Irene Bonn

Who are you?

Name: Irene Bonn

Profession/Position/Enterprise: Managing director of Faculty 09, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Geography an Geosciences


  • you are a leader… in what context?

As the Managing director of Faculty 09, I am the supervisor of 11 employees and responsible for the management and strategic direction of the faculty at various levels.

Further more I am the deputy equal opportunities officer of the JGU.

  • What is most important to you in leading?

The most important aspect are the people I work with. An essential element in leadership for me is trust.

  • What do you enjoy about it? Why?

I like to think strategically and be involved in shaping processes. Why? I think it is important that everything is constantly evolving and that there is no standstill.

  • What were important steps on your way to leadership?

The first important step was the decision to attend a high school as a first generation student in higher education. Another important step was my early involvement in youth work in church, where I took over group leadership for younger members as a teenager. From today's perspective, my decisions to first study at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration and, after my successful completion, apply for release from civil service to study chemistry paved exactly the right path for me. This combination ultimately laid the foundation for all further opportunities.

  • From your perspective… How does being female contributes to your success in leadership?

I would like to answer it by saying that the experiences (good or bad) I have had throughout my life as a woman have shaped my personality and the way I live leadership. They have made me a leader who is highly attentive to the staff. One sentence from the Leadership Guidelines of the JGU is particularly important to me today: "Leadership responsibility toward employees is characterized by showing them respect and loyalty regardless of their status."

  • How does being a scientist contributes to your success in leadership?

Being a natural scientist - a chemist, means that I have a strong analytical mind, good perseverance and a solid tolerance for frustration. All qualities, which I need in my management position.

  • What tips do you have for young female scientists who want to take a leadership role?

I was asked a similar question 10 years ago. Almost nothing has changed according to my advice, so I'll repeat this one. Have the courage to use your skills. Have the courage to say when you want a task to be done, and have the courage to make mistakes. Expect that family and work have to be compatible, but be open to different ways of doing things.

Accept that not everything is plannable. For this, I would like to give you one of my favorite sayings along the way: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" by John Lennon.

From today's perspective, I would like to add, stay authentic.