Alumni Portrait: Dr. Saskia Dörr - Wise Questions on Sustainability

2020-11-02 The Doctor of Neurobiology and Digital Expert completed a part-time MBA in Sustainability Management at the Professional School. Saskia Dörr founded a consultancy for sustainability, published her practical guide to Corporate Digital Responsibility and will be a lecturer herself at Leuphana in the coming semester.

"I am looking forward to this exciting task. I myself have benefited a lot from the programme and 90 % of the content is still relevant to my career. The study programme is a great advantage which I can make good use of.” ©BOSSE UND MEINHARD
"I am looking forward to this exciting task. I myself have benefited a lot from the programme and 90 % of the content is still relevant to my career. The study programme is a great advantage which I can make good use of.”

"In which way does my current work actually still touch on my biology studies?" Dr. Saskia Dörr asked herself in the mid-2000s. She had moved very high up the career ladder: Management position, professional flexibility, management training in Oxford and Madrid. After completing her studies and doctorate, she had consciously chosen a path outside academia. She volunteered at a medical publishing house, edited several books and entered the multimedia industry in the mid-1990s. Saskia Dörr became project manager for telemedicine at Deutsche Telekom. "Electronic health cards and electronic prescriptions were already a huge issue back then," she recalls. The Internet was just finding its feet and Saskia Dörr was supposed to connect doctors and patients in a global health project. Having a wide range of interests, she changed positions within the company, was involved in strategic personnel development, internal auditing and sales issues - always with an eye on business. "At that time, I had no idea how important social issues outside the market and products are for the success of companies," remembers Saskia Dörr. During her work for the Board of Management she met Dr. Ignacio Campino, then Board of Management Representative for Climate Protection and Sustainability at Telekom. Her inner voice was triggered to demand an answer to the question of her professional orientation. She approached Ignacio Campino for a conversation on sustainability: He said he didn't know of any professional training courses, but she could pursue sustainability management studies - in Switzerland or in Lüneburg.

Saskia Dörr decided on Leuphana: "Distance learning allowed me to continue working and stay in my home town.” A few phases of attendance facilitate personal exchange and network building. In 2009, Saskia Dörr started her extra-occupational studies with great enthusiasm: "I was not so much interested in a new career step as I was in the content," says the natural scientist. Nevertheless, the MBA has brought about a major career change: in addition to her work at Telekom, which supported her with tuition fees, Saskia Dörr founded a management consultancy for sustainability. WiseWay provides consultancy on sustainability in the digital age. "The topic is now huge," says Saskia Dörr. It helps companies not only to maintain their good reputation in the new data business, but also to retain skilled workers through participative working methods or to keep track of their own footprint on climate and environment. "Four percent of all CO2 emissions can be attributed to digitalisation. This is roughly equivalent to the global air traffic before Corona," explains Saskia Dörr by way of example. 

Last year, she published a practical guide to Corporate Digital Responsibility. She describes how corporate responsibility is changing in the age of Big Data and artificial intelligence and how Corporate Digital Responsibility can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage for companies in a state of digital transformation. The author is particularly pleased with the preface in her book. It was written by her former examiner Prof. Dr. Holger Petersen from Nordakademie. He still teaches Sustainability Management today. Saskia Dörr will also be part of the teaching team, starting next semester: "I am looking forward to this exciting task. I myself have benefited a lot from the programme and 90 % of the content is still relevant to my career. The study programme is a great advantage which I can make good use of.”

And she has found an answer to her inner question: How do biology and business fit together? "It is one conceptual cosmos. Companies are a part of society and the world. We must bring these two concepts together for the sake of a sustainable future."