“Personal growth means removing your blinkers.”

How can young talents develop both personally and professionally at Comma Soft? We talked to Ayda Stommel (29) about this. She recently became head of the Digital Workplace department and has experienced for herself what it means to go above and beyond at Comma Soft.

Ayda – you have been a consultant at Comma Soft for the last four years. Do you still remember your first day at work?

Yes, I do, I was fresh out of university at the time and had my Master’s in IT Management & Consulting in my pocket. The degree program already had a strong focus on practical experience compared to others. I therefore knew what to expect in the corporate environment and deliberately opted for the diversity that comes with a consulting firm with all its different projects. However, I wanted to focus strongly on technological implementation in addition to consulting. I asked myself how I might develop concepts and actively participate in implementing them, while seeing what effect they have in practice. At Comma Soft, I had this opportunity right from the outset: I was taken by the hand, introduced to my first projects, was able to assume responsibility and work autonomously. I still value this trust very much today. And at the same time, I can always be sure that I will have a mentor among my more experienced colleagues who will help me with new challenges. This team spirit is incredibly motivating.

When it comes to responsibility, some young professionals are still unsure whether they are up to it. How did you cope with that back then?

In terms of my personality, I’m the sort of person who likes to help shape things, and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed taking on responsibility in projects. I have also always been very organised and have high expectations of my own work. In my view, these are good starting points. Moreover, I was only able to assume responsibility as quickly as I did because I was given the freedom to do so. That is of course also a challenge. But that’s exactly what I love about my work at Comma Soft: I always get another chance to challenge myself and further my development.

You have just taken another step in that direction: you have been Head of Digital Workplace since the beginning of the year. What has that changed for you?

On the one hand, I have taken over disciplinary and professional responsibility for the team in which I have worked for the last few years. This is a change for me and for my colleagues. After all this time of having the team support me, I am looking forward to being able to give something back to them as a leader. On the other hand, I now deal with much more strategic issues than before and work more closely with the management. I’m looking forward to that, too, because it gives me a different perspective on our company. I generally enjoy organizing and managing. All the more so if I can use my skills to advance my team and the entire company and with them, of course, our customers.

How has your role changed in client projects?

Now that I am more strategically oriented, I have broadened my view of the projects that we offer and can support our clients even more effectively on their journey to becoming a data-driven company. The digital workplace is not just about switching from paper to digital in order to save costs and become more sustainable, for example. Digitizing workplaces increases employee satisfaction and makes them more flexible – something that has become particularly important over the last two years. This in turn has an impact on productivity and, as an employer, increases the attractiveness of a company. Aspects such as cloud technology and a modern IT infrastructure also play a role. They create the necessary conditions for digitizing the workplace and at the same time increase value creation, because companies can react with greater agility to new market requirements. Looking at all these effects from the perspective of corporate strategy and seeing how our customers increase their innovative strength as a result is something I find extremely exciting.

What goals have you set for your future at Comma Soft?

I want to be as close to my team as before and maintain our team spirit. At the same time, I see myself as a source of inspiration and would like to support new colleagues in particular, enabling them to develop professionally and personally, to get involved and to try out their ideas. They should feel challenged, but not overwhelmed, and be able to push themselves to their limits, but not constantly beyond them. I am very much in favor of leaving one’s comfort zone from time to time and growing from the experience. However, I also want my team to ensure that they have a healthy work-life balance with all their ambitions. I try to exemplify this myself, for example by taking regular breaks, doing yoga and getting plenty of exercise in the fresh air. I am confident that this is how we will grow as individuals and together.

What does this growth look like for you in concrete terms?

As far as I am concerned, it means taking off my blinkers and thinking outside the box. That I am always open to new experiences, ideas and perspectives. Just because I’m a leader now doesn’t mean I’m not continuing to learn. This is a process of lifelong learning in which I actively seek input so that I can continue to develop in the future and not stand still. With regard to Comma Soft, I see growth primarily coming from our team – both in terms of personnel and content: we are looking to strengthen our consulting and back-office teams and are constantly expanding our expertise with new talent.