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Marlena Dorniak

Head of Business Development Cluster NEE

Some things in life happen by accident, so was me stumbling upon a Job offer r for the position of a Warehouse manager at Schenker. I found it interesting and even though I did not have so much experience in logistics, I applied and I managed to convince/assure the recruiters that I was the best person for the job. I convinced them that I am strong enough to manage a team (men dominant) and that I am service and customer oriented. I did it, I convinced them and I got the job, but that was end of the accidental events, when I was hired, I had to prove those things to myself and the company.  

My career started 10 years ago, as a Warehouse manager in Bydgoszcz in Poland. I was leading a big warehouse, with a team of 15 people and most of them were men. I was the first woman doing this kind of a job in the Schenker Poland Contract Logistic department. That was a tough time! I had to prove to my team, that I am worth doing the job, that I am worth being their manager and that I can manage the business. It was a “hands on job”. I was with my team in all the possible ways. We worked together – we “cleaned” the warehouse as a 5S activities, we searched for ways to improve the processes and get more clients. I worked hard to get more knowledge about this business, about the goods about the customers and I taught the same thing to my team, that a box is not just a box, it is a customer’s business behind it. I think that this kind of approach helped us increase the number of customers in the warehouse and diversify our services.

“Women are much stronger internally, they just need to realize that.”

Respect to the people and the work was a key success factor that helped me form a team. It was a challenging time, but when I look back, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Years of growth, learning, failing. Women do not usually brag about themselves J but in these years, during the annual Employee Satisfaction Survey, my team evaluated me with the highest scores among the other branches, it even sparked curiosity from the management team, on how did I manage to do that. I consider this experience as my win and my achievement.    

Currently I am heading Business development for the cluster and I have employees in various teams like the implementation and employees in the cluster countries. Even though this is a “higher” position, job with more responsibilities and influence to the overall success in the company, I feel much more confident in what I do, in how I handle stress, in how I motivate myself. When I compare the way, I felt in my first role in Schenker and in the current job, it is completely different, exciting, yet very different and this is because I am more mature, I know how to deal with my feelings and emotions. I know that if this day is not perfect, tomorrow will be better and if I doubt myself or if I have a bad day, that is not the end of the world, because tomorrow I will be back on track. This kind of thinking helps a lot, to overcome the insecurities that we sometimes face, but I had to learn it through my experience. My team is also my support network, I know that I can rely on them and that they are here for me, as well as I am for them. It gives me strength!

One of the biggest ongoing challenges that I am still facing is the work and life balance. Work is my passion. I travel a lot, so it is not easy to balance family life and business. The thing that helped me is the planning. It is a key for making sure that domestics matters are done, that business trips are aligned with kid’s events at school and so on. I have a great husband whom we share the responsibility with and that cooperation helped me to not have many regrets or sacrifices of my career and family time. Of course, there are still things that I missed in my kids’ life by I talk to them, I explain what I do, I do have quality time with them and I think I also show them a good example of how you need to work hard to reach your goals. I do not think that there is a perfect solution for this issue but having some flexibility in working time, could make lives a bit easier.  

When I look back, I think that everything came in the right place and time for me. I think that we do not need to rush time. I think that self-consciousness is key in developing yourself but it comes with time, you must gather your experiences piece by piece. We have to face our experiences and create ourselves, nothing comes for granted. If I had to advise something to a “younger me”, I would say to be braver and more self-confident and for example to not even hesitate to state your idea or opinion in the meetings.

When I look back at my career and try to evaluate my achievements, I can for sure say, that I am very proud and happy that I could form a team of professionals that are not afraid of difficult customer requests and challenges that we face. Other departments rely on us, we work well together, we support each other.