Consultant Spotlight – Carina Rembeck

Posted on by Congenius

Introducing our Consultant Spotlights…

Our team at Congenius share important commonalities; MedTech expertise, a thirst for knowledge and a love of collaboration. We also all understand that to build successful relationships, you need to be human. So, every six weeks, we`ll be publishing an interview with one of our Congenius consultants. We want to give you the chance to get to know our consultants even better, covering their varied pathways to a MedTech career, learning what really drives them, and discussing their opinions on the industry issues of the day.

First to sit in the hot seat…

Our first Consultant in the spotlight, is Carina Rembeck, one of our Consultants in Quality, and the first consultant to join the Congenius team. As she reflects on her career to date, here`s what she had to say about being a young female expat in the MedTech industry.

On moving to Switzerland…

I never thought I would end up in Switzerland. I was born and raised in Munich, and I`m very connected to my family and home. After spending a year of high school in Canada, I didn`t really have a big desire to go away again after graduation. But then realising how some time abroad would benefit my CV, I decided to do my Mechanical Engineering Master’s Thesis in Singapore. Meeting someone special during this time prompted my move to Zurich, but when things didn`t work out I decided to move to Basel. And I`m so glad I stayed – Basel is very international and very colourful. Even though my move to Switzerland wasn`t planned, I`ve quickly realised, as a keen hiker, skier and cyclist, that it`s my dream country!

On joining Congenius…

I wanted to get into consultancy because I`m young, I want to learn a lot and I`m passionate about MedTech. I was looking for a job that combined Medical Engineering and consultancy. My Google search brought me to Congenius, I liked what I saw, and I quickly connected with Jörg and Bastian. I`m proud to be Congenius`s first consultant because Jörg is a great boss – he`s human. Whenever I have experienced challenges, Jörg and Bastian have been fully supportive, so I`m glad that I followed my instincts to work for a smaller consultancy.

On work-life balance and COVID…

I`m very determined and driven, in work and in my social life. I`m also very competitive on all levels, especially in sports – I don`t like losing! Being outside, combining being active with being social, is how I take a break from work. Though in sports I still like to see progress and improvement. When I cycle or workout, I like to always beat my previous effort, competing with myself to be better than yesterday’s me.

What I learnt from COVID was to not to plan so much, but to take it day by day. A lot of nice things can happen when you`re spontaneous! But when it comes to working during COVID, there have been both positives and negatives. I work productively in the quiet environment that home provides, but after a while, what I`ve missed is the coffee chats. That`s often where creativity is born, where problems are shared, and collaboration takes a new level.

Being a social person, I like to see other people. Even though I`m of the young digital generation I prefer to have face to face meetings because people communicate with more than their voice. At my current role, our team is from a variety of countries, so sometimes, naturally, things can get lost in translation. Seeing the person face to face often helps, so it`s now a challenge for us to try and find new ways to overcome this whilst working from home. 

On diversity and inclusivity…

Working with teams at larger companies, one of the most challenging things can be to understand different cultures – how people from cultures work, what manners mean, what`s polite and impolite, or how open or reserved those people might be. 

Both my parents worked at travel agencies so growing up we travelled a lot. When I travel, I find learning about different kinds of humans the most interesting thing. Living in Canada, Singapore, and Switzerland has given me the chance to be in contact with people from so many different cultures, and I love experiencing and understanding these differences.

I think the MedTech industry is moving in the right direction with diversity. When I look at my current project team, I think we`re quite diverse. Obviously in engineering there aren`t so many women as men, but that doesn`t mean that the company is at fault. Having a certain number of women at a company shouldn`t be a “tick box”. I would never want to get a job just because I`m female. I want to be offered a job based on what I can deliver, regardless of what race I am, what gender I am, or what language I speak.

On women in engineering…

Being a young, female consultant in engineering can present challenges. When I meet someone and I tell them I studied Mechanical Engineering there are normally two reactions: 1. “Wow I would have never thought that” or 2. “But it`s really hard, no?”!

The equal standing of women in this industry needs to be tackled before the employment stage. It`s about growing the female talent pool at schools and universities – engineering needs to be much more advertised to girls. The younger female generation needs to be informed that engineering is about much more than cars and trucks (even though automotive should of course be seen as an option for women too). If girls are good at Maths and Physics, they should be taught that engineering is a viable, diverse and rewarding career.

My class was only 7 -8% female. I would love to see that change through having more female representation from the industry at academic events, so that young girls can be inspired by female engineers on an authentic level.

On the MedTech industry…

I never actually intended on becoming an engineer. I wanted to become a lawyer, which is a funny twist given that I now work in an environment of certification! Mechanical Engineering had always come across to me as super hard – something only the very smartest could do. But that`s not necessarily the case – I was able to overcome my struggles by working hard, being disciplined, and working within teams.

I ended up studying Mechanical Engineering because of Medical Engineering. I`ve always been very passionate about sports and really interested in Bio Physics and mechanics. Growing up I was very active in skiing and cycling, and I particularly enjoyed the technical aspects of the sports. I liked learning about how my body was capable of doing these activities. The combination of the human body and technology, and where technology and medicine meet, are what I find really fascinating. I chose the medical device industry because it`s all about creating something that helps people. For instance, I found my first role in device technology, supporting the development of a low dose high accuracy volume syringe for premature babies, really rewarding.

MedTech is also a constantly changing industry. Artificial Intelligence for example, helps us to move forward in a lot of aspects. Whilst I don`t think the human mind could ever be fully replaced, it`s incredible to see what AI is already capable of doing. I really see AI as a big advantage when it comes to exoskeletons for example, helping people regain physical function to make their lives easier.

On the future…

I`m inspired by my friends and family members who have a strong drive, and who are enthusiastic about what they do – whether in their job or their hobbies. I`m motivated by anyone who does something with a lot of passion, so whilst I`m a very small puzzle piece in the whole picture, I want to continue to use my personality to encourage and motivate the people I work with, keeping things moving to complete successful projects and learning along the way.

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