Setting the course

Tanja Heislitz

Technology and strategy. Tanja Heislitz  is passionate about both. At Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, her unbridled enthusiasm is focused firmly on establishing an e-mobility team with extensive expertise and on managing customer projects – together with service providers – on all aspects of engine and battery development.

Tanja Heislitz deals with e-mobility. In addition to technology, she has a somewhat unusual hobby – as a feng shui adviser.

“The transition towards e-mobility brings many new challenges for Freudenberg. The drivetrain is less complex in electric vehicles than in vehicles with a combustion engine. This means that new and quite different products are needed,” explains Heislitz, E-Mobility Technical Director. “We have to turn our product portfolio on its head and search for solutions. Such solutions may be applications that we have never encountered before but which fit thanks to our experience and materials expertise.”

The task of the mechanical engineer and her team is to find answers to three essential questions: how can the costs of electric vehicles be reduced and how can range and safety be improved? Such a challenge not only fascinates Heislitz but also spurs her on. “I’ve always been tech-mad,” she says. “Right at this moment, we not only find ourselves at a technological turning point, but we also need to set a new strategic course. I have a passion for both aspects.”

Heislitz’s career at Freudenberg spanning 20 years, seems to bear this out. At the end of the 1990s and as key account manager she mastered the challenge of delivering bellows of uniform quality worldwide to one of her customers. A complex task - requiring the meticulous coordination of many different interfaces. “The sealing business had only just gone global; we had to learn how to interact with our international partners and, besides technical questions, commercial issues such as pricing, needed to be clarified.

Meanwhile, Heislitz is one of the few female executives dealing with topics such as thermal management, batteries, voltage conversion and charging, electric drive and fuel cells. “Freudenberg demonstrated its commitment to women in leadership roles from an early stage and also invested in the professional development of women. Throughout my career there were many constructive solutions, for example, regarding flexible working arrangements that took account of my particular situation as a mother of two children,” explains Heislitz. “I very much appreciate that at Freudenberg, no-one is simply a number, but rather each person is seen and empowered as an individual.”