Olaf Beyer | Sr. Marketing Manager, Neuro | EMEA
Q. What is your current role at Penumbra?
Since the beginning of 2019, I am responsible for the neuro access and embolization franchises in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. It is an exciting and challenging role with a variety of product lines and applications which keeps the day to day work anything but routine. It is a very different topic compared to our ischemic stroke business, in which I worked previously. However, the experience and relationships I built during that time helped me a lot now. Working in Marketing can mean so many different things, from launching new products, to understanding the market, organizing conferences, teaching new colleagues, or working with key opinion leaders to name just a few. The most important part for me is to make sure that in any conversation the product is not just a product, but a solution for our customers.
Q. What drew you to Penumbra; and what keeps you here?
I had been working in the medical device field for many years, usually with companies and technologies that had been established for decades. Penumbra promised that special start-up spirit, a sense of working right at the frontier of innovation, an unbureaucratic way of moving forward. This feeling is still there and, although we have grown a lot as a company, my feeling is that we are retaining a start-up mentality that differentiates us.
Q. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
The wide variety of people I am able to work with. Working for Penumbra in so many countries has shown me that the needs and wants of most people are very similar. From Spain to Finland to Turkey or the farthest reaches of Siberia, people have more in common than what usual prejudices make us believe. And the friendliness and openness usually blows you away.
Q. Describe yourself at age 10. What career aspirations did you have at that age?
I grew up in former East Germany under a very different political system and with an outlook on life that was going to be structured and driven not really by my own aspirations. At the same time, children are children and we had nothing much to complain about at that age. If somebody asked me what I would like to do for work, I probably would have answered bus driver or driving a truck. And honestly, to this day I would love to drive a large bus.
Q. What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
- Keep pushing your boundaries — most limitations are just in your head.
- Be nice to people, you meet everyone at least twice in life.
- Know when to say nothing. Selling is more about listening than talking.
Q. What is your personal philosophy?
I went to a FooFighters concert earlier this year. Dave Grohl, the founder, leader, and singer of this band and former member of Nirvana, stopped playing at some point and said, “I think I might be having too much fun here. I went from being a professional to someone who is just having fun. I don’t think I wanna be professional anymore!” This was awesome! I can only agree.