German-Austrian I Intercultural Psychologist I Bottom-up Facilitator & Guide I Bridgebuilder I Thinker I Empath I Detail freak with a Vision I Researcher-Soul I Loves meditation in movement I Perception-changer I Obsessed with exploring polarities I Nature-lover I Mover
1975: GERMAN-AUSTRIAN ROOTS
I grew up bi-cultural in Germany. Having to deal with cultural differences since birth, left a deep imprint in my personality and the way, I perceive people and diversity. My Austrian great-great grandmother Paula, my great-grandmother Tusnelda and my grandmother Margarete had been teachers.
1991: ONE YEAR USA
At the age of 16, I spent a High-School year with the American Field Service. I got the opportunity to stay with the most wonderful family, with two brothers and parents that I still call “Mom” and “Dad”. For the first time I experienced culture-shock and had to learn how to constructively deal with it. I have a US-Amercian High-School diploma of Graduation & the German Abitur.
1992: REVERSE-CULTURE SHOCK
Back home I had to deal with my reverse culture shock. The “old world at home” and myself had changed. I needed to find constructive ways, to deal with it.
1995 – 2000: AUSTRIA
To explore my Austrian roots, I went to study (first education and then psychology) in Graz. I lived with Austrian and international students. Even though I have an Austrian passport, I never felt as German as during the first time. I also understood “what is Austrian” in me.
My own educational journey and my educational studies arouse a deep interest into researching how people learn best. I attendended my first interactive, bottom-up rhetorical training and fell in love with this – back then still – very different learning style. In my psychological studies I focused on systems-theory, group dynamics and personal development.
INTERNATIONAL TEAM WORK
I always worked during my studying time. Within project groups at the Universities or e.g. at T-Mobile I was part of international teams, which I later also led. Before this experience, I always thought I am a very tolerant person. Since then, it intrigues me deeply, to empirically research and practice the Inclusion of (cultural) Diversity.
2000 – 2002: ITALY
After five years in Austria, I applied for a Erasmus-Free-Mover scholarship and went to Rome. A third time in a row, I needed to stretch my cultural comfort zone and learn how to tune into people from another culture, while studying and working.
My partner at this times was Roman, so I became part of an Italian family and experienced first hand and on a daily basis, the building blocks of the Italian society. I decided to prolong my stay in Italy and found a job in an international and mulitdiciplinary University project.
2002: BACK IN GERMANY
To finish my Psychology studies, I went back to Germany. Due to the many cultural-moves and my constant practice dealing with new cultures and people, the reverse-culture shock did not hit me very hard.
Luckily I met Prof. phil. habil. Hannes Stubbe. The Ethno- and Transcultural-Psychologist had spent many years working and living in different cultures himself. He encouraged me strongly to backup my practical, intercultural experiences with theoretical backbones, to have a solid foundation for my work. He mentored my Diploma-thesis and became my PhD father.
2003: INTERCULTURAL PSYCHOLOGIST
My Diplom-thesis was about “Intercultural Training methods in empirical comparison”. I facilitated my first trainings.
2003: INTERCULTURAL TRAINING ENTREPRENEUR
Finishing my diploma and parallel to researching for my Phd thesis, I became self-employed as Intercultural Competence Trainer.
2008: PhD INTERCULTURAL BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
Thesis: “In-/direct communication style and perceived politeness in business communication: people in Germany, Austria and Italy in cultural comparison.” My second mentor was the former Director of the Institute of Business & Social Psychology, Prof. emer. Lorenz Fischer.
2012-2014: PROF´In INTERCULTURAL BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
Interims Professorship for Intercultural Business Communication at the University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg. Parallel to my ongoing Intercultural Comptence Trainings, I was teaching up to 12 hours/weekly.
SINCE 1995: DIVERSITY COMPETENCE LEARNING FROM NATURE
In my own journey of personal development, I found nature to be my biggest, because most experienced teacher – when it comes to including (inner & outer) Diversity and Change. Since 2016 I am a Vision Fast Guide (School of Lost Borders) and assisted Merdith Little and Dr. Scott Eberle (practice of living & dying). I regularly retreat to the Peruvian rainforest to diet plant medicine, guided by the Shipibo elder Manuela Mahua.
PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT & BOTTOM-UP LEARNING
One facet of Intercultural Competence is personality-development. My Mentor Dirk Kropp and his Aikido (the peaceful martial-art for personality development) are one of my biggest inspirational sources.
- SIETAR Deutschland – Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research
- Hochschulverband Interkulturelle Studien
- Intercultural Campus, Universität Jena, worldwide University network for intercultural learning (www.intercultural-campus.org)
- KomDiM – Zentrum Kompetenzentwicklung für Diversity Management in Studium und Lehre an Hochschulen in NRW. Expertisezirkel Beratung, Begleitung, Coaching und Mentoring
- PAKH – Study group on intergenerational consequences of the holocaust.