On March 29th, the Hertie School Security Club had the pleasure to welcome Mr. Lorenz Meyer-Minnemann to its first official mentoring session with members of the club. Mr. Meyer-Minnemann is the Executive Coordinator and First Deputy Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of NATO and thus part of NATO’s senior management team. After graduating from Kings College in London, Mr. Meyer-Minnemann found his way to NATO through an internship. He remained within the organization and worked his way up to the senior level. Now he advises Secretary General Stoltenberg and is also responsible for the recruitment of key NATO leaders.
In the mentoring session students were given Mr. Meyer-Minnemann’s 10 key career insights, which he considers to be particularly important:
(1) Don’t obsess over career plans. Having a career goal is good, but you shouldn’t be blind to other, spontaneously arising, opportunities. Enjoy the journey!
(2) Everything you do in a professional setting is a job interview. Perform every task as if it was of the utmost importance. Maintain a consistently high working level. Also remember to maintain your networks, not only with people who are currently influential, but also with your colleagues and peers. You never know which positions they might hold in the future.
(3) Keep your ego in check. Search where you can contribute with your abilities rather than disrupt with your ego. Smart and well-lead organizations will identify those who want to make a difference. And big presumptuous egos are never liked.
(4) If your performance is not recognized, it may be due to the organization, but also to you. Always consider both possibilities.
(5) Reflect on yourself! Learning never ends. Be self-reflective and look for friends who can honestly reflect on your strengths and weaknesses.
(6) Respect hierarchy in a hierarchical organization. This does not mean that you always have to agree with your superiors, but be aware of your place and participate in the progress of the organization.
(7) Be humble but not intimidated. Understand that everyone starts small at the beginning and that everyone can grow. If you have made it to your position, there is a reason for that!
(8) Be sure that what you do is what you are interested in. Only those who are really interested in their work do it really well.
(9) Maintain distance between your professional and personal self. You are not your job and your job does not define your self-worth. Power can be given to you, but also be taken away. Create a clear separation between your personal and professional happiness. Everybody gets professionally rejected at some point. This however should not throw your personal life off course.
(10) Be a good person! People with a kind heart and emotional intelligence are not only good for any organization, but also good for our world.
Finally, he reminded us to be critical. These tips have helped him in advancing his career and stem from his personal experience, but do of course not reflect the absolute truth. We never stop learning and anyone can be a good teacher!
We thank Mr. Meyer-Minnemann very much for these personal insights and his advice. We are sure that these key insights have inspired many of the participants.
We also look forward to hosting further mentoring sessions and sharing our experiences with our audience!