Our Eurofighter Faces feature looks at the people who work behind the scenes to make the Eurofighter project a success. As Business Change Project Management Officer (PMO) in the Strategy function, Alke D. plays a key role in helping to transform Eurofighter. But what does it take to help Eurofighter grow and stay relevant in this fast-paced, constantly changing environment?

Tell us about your early career.
Before I landed my current role with Eurofighter, I studied Business Economics as part of a dual study system with my previous employer who were involved in the Maritime Defence Electronics’ sector, based in the north of Germany. After I finished my studies, I went on to become an Executive Assistant of the Management Board. I gained a great overview of general management practices and how a company should be run. I then moved to the UK for around three years – living and working near Dorchester — and led on various Human Resources related projects and programmes.
 
Fast forward to now; I have been the Business Change Project Management Officer (PMO) with Eurofighter as part of the Strategy Function since 2018.
 
Who were key people who inspired you?
The first people who inspired me were previous line managers. They were the ones who believed in me from the start, recognised my strengths, built on them, and provided me with the career choices that have led me to where I am today.
 
I also have a lot of respect for my current line managers and mentors who have guided me throughout my time at Eurofighter. The encouragement and support I receive on a daily basis really inspires me. I’m always learning something new from my colleagues. I encourage feedback from everyone I work with and reflect on it to improve and better myself.
 
What attracted you to the strategy role?
In my current role, I lead the company’s strategic change landscape with the aim of transforming the business and deliver required improvements to ensure we’re fit for the future. As the Business Change PMO for Eurofighter, I work in an international, diverse environment with great, like-minded people around me. It was, and still is, a challenging environment, and that is exactly what I was looking for.
 
What Project Management skills do you need?
My role requires me to put together lots of different puzzle pieces to come up with a unified approach to a challenge. So, a sound awareness of strategic principles and an ability to think strategically are core skills. I often have to rally multiple stakeholders around a vision or mission and connect different people from across the business to find solutions. This requires me to have a good level of people skills to bring people together and get the best out of them.
 
How does it feel to be working as part of the Eurofighter programme?
I’m lucky to love doing what I do. I get a lot of satisfaction from my role at Eurofighter, especially because I get to work alongside lots of great people. Seeing results from the improvements we initiated makes the job very worthwhile.
 
In this ever-changing industry, our roles are an important part of Eurofighter as we’re the ones who are helping to transform our business, helping it to grow and stay relevant in the market. We cannot stand still as change activities provide a competitive advantage.
 
What attributes have you needed to get to your position?
I have needed many personal and professional attributes to help me get to where I am today. A clear drive for high performance and strong leadership competencies have played a big part. I believe in taking people with me and creating an environment for change. I hold people accountable for their promises, even Board members. I also believe that being able to create alignment, resolve conflict whenever it may appear and, of course, being empathetic have a played a part.
 
What does a typical day at Eurofighter look like for you?
No day is ever the same working at Eurofighter, and that’s why I love it! My day-to-day activities usually involve exchanging with project leads, leading project reviews, and supporting preparation of business cases for the Management Board. I also run regular decision and alignment sessions with the Board,  ensure governance adherence and run awareness sessions. Other tasks involve compiling and facilitating several workshops on a variety of topics related to organisational change.
 
What impact does the role have?
The work I help to deliver is important. Improvements and change actions help us deliver and excel in our three strategic objectives: customer focus, programme performance excellence and shaping the future of Eurofighter. For me, delivering improvements across the company that are not only recognised internally but also by our Eurofighter Partner Companies or our customers is a highly important piece of work.
 
How do you ensure work life balance?
I love to spend time outdoors getting fresh air. When I’m not outside I enjoy going to fitness classes and spending time with family. All these activities help me to relax and remain grounded, and I remember what’s important in life.