Having a coffee with … Joanna Bolle

Why do you have to do just one thing in life?

Joanna Bolle has many talents. In between design, construction- and project management, she finds herself time for her third passion: photography. Precision, aesthetic, and creativity is the base of all these working fields, that she serves as a self-employed woman. In one of the fields, she works for the EMBA HSG Alumni on events: as photographer, Joanna captures special moments.

And explains in the latest issue of “Having a coffee with …” how her life journey has shaped her, brought her to the HSG and why the EMBA programme was like a “brain injection” for her,.

Joanna, what was your journey to Switzerland like?

“It was quite a long journey, with many twists and turns, but consequently, it has shaped me to be the person that I am today, I was born in Poland and when I was twelve years old, my family moved to Germany. I then studied construction engineering in Aachen – which was and still is – mainly dominated by men.  After my first graduation, I worked for construction projects in England and Dubai. Then I had an offer to work in Switzerland and seemed to found my place here in the construction management field. However, I was not entirely happy with the employments I had. After several private mandates, I took my chance and started my own business.”

How important were your EMBA studies with regard to making the step towards self-employment?

“It was utterly important! I had always been interested in economy, management and coordination. When I had the chance to do the Executive MBA at the HSG, it was like an injection in my brain. It made me braver to speak out loud what I think and to put in place, what I want. The inspiration on the one hand, along with the support and core strength on the other, is a combination that is not matched. The HSG definitely shaped me and awoke the inner drive to lifelong learning.”

What does you daily business look like? Is there a typical office day or are you very flexible and shift in between fields?

“It must be very flexible and there is no typical day in my working life. Thankfully! Generally, the most time I spent on construction management and house builder management. Photography on the one hand, serves as a balance for me – on the other hand it is a great connection as I am able to serve this part of the construction process as well. Why do you have to do just one thing in life? This is also something I learned in St. Gallen: I know myself well enough to be sure what I am capable of.”

Regarding creativity which is something very important for you obviously, how did you feel that was a part of the EMBA Programme? Can you think of a certain class or workshop that was particularly important to you?

“Mainly in the innovation and product management. But actually, you could find something in every class – the question being what creativity means for one. Where do I leave the common ground? Often creativity in work life is linked to or equals thinking outside the well-known box. So, does that mean I am brave now?

We do not realise, when and how we need creativity because we are so fixed and glued to our principles. Even though the post-modern time is the century of creativity, we produce more laws and restriction as ever before in history.

The question is what creativity stands for. Is creativity only another word for art? No; it is a lot more.”

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