Antje von Dewitz has been at the helm of the Vaude company since 2009. She’s on a mission to make it Europe's most sustainable outdoor equipment brand.
On Talking Germany the cultural/business studies graduate and mother-of-four explains why profits and sustainability to not have to me mutually exclusive, and how she manages to get home early twice a week despite her busy schedule.
Antje von Dewitz was born in 1972, the second of third daughters to company founder Albrecht von Dewitz. She planned to do something completely different, having majored in culture and business studies. After working as an intern at the family firm, however, she liked the idea of becoming a manager because of the options it meant in terms of bringing about social change. In 2001, for example, she introduced an in-house child care center for working parents. She also took an active role in support of a female staff quota and made it possible for 55% of the workforce to work part-time. In her own home, by the way, it’s her husband who takes care of the kids. The birthrate at her company is 30% above the average for Germany. If any of her initiatives may compromise profit-making, it’s of little bother to the boss; she’s accountable only to her father the owner, and not some outside investors. Albrecht von Dewitz tolerates her commitments on the social and ecological fronts – provided the financial figures add up. His daughter also sees marketing potential in her strategy: a way of standing out from the tough competition in the outdoor equipment sector. Antje von Dewitz lives with her husband and four children in Tettnang, near Lake Constance.