With a master’s degree in entomology (the study of insects) and a PhD in microbiology and immunology, Katharina’s unique background makes her a valuable addition to the IPM team. Since joining the company in 2013, she has been involved in several major projects. When the weather and time permit, she finds time to go camping and insect collecting. Additionally, Katharina enjoys good food, good friends, and art. Katharina and her daughter share their home in Chicago with a big, fluffy cat and a terrarium of pink-winged walking sticks.
How has your previous experience prepared you for working at IPM?
My background as a research scientist prepared me in terms of being analytical and having a sense of when something may be “off” about the information I’m receiving. Later, my experience at a global pharma company introduced me to consulting and managing projects.
What was one of the most challenging work situations you’ve encountered—and how did you handle it?
That would probably be a corporate rebranding project, with a code name, that centered on a name change for nine corporate entities (two in the U.S. and seven in Latin America). The project was so secretive that I had to make up a cover story for what I was supposedly working on. I was tasked with putting together the budget, timeline, plan, and proposal on how to roll out the name changes and how to communicate it internally and externally—from changing signs on buildings to new tax forms, email addresses, and business cards. Gathering information was a challenge because I had to keep a separate stakeholder list of who knew about the project. It was a three-month project where we worked long hours, but the work was invigorating, and I liked the client and the project team very much.
What are you passionate about?
Equal rights and women’s health.
What have you found to be the best thing about working at IPM?
I enjoy the diversity of projects and the fact that you have a “home base” to return to between your short adventures. With the variety of industries and people, there is always something new to learn.