Leibniz Mentoring testimonials
The anniversary guestbook

"I am full of gratitude for the mentoring programme, it has helped me in many areas, not only professionally but also personally, and I have made new friends. The connection to other female researchers from all disciplines is so valuable. Without the mentoring programme, I would never be where I am now professionally – in fact, I probably wouldn't have applied for a professorship in the first place because I was sure I did not have the right profile. Many aspects of the programme opened my eyes and made me realise in how many areas you can continue to develop as a researcher – beyond specialist expertise – and how much fun that is."

Prof. Dr Sophia Hoffmann, University of Erfurt, mentee 2019/20

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to accompany my mentee this past year and to share in her enthusiasm for science and research and see how her view of different career prospects changed and how she achieved them. I would therefore like to thank the organisers and my mentee for this exciting experience."

Prof. Dr Ute Hellmich, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena Center for Soft Matter, mentor 2021/2022

"I benefited immensely as a mentee from the Leibniz Mentoring programme ten years ago and, since then as an alumna, I continue to benefit from the opportunities to share experiences and take part in workshops. I learned how to acquire tacit knowledge and to better understand unwritten rules of the game. Now I want to contribute to modernising the leadership culture in academia and help improve gender equality and esteem."

Dr Anja Eggert, Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology, mentee 2013/14

"The Leibniz Mentoring programme has once again shown me very clearly how important and helpful a well-rounded mentoring programme is for the academic careers of young researchers. On the one hand, the extensive and very relevant range of workshops and other events for mentees provides them with essential tools to plan their own academic career, the management of (future) working groups and the many associated tasks and responsibilities. At the same time, the direct, ongoing contact between mentee and mentor makes it possible to discuss aspects of specific interest to the mentee. For me, the personal contact with my mentee and her impressive development over the relatively short programme was a lasting and enjoyable experience. I can only hope that this programme will continue to support many more promising mentees in the future."

Prof. Dr Andreas Herrmann, Freie Universität Berlin, mentor 2022/23

"The mentoring programme has given me a tremendous amount. Sharing experiences and networking, especially with the other mentees, was extremely valuable for me. The programme also contributed significantly to my personal development and strengthened my ability to overcome challenges. What has impressed me the most, however, is the extraordinary support and encouragement that we as female scientists have received from all sides. I am overwhelmed by the great support that the Leibniz Association offers and I deeply appreciate what it is doing here."

Dr Antje Jantsch, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), mentee 2022/23

"The Leibniz Mentoring programme is an excellent way to network within the Leibniz Association and the German research landscape. Getting to know brilliant women in this context was and is very enriching for me personally. The joint workshops have allowed me to reflect deeply on my own situation and pursue my career in a targeted manner."

Dr Sibylle Wolf, Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, mentee 2022/2023

"I really enjoyed the mentoring programme and especially the great workshops with top trainers on effective leadership and communication. And working with the mentees was also very enriching and left a lasting impression on me. I can see that with the help of this mentoring programme, highly qualified, self-assured leaders are being fostered who will change academia.”

Prof. Dr Petra Bauer, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, mentor 2022/2023

"I think I can now say that without the Leibniz Mentoring programme, I wouldn't be where I am today on my scientific career ladder. I joined the programme as a postdoc, with no goals, only thinking about my daily lab work, and with no sense of how the academic world worked at the university. At the time, I thought it wouldn't hurt to learn a few soft skills and I was soon enrolled on the programme in Berlin. There I quickly realised what things really matter, where the weak points are in the system, what pitfalls I need to avoid and how important it is to network well. We were a great group and supported each other a lot. The time we spent together in Berlin gave rise to 'interdisciplinary friendships' and added tremendous value, as you suddenly learn to assess your own situation from a bird's eye view, to compare your own path with others and to clearly plan your own goals and structure your next steps. My mentor was and is a renowned top virologist in Germany, and at the beginning of the programme I almost didn't dare to approach her. I only got in touch with her through the Leibniz programme. Our regular meetings, which soon took place in a friendly atmosphere, and her unfailingly honest assessment of the situation in question often gave me the confidence to take new paths and to identify and find the right ones. We continue to meet up to this day. Looking back, I am very grateful to the programme, because I now have a permanent W3 professorship and am the mother of two children – a path that is absolutely feasible with the right mindset and the right support!”

Prof. Dr Sabrina Schreiner-Gruber, University of Freiburg Medical Centre, mentee 2013/14

"In our mentoring partnership, we had honest discussions, not only about duties and responsibilities, but also about boundaries. Discussing which issues are within our role as mentors and which are outside it was particularly valuable. The realisation that we can clarify this in a protected environment proved beneficial – not only for our mentoring relationship, but also for the general exchange between mentors."

Prof. Dr Elke Greifeneder, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Library and Information Science, mentor 2019/2022

“Being part of the Leibniz Mentoring Program was one of the most stimulating and growing experience of my career. I extended my knowledge on professional communication, time management, career planning and how to better deal with all the uncertainty of our professional life. The workshops, the peer-coaching sessions and the discussions with my mentor helped me a lot in gaining self-confidence and awareness. I learned how self-reflection could be important for a leader and to do not be afraid to ask for help. It was amazing to have the support of my mentor and the other mentees, we celebrated together our achievements and we helped each other during bad times. I warmly recommend to all the woman scientists out there to take this journey, this can definitely change your perspectives and be an empowering experience.”

Dr. Irene Mattiola, German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin (DRFZ), Mentee 2021/2022

"I think Leibniz Mentoring is an outstanding instrument for promoting excellent female scientists and I also took away a lot for myself from the discussions."

Prof. Dr Claudia Kraft, University of Vienna, Department of Contemporary History, mentor 2021/2022

"The mentoring programme came at the ideal time for me: as a fresh post-doctoral student, I was taking on more and more (leadership) tasks. The workshops, the discussions with the other mentees and the tandem relationships with my mentor gave me a lot of support and kept motivating me to take on new challenges."

Dr Dörte Heger, RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, mentee 2015/16

"I find it especially rewarding to support young people in a phase that is particularly relevant to their identity. A phase in which many say for the first time: 'Now I really do have sole responsibility. I'll find my topic and I'll find my way'. That's a fantastic role!"

Prof. Dr Bettina Hannover, Freie Universität Berlin, mentor 2014/15

"I very much welcome the alumnae network that has emerged from the programme, because it offers us the opportunity to continue to work together on various topics (including women in academia)."

Dr.-Ing. habil. Regine Ortlepp, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), mentee 2015/16

"If I want a society in which women and men are on an equal footing, then part of that is supporting others on their path to a self-designed, self-assured life. I hope to be able to make at least a small contribution to getting more women into leadership positions. There are truly outstanding women, especially in academia. But many women have different life circumstances than men."

PD Dr Elke Holst, German Institute for Economic Research, mentor 2015/16

"Completing the mentoring programme alongside your normal working day is hard, but that's exactly why it's good. For example, when else do you have the chance to disappear for two days and visualise your network? Or to focus on your own leadership skills? For me, the mentoring programme came at exactly the right time to structure my path to a professorship and approach it more strategically."

Prof. Dr Nele Kampa, University of Vienna, mentee 2014/15

"In the mentoring programme, you can get advice or tips on how to deal with workloads, how to plan the next step in your career and how to keep an eye on everything and not get bogged down."

Prof. Dr Angelika Brückner, Leibniz Institute for Catalysis e.V. (LIKAT), mentor 2015/16

"The programme gave me both a tailwind and an uplift at crucial times thanks to the encouraging goodwill of my mentor and the female academics in my cohort. The wonderful thing about the last ten years? As an alumna, I continue to meet amazingly inspiring people through the programme, with whom I quickly bond and with whom I am happy to share my experiences, for example concerning professorship negotiations."

Prof. Dr Annika Goeze Chair of Educational Science with a focus on vocational education and in-company training, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, mentee 2013/2014

"I am immensely thankful for the profound encouragement I've received through the program, from my mentor, and within my fantastic peer group. The ongoing support continues to be with me in both my professional and personal life."

Dr. Marie-Ann Sengewald, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), Mentee 2021/22

"My empowerMENT"

Dr Ulrike Helmstedt, Head of the Barrier and Precision Coatings Department, Leibniz Institute of Surface Engineering (IOM), mentee 2013/2014

"Leibniz Mentoring was good for making me feel part of the Leibniz Association. I didn't care before, but now I'm proud of it."

Dr Anne Schüler, Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), mentee 2015/2016

"The Leibniz Mentoring programme facilitates a respectful, open exchange between peers, supported by internationally experienced scientists. This is a win-win situation. The mentees receive personalised feedback, while the mentors experience at first hand what the current situation in German academia is like – fantastic input for coaching their own groups."

Prof. Dr Nina Buchmann, ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Systems Science, mentor 2011/2012 and 2021/2022

"During my four years as an equality officer, I had already repeatedly realised the importance of mutual support and encouragement for female colleagues and I learned to appreciate the networking opportunities offered by the Leibniz Association. Without my realising it at the time, the mentoring programme also helped me to prepare fully for my new leadership role at an internationally renowned institution. And I will be applying many of the things we learned in the mentoring workshops in my new position, especially concerning respectful interaction with employees and time management in management positions."

Dr Anna Ullrich, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, mentee 2022/2023

“I moved to Germany in 2019 for my first independent position, and my attendance at the Mentoring Programme sealed the real transition. I wrote my first DFG project, learned the challenges connected to student supervision and project management, and, most importantly, learned to understand and always weigh my priorities in life. As an international scientist, it was important for me to have a dedicated place (and time) to get to know the academic German system. Invaluable. […] And then, it was during this period that I got to know about the Leibniz Professorship, which I successfully gained. This opened the next chapter. There is no other way to express my gratitude than to pass on the support I received to the next generation and contribute to the environment of excellence at the Leibniz Association!”

Prof. Dr. Antonella Di Pizio, Group leader, Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB), Mentee 2019/2020

"Completing the Leibniz Mentoring programme at the right time in my career delivered invaluable benefits on many levels."
"The network of female scientists provides a valuable pool of knowledge and experience that lasts beyond your active time as a participant in the programme."
 "Ten years of Leibniz Mentoring = ten years of promoting successful female careers in and around academia"

Dr Diana Modarressi-Tehrani, Head of Science Management, German Mining Museum Bochum – Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum – Leibniz Research Museum for Geo-resources (DBM), mentee 2013/2014