Upon completing her degree, she chose to gain a doctorate in lightweight engineering. The doctorate was associated with a full-time position at TU Darmstadt. At the same time, she decided to take the opportunity before entering the business world to start a family with two children. “This seems to be an unusual path since people often ask me how I managed it. I have a simple answer to that question: with the support of my family and friends. It’s my firm belief that we can achieve more together – whether in a family or a dedicated team. That’s how I finished my doctorate while I was heavily pregnant. We also moved into our house at the same time after thoroughly renovating it with the help of the family,” she recalls.
Before Heislitz joined Freudenberg, she worked at a large-scale automotive company. “My time there was very exciting, and I had the opportunity to learn the structures of a corporate group. However, I had the feeling that I couldn’t develop there the way I wanted to.” After some research, it was clear to Heislitz: “I wanted to work at Freudenberg. Right from the start, I identified strongly with the slogan ‘Innovating Together.’ I liked the idea of creating something together with a team. The fact that Freudenberg is a family-owned company was particularly important to me. It means that the Supervisory Board is personally committed to the company.”
Heislitz’s career at Freudenberg began as a project manager in methods development. She managed various projects from a range of Freudenberg Business Groups, investigating the cold temperature properties of elastomers and the wear and tear in gaskets, for instance. The objective of the projects was to learn how Freudenberg can design the products to work even better. “One of the test benches was a particularly exciting project. It required a lot of work, time, expertise and careful attention to set up the test and analyze the data. It helped that our team could work on site directly with the customer – an automotive supplier. This direct contact was a major advantage since we could analyze everything carefully on site. Plus, the work atmosphere was very open and constructive, even despite the pressure to succeed. This allowed us to build the test benches to a more exacting standard and to optimize the gaskets to resist wear.”