“Doing what I’ve never done before.”
Then came the birth of udo
“Doing what I haven’t done before – that’s what drives me. In the same way, solution orientation, a structured approach and reliability are part of my way of working,” is how Sylvia Türcke describes her self-image and adds: “Diversity, curiosity and joie de vivre are also important to me”. And then she confesses that she sometimes dances sitting down for joy. Whereby? We’ll come back to that.
Since 2010, Sylvia has worked at Schober Information Group Germany, most recently as Chief Operating Officer and member of the operational management team. Through management buyout, it has been one of the three new owners since July 2021. However, she has long played a decisive role in shaping the strategic direction of the company and has not only been intensively involved in the birth of the universal data orchestration platform – udo for short. How did it come about?
Diversely interested and broadly positioned
Sylvia grew up near Hanover, where she went to school and her parents gave her “a lot of opportunities. That’s why I still have a wide range of interests and am always enthusiastic about new things,” she says in answer to the question about formative moments. An example? She has been playing the piano since she was in high school, and three years ago she started drum lessons. The Schober co-owner emphasizes that she took care early on to develop skills and knowledge as broadly as possible in order to be able to cope well with any situation and a wide variety of personalities.
Tour d’Allemagne: Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart
After studying business administration in Hanover, she started her professional life in Munich at a management consultancy. Here she learns the basics: analyzing markets and competition, creating go-to-market concepts and looking strategically into the future. In the end, however, the development prospects are not enough for Sylvia. She wants to continue to develop; to do what she has not done before.
So she looks for a new challenge and finds it in Nuremberg at a sales service provider. Business development, marketing and public relations are tasks she’ll be growing at for the next three years. And then comes a turning point that brings her Tour d’Allemagne to Stuttgart: She moves to Stuttgart for her current husband and initially commutes to Nuremberg. However, it quickly becomes clear that she will only really feel at home in Stuttgart if she also works here. And so, after application, tough interviews and case study presentations (“as a former management consultant, you’re practiced”), Sylvia comes to Schober in 2010.
Everything flows: “From small cog to co-owner”.
“If someone had told me back then that I would stay that long, end up in management and then even take over the company, from small cog to co-owner – I probably would have thought they were crazy,” she laughs, recalling her start at Schober in online marketing. As a later assistant to the management, Sylvia takes care of IT, the transformation of the foreign business as well as strategy development for the entire Schober Group. She proves herself in a male-dominated and hierarchical company and eventually takes over the area of customer and project management. “Inventing new things, blazing trails – I enjoy that,” she says. And there is an opportunity to do so, because a good five years ago Sylvia took over the operational management of the Schober Information Group together with the two current co-owners Martin Brahm and Peter Ambrus.
The new era begins: birth of udo
“Martin, Peter and I realized quite quickly that we would have to expand and reposition the portfolio if we wanted to survive in this rapidly changing market environment in the long term.” 70 years of experience in marketing, sales, data management and analytics guarantee a solid foundation, but digitization with countless media and IT innovations is also ushering in a new era at Schober. Market and potential analyses lead to a repositioning. The management team is making consistent use of digitization and is aligning the company with innovations to meet new market requirements. Today, the focus is on customer offerings for digitizing sales and marketing processes. The orientation as a Data & MarTech provider finds its most visible expression in udo, the platform for customer data, sales and marketing automation.
Sylvia recalls: “We developed our universal data orchestration platform – udo for short – on the flipchart. We then rolled it out to the individual departments – IT, analysis, customer and project management, etc. – and asked: Can we make it work like this? When employees later approached us and said they had ‘tried something there’, that was the birth of our udo.”
udo is now established in the market. “We have combined the best of all worlds in one SaaS application: the simple linking of information silos into a single data pool, sophisticated marketing and sales analyses, AI based on the best training data – namely the Schober data universe – and direct control of campaigns across all channels,” Sylvia summarizes and emphasizes: “Above all, udo is data protection-compliant and also ready to use directly with the purchase. Larger American competitors sometimes need years to get into the swing of things. Customers don’t have that time, and with us, they don’t need it.”
Courage, tenacity and dance for joy
Courage is just as necessary in a leadership role as a structured approach and tenacity. What Sylvia starts, she brings to success with vigor. Various poaching attempts for new challenges were not an option. With “I’m not done here” she canceled and continued to take care of udo. With her structured and solution-oriented approach, she sometimes drives those around her crazy, she speculates. It’s probably not quite that bad.
In the same way, laughter, exuberance and pleasure belong to Sylvia. “Good food and good company – that’s pure joie de vivre for me. Then I dance for joy while sitting at the table, which sometimes irritates those around me a bit,” she confesses with a smile.
Travel, travel, travel
There are many other joys. Besides music, scuba diving is a great passion, even though she quickly gets seasick on a ship. But she also appreciates a walk in the woods after the rain. It’s not just the big things that make up happiness. As an “absolute stand-up guy”, failures and strokes of fate are also part of his life. Often you feel yourself particularly intensely in the contrast. “On our honeymoon, we were in Tanzania on Mount Kilimanjaro. When you get to stand under a shower again after several days of exertion – that’s true luxury,” she recalls. In general, travel is important. Besides Tanzania, a kayak tour in Antarctica with whale watching is particularly memorable for her. But the best vacation is always the next one. She plans to continue to “travel, travel, travel – work permitting.”