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Employee Spotlight: Kristen Downs


Kristen Downs - VP of Strategic Account Management and Sales Enablement, TÜV SÜD AmericaKristen Downs

VP of Strategic Account Management and Sales Enablement, TÜV SÜD America

#FutureInYourHands – This motto properly describes how TÜV SÜD empowers its employees. It’s best to hear from TÜV SÜD executives and staff members what their personal experiences are working for TÜV SÜD.

What do you appreciate most as an employee at TÜV SÜD?
There are two things that come to mind when I think about what I most appreciate about being at TÜV SÜD. First, I value the entrepreneurial nature within the company – at TÜV SÜD, when you see an opportunity, you have the power to make it happen. Second, I appreciate the people who work here. Everyone I’ve met has been very supportive, and there is a true desire to bring value to our customers. I am impressed by how many people are routinely willing to go above and beyond to make a difference.

As a leader of Strategic Account Management, what is your driving mission?
From my vantage point in this role, I have an opportunity to connect with people around the world and to see all the fascinating ways we are helping our most strategic clients succeed in their business. Our goal in the Strategic Account Management program is to facilitate and broaden the connections between TÜV SÜD and our customers and to expand the value that we deliver to our customers on a global level. I have the benefit of also being responsible for Sales Enablement and have leveraged this to expand engagement to include people who are not part of the Strategic Account Management Program. It is exciting to see how many people are embracing this and to see the progress we’ve made over the past 18 months.

As an employee, what do you value in the workplace?
I value collaboration and inclusiveness, and I am a firm believer in the importance of teamwork and cultural diversity. TÜV SÜD shares these same values. Every day, I have the opportunity to work with teams comprised of people from all over the world, and I love the insights and ideas that come from this.

You have worked at world-class global organizations like Orange, what is it about TÜV SÜD that really stands out to you?
What stands out to me most is how many opportunities there are for personal growth at TÜV SÜD. There are formal leadership development programs and flexibility to pursue overseas assignments, and TÜV SÜD even provides a cultural exchange program for children of its employees, through its Horizons Program. It is an amazing initiative, unprecedented in my experience. TÜV SÜD sponsors a cultural exchange program between families of employees in Germany and other countries. My daughter participated this past summer, and she really loved it. She spent two weeks in Germany with a host family and we were fortunate to host their daughter as well for two weeks. It is great that TÜV SÜD is investing not only in its employees, but also expanding cultural understanding and global focus for the next generation as well.

What is your driving philosophy of life and work?
I really have two philosophies that I embrace in life and in work. The first is that I believe you should always be your authentic self both in your personal life as well as at work. When I am true to myself by aligning what I do with who I am as a person, I feel more grounded and confident that I am bringing my best to everything I do.

The second is around work/life balance. In this always ‘on’ and connected world, it is easy to get lost trying to find this so-called balance. I believe that the key is not to try to find a balance, but instead to allow yourself to prioritize each over the other when appropriate and not feel guilty about doing so. When at work, focus and give your full attention to work, and when not at work focus 100% on those other things in your life. And yes, I do take family vacations without checking email.

What are your personal interests and hobbies, Kristen, and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am an avid snow skier and a self-proclaimed history addict, which make living in the Boston area an ideal location for me. I love to travel, which is a passion that started during college when I had the opportunity to travel around the world in 100 days, and I like expanding my knowledge through reading and continuing education. However, when it’s all said and done, I most enjoy spending time with my family, and find much of my time outside work cheering for my kids from the sidelines of a soccer field or an Alpine ski racecourse.


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