Sandra Trittin: A Powerful Leader Creating Impact in the Exiting Clean-Tech Industry
tiko is a global technology provider for the international energy industry-leading residential device aggregation. The flexible and modular technology at tiko enables innovative and hybrid business models that allow each actor to gain money and efficiency while enabling consumers to gain insight and control over their energy consumption. The company put this unique knowledge at the disposal of its partners by making them leaders of the energy revolution and also by helping them to gain an innovative image among their customers.
An Eminent Leader
Sandra Trittin studied business administration and holds an MBA from the Business Schools of Mannheim, Copenhagen, and Warwick. She began her career at a management consultancy by working in the areas of process optimization/restructuring and supply chain management for different companies in the automotive, food processing, and telecommunications industries. She joined Swisscom in 2002 where she worked in different team leader roles on the reorganizing of process and organizational structures to increase process efficiency for the service delivery and network construction, before taking the lead of the software design/development for the construction of IP-based communication services. She later joined the strategy team at Swisscom and since 2012 Sandra is the Co-Founder and Chief of Business Development at tiko Energy Solutions.
Past Experience that Taught Lessons
Sandra has always made a point to learn from her past experiences. Talking about a few of her experiences Sandra says, “Many experiences have influenced my path. One of them was at the beginning of my career when I was leading a team of five people who all had more than 20 years of experience. This created tension in the team, as they were all used to a hierarchical leadership style driven by seniority. Once I was able to show all of the advantages of my collaborative leadership style, they showed acceptance”. Adding to this she said, “It clearly demonstrates that there is not a single right way of leadership and management, but instead there should be flexibility. Depending on the situation, the individual set-up, and the team, it is necessary to adapt. Being personally flexible while still sticking to your key values is critical.“
Sandra has always been able to combine technical/engineering topics with her know-how in the business in her past and in her current roles. She found the combination of business and technical aspects very exciting.
“Another milestone was the founding of tiko. It gave me the possibility to grow, professionally as well as personally. The possibility to combine technical/engineering topics with my business know-how was and remains exciting. Developing the company to become one of the leading providers in the aggregation of distributed energy resources, with all of its ups and downs, is for sure one of the key achievements”, she added.
Stepping Up in the Male-Dominated Society
Sandra started working in the former male-dominated tech industries such as telco and energy, where she was quite often one of the youngest female team leaders. She expressed, “In the beginning, I always needed to prove myself before my opinions and recommendations were seriously considered. This required additional work and sometimes created tension. Luckily this has changed, at least to a certain level, and should further change so that opinions and ideas of young and diverse employees are valued much more highly”.
Recover, Learn and Improve
One of the key pieces of guidance as advised by Sandra is to value diversity and to think in a human-centered way. “For the teams, look for people who have complementary or even contrary skills. This will support discussions and consequently deliver better solutions. Stay open-minded as much as possible, to foster innovation and allow partnerships and collaboration. Be resilient while facing difficulties and setbacks. However, it is important to recover, learn, and improve for the future” claimed Sandra.
Taking Different Paths Towards Innovation
Speaking about innovations, Sandra said, “tiko takes different paths towards innovation. First of all, the team listens to the customers and their changing and newly developing needs. In addition, they continuously check for new trends on social, economic, and technological levels. Combining all of these insights and using the knowledge and experience of diversified staff allows tiko to create appealing solutions”.
The Wave of Technology which Leaves a Great Impact
New technologies are playing a more and more important role in today’s innovation and working environment and Sandra asserts that the wave of technology changes how we work and therefore it impacts the role of leaders as well. “Technologies are improving solutions on many different dimensions but are also bringing additional complexities. Leaders don’t have to understand every detail but should bring some understanding on how they can be applied and which challenges they might present ”, she added.
A Future with Drastic Changes
According to Sandra, the industry is facing drastic changes, such as the continuous increase in renewables, digitalization, and the impact of e-mobility, just to name a few. “Companies like ours who are active in this area have to keep up with these developments since they form the basis for success. Therefore, it is key to stay open-minded and flexible and support employees in doing so as well”, she concluded.
Words of Wisdom for Next-Generation Women Leaders
Sandra insists that all leaders must keep learning and stay up to date. This doesn’t mean only about technology, but also behavioral topics from the teams, peers, and personal environment. “The working environment has been changing and continuing to bring new challenges, not the least of which has been influenced by COVID-19. Take them on, look for opportunities that are created and use them. And overall, stay motivated and be yourself only when you love what you do, will you be able to show your full potential”, said Sandra.