Müzeyyen Carrasco - Interview
Tell Me Something About Your Background.
As a cosmopolitan, I appreciate the different cultures and mentalities of the people: the hospitality and warmth that I experienced in the Middle East, even from ordinary people, the temperament of the southerners, who sometimes turn night into day, the punctuality of the Germans, the formality of the Asians, the attitude to life and the enjoyment of the French, and so on. – I could still list so many positive things. I firmly believe that diversity enriches humanity and helps to develop creative ideas.
How Did You Experience Your School Days?
I have fond memories of my school days in North Rhine-Westphalia, even though my parents were not always able to help me because of the simple circumstances. I had ambition and I always saw cultural differences as enrichment, even if it was sometimes a challenge. Others may have had a more difficult time because they didn’t know if they could stay in Germany and where should they belong to. For me, however, that was not an issue. I just wanted to develop and become the change myself. So I went from Realschule to Gymnasium (Germany). Then at some I studied law, which I interrupted because a whole new world opened up for me: that of electronic components.
How Did It Come About?
In November 1995, I started working for an American distributor of electronic components as a “girl for everything”. At the beginning it was pretty boring, but I needed a financial basis to be able to finance my studies. Since I was 14 years old, I took care of my personal finances to relieve my family of that burden. Anyway, I didn’t see any point in being bored as a receptionist at a corporate headquarters. And so one day I took heart and knocked on the door of the then managing director. I asked him, even though I hardly had any experience in Sales and Purchasing, but knew languages better than many of my colleagues in the company at the time, to give me a new job here for which I felt I was more suited.
And Then What Happened?
My boss looked at me with surprise but also curiosity and asked me if I would find a better job elsewhere. This was followed by a request to think about it. At that moment, I realized that I really hadn’t thought about whether I would find a better job elsewhere. It was simply the entrepreneurial drive to want to create something that spoke out of me and had such an impact on my later life. Almost a bit scared of myself, I made my way home, lost in thought, while the rain drenched me, and caught a severe flu that put me out of action for three days.
Fortunately, I am a very resilient person. After three days and a few fever tablets, I made my way to the company. I knew that a talk with the boss would follow. But I didn’t expect that outcome.
In the boss’s office, I was welcomed with a smile. And humorously, my supervisor said to me, “Müzeyyen, your job is no more.” I thought that was it and I could pack my bags. But the experienced manager looked at me with a broad grin and added, “But there is a vacancy in Purchasing.”
And So Your Career In The Electrical Industry Began?
I was thrown in at the deep end. I had no idea how it should work. Suddenly I had to communicate with colleagues from all over Europe and the USA. But I saw it as an opportunity, a challenge, and it was fun. My ambition was awakened and I rolled up my sleeves. I knew then that my time had come. I quickly acquired the necessary knowledge and consolidated my position as a Purchaser in the company. It wasn’t long before I was responsible for purchasing in the Asian region and was able to qualify and expand our range of suppliers in the region. I was able to make a skilful contribution and as a result of my successful chain development, I got, in 1996, the chance to visit the first Electronica in Hong Kong with the management team.
There Is An Anecdote About You and Your Supervisor At The Time At The Fair….
Yeah, that was pretty funny and prophetic at the same time. We had a booth at Electronica and an older couple approached us. None of the managers in charge were in place at the moment, so I took over the conversation. The older couple seemed so excited about me that as soon as our vice was there, they greeted him with the following words:
“You have a great employee. She will be a manager one day.”
My vice’s answer was rather dry. He answered with the words:
“I don’t think so.”
This stuck in my mind and reminded me of my former teacher who once said:
“I’m just going to be a mother, a housewife, or a mistress anyway.”
This essentially shows the image of women at that time, which men in the electrical industry still had then and in some cases still have today. In this context, it is especially important to me to encourage young girls and women to never give up. If I can make it as a small, petite woman with an immigrant background, then any other woman can make it, too. It’s a question of attitude. Women are equal to men in this industry. When it comes to negotiations, we complement each other very well. It’s about time some managers finally realized that.
How Was Asia For You?
Exciting and challenging at the same time. It was a lot of fun. Left to my own devices, I had to find my way. With my purchasing knowledge, I was able to help set up the first office in Singapore.
When Did You First Meet Christian Meier?
I met Christian Meier, the current Managing Director of ComSIT GmbH, at the Electronica in Munich in 1996. The young, dapper manager introduced me to AKI (All Kind of IC’s), his own company. At that time, however, I had little to do with European customers. Nevertheless, I was curious and wanted to learn more about the company. At the show, we talked about a TDA component from Infineon, and he said that only he could source it. Of course, I had to disprove that. And I succeeded – with a satisfied smile on my face and at a lower price than he could have procured the component. Through such activities, I expanded my skills as a buyer and laid the foundation for my still solid reputation on the Asian continent. It was also the beginning of a wonderful friendship and business partnership.
So That Was The First Contact That Got Everything Rolling?
That was the first contact that got everything rolling.
My employer built more branches in Europe and other regions of the world. The cooperation with Christian became closer and closer. In the course of time, other business partners were added. Then in 2008 I took a new path. I became a partner in the company ComSIT, in which Christian was also involved. Our goal was to better bundle and optimize Purchasing, Sales and Logistics. Today, Christian and I are in the company as CEO – tandem and have big plans for the future.
Please Tell Us Something About Your Personal Corporate Philosophy
Taking responsibility for employees is important to me. Being true to one’s word is essential. The families of our employees, who want to plan a future, lead a happy life and need security, depend on both. As entrepreneurs, we all owe it to them. After all, they are the foundation of our success. Many companies often forget that. At the same time, it is important to me to encourage women to go into electrical engineering more. It’s not just the shortage of skilled workers that requires this. It’s also about proving that women are just as good engineers, technicians and mechanics as men. If we walk a common path, we will also have more success. That’s what my own experience has taught me. Diversity in all professional situations is good and enriching. A gain for all of us.
And Your Personal Wish?
To create a company that lives sustainability, that helps protect our planet to leave something beautiful for future generations and not a wasteland for which we are all responsible. We should not be accused of doing nothing out of greed for profit. The technical possibilities to use resources more sensibly, to provide people with the bare necessities, to give them a simple but good home, are there. We just have to want to do it and get to work.
A powerful team!
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