25 Jun 2021

More than just a place to work

Ursula Cordier from Generali Deutschland AG

I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years! My Generali story began in 2000, when I joined Central, the former Generali Health insurer in Cologne, as a temporary employee to support the onboarding of new sales forces – just for a couple of weeks.

I didn’t have the faintest idea of the insurance business – as a graduate in literature and linguistics, I had previously worked in a translation office. When I presented myself to my new boss, he greeted me warmly and pushed two overflowing folders into my arms, saying: “here’s some info for you, please make a plan for the trainings”. There I was, with about 1,500 sheets of paper full of abbreviations I had never heard before. And with a handful of kind-hearted, good-humoured colleagues who explained everything I had to know. Which was a lot, because at that time we still had a very complicated corporate structure with 10 different companies under the umbrella of Generali. A couple of weeks quickly turned into a couple of months, and when my task was done and I had to leave, I felt as if I was leaving friends.

My heart beat faster when a former Generali colleague called me about 15 months later. She wanted to reduce her working hours and asked me if I would share her job. I didn’t think twice and quit my current job in the HR department of another big insurance company the same day.

Since then I have had many different jobs in different departments at Generali, but one thing was the same for all of them: the solidarity and helpfulness of colleagues among each other in times of a lot of work and very little time. The past 19 years have been full of changes and challenging times, but also great successes to celebrate.

One of the experiences I will never forget was in September 2017. I had just moved to Munich, together with three other colleagues from Cologne, and it was supposed to be  the first year for us to join the big company party at the famous Oktoberfest. It was exciting to see how everybody came to the office on this day in traditional Oktoberfest outfits with dirndls and lederhosen, and we had dressed up as well. But we were in the middle of preparing for the launch of the new strategy SSYtoLead and unfortunately had no chance to finish in time for the party. So, while 1,000 colleagues celebrated at the Wiesn, we pored over the documents in the almost empty office. One week later, the new strategy was announced, and when the big day was over, we were exhausted and really just wanted to go home and relax.

But as luck would have it, our managers had an invitation to one of the most beautiful Wiesn tents for that very day and persuaded us to come along. Of course we were dressed in normal business clothes, but when the cheerful group at the long table took us into their midst and we had the first Maß in our hands, all the tiredness and the effort of the past months fell away from us. It was a wonderful evening, we were incredibly proud of what we had achieved together and celebrated happily until late into the night.

Here’s to 190 years of Generali – happy anniversary and all the best for the next 190 years!