Fascinating clients and motivating challenges

Office workers jumping a cliff

Romano Foster works as a Sales Manager at Brunel’s Frankfurt office. What he really likes about his job? It is so varied, he says, and gives him all kinds of opportunities to develop.

Romano, how does Brunel measure up as an employer?

I like coming to work here, because the company is very much like a family. We are all on first-name terms and the atmosphere is very laid-back. On every level of the hierarchy, I can talk to people as their equal. There are career opportunities, decisions are made quickly. That is the spirit that I like.

If you had just three words to describe the company, what would they be?

Team spirit is very important here. The way people treat each other is friendly and agreeable. And high expectations are placed both on me and on the performance of Brunel as a whole.

Bearing in mind Brunel’s four core values – results-driven, passion for people, integrity and entrepreneurship – which of them is especially important in your line of work?

I see passion for people as an important point. In our corporate culture, everyone is on the same level. We are all free to share our thoughts and ideas. I think that is great. Being on first-name terms and having flat hierarchies are obviously important aspects of this culture. You can express criticism too. For me, that is an important value.

When did you join the company? And what did you do before that?

When I finished school, I wanted to get a proper job and initially opted for a commercial apprenticeship. But it wasn’t really what I had imagined, which is why I studied business administration at the same time. After a couple of stops along the way, I came out of HR and landed in personnel services, where I spent five years. I started in the unskilled labor segment, with warehouse staff and forklift operators and so on, and later switched to working with more highly qualified people and technicians in automotive engineering. Then Brunel contacted me in the summer of 2017, and I have been here ever since.

Romano Foster

Sales Manager & Group Leader 

Romano joined Brunel in 2017 as a Junior Account Manager and is now employed as an Executive Account Manager. In April 2022, he also assumed the role of Group Leader. 

How has your career at Brunel developed so far? 

For some time I have been focusing on developing the field of life sciences here. I started out in the usual way as a Junior Account Manager, but progressed via a post as Expert Account Manager to Senior Account Manager in less than a year and a half. I stayed in this position for a while and was just in the process of working my way up when the coronavirus pandemic got in the way. After that, I first had to get back on my feet again. I was then promoted to Executive Account Manager and, only a month later, became Group Leader. 

How did you manage to do that so quickly?

I had the backing of my Office Manager the whole time. When the time came to move in the direction of Executive Account Manager, it quickly became clear that I would also be a Group Leader, which is why we did all the planning in parallel. At the time, I was already shouldering greater responsibility for projects and the areas that I would subsequently take over. But I already had powers of attorney as a Senior Account Manager. Again and again, I was given new prospects and opportunities to satisfy my ambition for career advancement. 

You just mentioned the coronavirus. How did the pandemic change your job and the way your work here? 

No one had a master plan ready and waiting for how to deal with the pandemic. And no one knew either how long it would go on for or where it would lead us. We first had to regroup and sort ourselves out. But we are all dedicated to success. We are very heavily dependent on the market, which was very subdued while all this was going on. That placed even greater pressure on all of us. One positive change from my point of view is the whole issue of the IT infrastructure. Today, it doesn’t matter where I am at Brunel: I can work from anywhere with my Surface. We have also introduced an intensive monitoring system and asked ourselves what is working well and what isn’t. The desire to see potential for change is one thing that changed a lot during the pandemic. 

Do you have such a thing as a typical working day?

Not really. For me, it is typical to be at work at the latest by 7:30 a.m. so that I can go through my mails in peace and get an overview of what the day has in store. And then I work my way through everything. On some days there are so many meetings that I hardly get around to my routine work. On others a lot of unexpected matters crop up. So, I cannot say ‘that is what I do every day’. It is always changing. 

In our corporate culture, everyone is on the same level. We are all free to share our thoughts and ideas

Romano, talking about the working atmosphere at Brunel

What makes your job special for you?

The fact that I don’t do a tedious, run-of-the-mill job. My work is incredibly varied. I’ve been involved in automotive engineering, pharmaceuticals, production, the development of medical technology products, aircraft construction. I get to know so many companies that I never knew anything about before – including hidden champions, who are really fascinating. One of my biggest clients produces telescopes and satellites and works in orbital technology. It is tremendously exciting to go there and see what they do. And then I get to know all kinds of people, of course, and all the different things about them – clients and applicants alike. These encounters have a formative influence on me. They help me to find myself and cultivate a better feel for people. 

Speaking of people: What kind of a person are you? What do you in your own time? What are your hobbies? 

I enjoy cooking. And I like playing the piano, especially after a hard day at work. I am not the kind of person who leaves the office and just switches off. My work preoccupies me when I go home too. I don’t see that as an essentially negative trait, because I like my job and often have ideas in the evening. So, playing the piano is a good way to unwind. I also enjoy meeting friends, preparing meals together and sharing a sundowner on the balcony. 

Being appointed Group Leader is one of Romano’s greatest successes to date at Brunel. 

How do you define success?

Regardless of specific numbers, success for me is something I can personally identify with – when I can say: I feel happy because someone has got a job because of my work, or because I have landed a project. That is what I see as success: Numbers are only a momentary snapshot. It’s not about always being one of the high performers. Everyone has to find their niche – in the way they deal with clients, for example. Which is why it is hard to define success. For me personally, though, it is important to know that what I do leads to success – for the client, for the applicant and for myself. 

With that definition in mind, what would you say was your greatest success at Brunel so far? 

The fact that I am now a Group Leader, because it wasn’t easy getting here. On the one hand, the numbers have got to be right, i.e. you have to already be an Executive Account Manager. Beyond that, you also have to have shown someone else the ropes in that time. By no means least, you obviously also need the right personal skills, especially leadership qualities. The fact that I have succeeded in becoming Group Leader is a bit like the icing on the cake of my work over the past few years.