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Johanna Junholm encourages us to be true to ourselves

Everything has its time – Johanna Junholm is convinced of that. Born in Sweden, she joined Beiersdorf as a trainee 18 years ago and pursued a career in HR. Now she is moving on and daring to take the plunge into self-employment with a special management development program. In doing so, she will remain with Beiersdorf with the development concept “Project L.”. A story about people, the power of nature, authenticity and the courage to change.

Johanna Junholm
Before founding her own company, Johanna Junholm was “Manager Young Talent Acquisition” at Beiersdorf.

“There is much more in each of us”

“Life is like a river. When the right time comes, I use the current and swim with it,” says Johanna. She left her Swedish waters immediately after graduating from high school, travelled through three continents with 170 other young people from 35 countries as a participant in a musical-social education programme and found a temporary home in 80 different host families. “I was curious and wanted to know what else was out there.”

Johanna is still moved by this more – less out there in the world than in us: “There is much more in each of us than we think. To support people, to awaken their own potential, to find the right path for themselves and to be authentic, that drives me.”

Following the inner voice

Johanna recognised her gift for helping people early on. As did her aim to use this in professional contexts. She studied “Human Resources”, joined Beiersdorf as a trainee after her successful graduation, and gained a wealth of practical experience in personnel development, leadership, and coaching during her 18 years with the company. “A great time, during which I was able to learn a lot,” says Johanna with gratitude. An inner voice nevertheless grew louder: “The need to create something unique in leadership development grew in me. An approach that focuses on the person as a whole.”

Johanna Junholm
Her Swedish roots regularly take Johanna Junholm out into nature.

Climb the summit

Meanwhile the wish has become reality. Together with a partner, she founded the company “Peak Perspective” and helps managers and junior staff to grow personally and professionally. Her clients can climb peaks in the figurative sense during individual coaching, training or workshops, but also in a very real sense: “We take nature to help us and offer four-day expeditions on Mallorca and in the Alps. On the hikes, people are simply gone. Everyone describes it as a relief,” reports Johanna. Under the name “Project L.”, she also offers the development concept to Beiersdorf managers. The first hikes took place before the corona phase began. With around eight kilos of luggage in their rucksacks, they will hopefully soon be going up into the mountains again in small groups of no more than eight people. The hike will be from hut to hut, with the smartphone in sleep mode.

Everyone at his own pace

Together with her coaching colleague, she not only leads the expedition, but each individual participant to himself. During the course of the hike, various questions come into focus according to a certain sequence of events, but always at an individual pace: Who are you with all your confusions and errors? What else is inside you and what do you really want at the bottom of your heart? Why is this ideal only a dream and what prevents you from realizing it?

Doesn’t it take courage to answer such questions and to turn your inner self inside out? “Usually it takes half a day, then all fears are gone. The good thing about the hikes is that we as coaches can simply stay behind for a private conversation with the respective people. The exercise in nature does the rest. I see myself as a kind of midwife who helps to bring the personality to its fullest development,” says Johanna. To be faithful to her own values, preferences and needs, the mother of two had to learn by herself. Since a personal crisis, she knows how important it is to say no in the right place, to listen to herself and to grow through it. “Find the calm again” was the advice of a doctor at that time. She has followed it and passes it on today.

Johanna Junholm
The forest is a place of power for Johanna Junholm.

Authenticity as the key to leadership

A world in which authenticity is normal - that is the dream of Johanna. She supports the expedition participants in this after the hikes. In two follow-up sessions, insights are consolidated and integrated into everyday life. With success: “There are participants who shake off old patterns, change and dare to be authentic”, Johanna is pleased about the feedback. For her, authenticity is the key to successful leadership: “Getting something out of employees only works if you know and accept yourself. This makes honest leadership possible, which creates trust and also releases potential in others”.

She appreciates the fact that she is allowed to support Beiersdorf managers in this. In this way the company remains an anchorage, even though the current of her life keeps her afloat.

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Diana Lühmann

About the editor: Diana Lühmann

Since autumn 2019, Diana has been responsible for corporate communication related to HR and inspiring people at Beiersdorf. These include the areas of Diversity, Learning & Development, Career, Leadership, and Health. Previously, she was in charge of R&D Communications and explored the exciting world of our research and development.