Meet a wetransformer – Franziska Hochenegger, Senior Project Manager

Meet a wetransformer – Franziska Hochenegger, Senior Project Manager

General Interest Interview Culture Projects Staff Teamwork

During this series, we are looking to show off the many different humans who work at wetransform, as well as take the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

Hi Franziska, thank you for joining us! Could you please start us off by telling us a little about yourself?

I'm Franziska Hochenegger, I come from a small village of roughly 4000 inhabitants in Saxony’s Ore Mountains, called Olbernhau. It’s close to Seiffen, which is known as the “Christmas town”. We basically produce all those crazy Christmas decorations that you can find all over the globe. Fun fact: Back when I was born, this was all in the former GDR (East Germany). So, I was born in a country that doesn’t exist anymore!

Franziska Hochenegger

I initially studied International Forest Ecosystem Management in Eberswalde, east of Berlin. After that, I moved to Vienna and did a master’s in Forest Science there. I then worked a bit before adding an executive bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration on top.

After some more time spent working on environmental topics elsewhere, I was looking for a new challenge. I had met Thorsten while working on Smarticipate years ago and when we got back in contact, he offered me the role of Senior Project Manager at wetransform, which seemed like a perfect fit.

What kind of challenges does that role entail?

When you’re a project manager, the project itself is only a minor challenge.

The biggest challenge is the people. Making sure that the people are communicating and working with each other, in order to keep the project running.

Another challenge is to ensure that the ideas that people have inside their brains are actually realised in the project. Basically, you have to figure out what the stakeholders want and then try to achieve those goals in the project.

When it comes to explaining my job, I think this graphic sums it up well:

meme illustrating the expectations different groups have of a project manager

Sounds like you’ve got some challenging tasks in order to keep everything on the rails. What excites you the most about it?

I find it a very dynamic job where I have to adapt every day.

I get to work on interesting projects with interesting people. There are plenty of characters even just within our company. Even within this call! [laughs] I really figured that out during the offsite workshop.

It’s this cool mixture of everything. We get to do science, but we also get to do management and strategic stuff, but it’s also the social aspect. It’s kind of a compendium of different aspects that really make the job super interesting.

There’s hardly ever a day where I’m like “Ugh, I have to work today.”. It’s more like “Oh cool, I have to work today! Let’s see what happens!”.

What are the aspects of your work specific to wetransform that you really enjoy?

I enjoy being part of a really nice team. I also like that my team leads, Thorsten and Florian, really appreciate my work. I got onboard when I was four months pregnant, which Thorsten knew. Since I found out in the middle of the interview process, he was the first person after my husband to know! He had no problem with it at all, which was great.

I like the teamwork. I like chatting with my colleagues. Everyone’s really friendly and you can ask really open questions. There’s not really a rigid hierarchy or employee/employer relationship, it’s more flexible.

We haven’t really had any standout “crazy” moments yet, also due to the Corona pandemic. I’d still really like to meet the team. Perhaps I would’ve met everyone at the offsite if I’d been there in person.

It was quite funny having you there digitally.

[laughs] Yes! Claudia told me. She said: “The computer was you! Everybody was so concerned about the computer. Where it was and whether you could see something!”

How do you spend your free time? Oh, it sounds like a baby wants to weigh in here!

[lifting and soothing her infant] In my free time, I’m spending a lot of time with this little guy here, but we also have a dog, and there is of course my husband, so I spend a lot of time with family.

Apart from the family, I do a lot of triathlons. I work as a referee in triathlons. Hiking, travelling, any outdoor sports I can do living in Tyrol! When I’m just relaxing, I like knitting and sewing baby clothes.

Finally, do you have a dream for wetransform?

What I would really like to see is for the company to overcome the typical start-up teething issues and to smoothly grow into a bigger company. Scaling the organisation and increasing our portfolio would be great.

I know from experience that this can be a very difficult process, but getting things right early on makes it a lot easier in the future.

In Forestry, what they told us is that when you’re in the forest, you need to try and imagine what you’d like that forest to look like in a hundred years. This is also what you have to do for a company. Try to think about how you’d like it to be in twenty years, even if it’s super unrealistic, but just to get an idea of what you need. Then get somewhere between 10-50% of it right and it’ll work.

If you're interested in working at wetransform, check out our careers page!