The seventh annual STICKS & STONES career fair was held on June 3 and 4 at the “Alter Postbahnhof” in Berlin. According to the organizers, 2,800 visitors came to the old industrial building, and a record 108 companies and startups exhibited at the career fair. I, Karl-Heinz Koch, was there, and it makes me proud, after being with Bayer for 25 years, to represent the company at this creative and open event.
STICKS & STONES in Berlin is a platform only for companies actively committed to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) diversity. These companies have a reputation for promoting an open culture and integrating LGBT diversity. Other big names alongside Bayer included AbbVie, adidas, PwC, Bosch, Coca Cola, Allianz, EY, E.ON, Jack Wolfskin, Microsoft, Bayer, MCKinsey, Der Toristik, Munisch Re, SAP, Tesla, White&Case and Covestro.
The theme this year was: “Be yourself.”
Many companies still have a problem with this, but not Bayer. Just like last year, we had an information stand together with colleagues from University & Talent Relations and representatives of our Bayer BLEND Community, who support total LGBT equality at Bayer. I made my way to Berlin and was very happy to come to know the colleagues from University & Talent Relations and to see my friends from the BLEND Community after quite a long time. After 25 years at Bayer – currently as an employee in the quality assurance of the Bayer Pharma Supply Center in Leverkusen and a member of the BLEND community – I got to see for myself how Bayer, as a modern and progressive company, is also present at events like STICKS & STONES, and that it is perceived as a very attractive employer. Like me, my Bayer colleagues at the career fair felt proud and accepted in this open environment. It became very clear once again that society has made a lot of progress over the last few decades – as has Bayer, which is a mirror of society. It is very important to me personally to work in a tolerant and open environment and to be accepted the way I am.
We described the various career and entry options at Bayer to many interested visitors, and explained how they can apply for a job at Bayer. Visitors to our stand were all very pleased and grateful for these valuable tips. I have no doubt that, during the two-day event, we were able to help position our company as a prominent role model for equality, and to encourage ourselves and others to grow and develop freely.
The media also showed great interest in the STICKS & STONES career fair. Deutschlandfunk radio, the “Karrierespiegel” by “Spiegel online,” as well as the “Süddeutsche” and “Tagesspiegel” newspapers all reported on STICKS & STONES 2016. For example, after a brief interview with Deutschlandfunk, my Bayer colleague from University & Talent Relations had the opportunity to demonstrate the #BAYER360 virtually reality headset to the reporter, who even put it on and, like others, was very impressed. STICKS & STONES was a highly successful event for all of us in every respect.
In 2017, STICKS & STONES is scheduled to be held on May 27, and I definitely want to be there.
This post is also available in: German