employees’ identification with the company. And as for myself, I’m more than a Marketing Manager. I’m also a consumer. And I make sure that I don’t buy products made from raw materials that are harmful to the environment.

  • Camilla LångSite Manager Hällekis, Sweden and Site Management Gdansk, Poland,
    BU Functional Minerals and Country ESHA Nordics

    When I became the site manager in Hällekis in 2011, we had about 30 different safety risks at the site. There was a lot to do to bring everything up to Clariant’s standards. But despite the challenges, I really like my job. It is also not very difficult to establish these types of objectives, because in Sweden, people already have an environmentally conscious mind-set. Starting in kindergarten, the Swedes learn everything related to the environment, recycling waste, and other similar topics.

    I grew up in the countryside, and I still live there today. We had horses at one point, and I’ve been going horseback riding since I was five years old. Spending time in nature has always been my favorite thing to do. Even today, I feel at my best when I’m outdoors. I’m truly in my element when I’m standing in the garden with rubber boots on and digging in the soil.

    I’ve dreamt of having a greenhouse for a long time, and last year, we finally bought one. I now have my own vegetable garden where I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and strawberries. Eating these home-grown treats is quite special, and they taste incredible.

    At home, we only use »green« electricity from wind and water sources, just like at our site. We have even lowered consumption by 50%, which I am particularly proud of. But I’m not going to stop there. If you have goals, you have to work until you achieve them. And then from there, new goals will always pop up!

    My two daughters are proud of what their mother does and I am proud of them. I truly hope that they and eventually their children will be able to live in a clean and healthy environment in the future. So I do what I can. Some think only the actions with the biggest effects are the most important, but the small steps really add up as well.

  • Oscar MartiniOperations Manager BU Masterbatches, Pogliano, Italy

    I firmly believe that cooperation with others is extremely important. That is why I highly value transparency. I want the people who work with me to be completely honest. I also do my best to be completely honest in return. I believe that trust is the basis for all teamwork.

    Luckily, I work in a company where people are regarded as a pillar of success. The value of a company lies not only in making money. Every individual is important, from the young workers in production to the members of the board. Everyone deserves respect.

    When I started my career as a plant manager, I once had a crazy day in a highly complex factory. I couldn’t answer any of the questions I was asked, and I was on the brink of tears. As I was leaving the office that evening, the foreman came to me and asked, »How was your day?« I said, »It was horrible!« »No it wasn’t,« contradicted the foreman. »The machines are running, the lights are on and the people know what to do. So it was a good day.«

    This attitude continues to set an example for me even today. I always feel that it’s truly a perfect day as I sit down to dinner with my family in the evenings. I am Italian, and Italians tend to do a lot together as a family. On Sundays, we all make pizza together while we talk about school, work, or perhaps a song we heard on the radio. Sometimes, my older son and I might even try to figure out the song on the guitar, and my wife might improvise and sing along.

    Making music with others has a lot to do with understanding the people you’re playing with. You need to be in harmony. Even at work, like in a musical group, we very often have to make decisions quickly and find out whose playing is a little off. Sometimes the sounds come together to form a harmonious chord, sometimes they don’t. But if it works, it can be very beautiful.

In my Real Life

Around the world

is an artistic undertaking, presenting the views of Clariant employees from all over the world in the Sustainability Reports from 2012. Discover more.

North America

Toronto, Canada: Luke Ng
Charlotte, North Carolina: Elizabeth Pullen, Joe Rhinehart
Lafayette, Louisiana: Ralph Cormier
The Woodlands, Texas: Shannon B. Nicoletti
Louisville, Kentucky: Robert Reeder


Navi Mumbai, India: Sunil Deval, Abhijit Naik, Sambit Roy, Murali Samala, Priyanka Shivan
Roha, India: Shyam Sitaram Gadekar


Zhenjiang, China: Wei Feng
Shanghai, China: David (Mengqi) Dai, Max (Min) Gao, Eric (Shengdong) Liao, Per Sjoeberg, Margaret (Ronghua) Soong, Coco (Hui) Yang, Lisa (Yue) Zhang, Tracy (Yuhong) Zhao

Latin America

Santa Clara, Mexico: Victor García
Mexico City, Mexico: Rubén Juárez
Bogota, Colombia: Cenia Del Pilar Macias Lozada, Antonio Escobar
São Paulo, Brazil: Paulo Itapura De Miranda, Michele García