Social Engagement
06/12/2023

Helping Hands @Burda: Christine Pettinger

Many Burda employees are involved in voluntary or social work, take on responsibility and help other people in their free time. We want to present this heartfelt commitment here to inspire other employees.

Today: Christine Pettinger, head of the Bunte picture editorial department at BurdaVerlag. Christine reveals how she came to her role as head of the Munich Burda Bande and why social commitment is a matter of the heart for her.

How did you get the idea for your voluntary commitment?

I became a mother in the autumn of 2019. The twelve months that followed were wonderful, sometimes challenging, there were moments of despair, but also moments of happiness, contentment - and worries that I had never experienced before. Worries about how I was going to juggle being a parent and working and, most of all, worries about where my child would be best placed when I returned to work. That's when a colleague introduced me to Burda Bande e.V., the company-based parent-child initiative at Burda. And I was lucky enough to get a childcare place for our child. It took a few weeks for me to realise what that mean. Parents work in the facility and everyone takes on a so-called parent job in order to save costs for everyone and also to help shape things. These range from washing the curtains to summer parties to chairing the board of the association. This very position soon became vacant. And because there were no other candidates, but also because it is in my nature to take responsibility and to help shape things, I applied.

What specifically do you want to achieve and are you satisfied with the result?

It was not clear to me what being on the EKI board actually meant, but you grow with your tasks. We, the parents of EKI, are responsible for 14 employees, for the care of our colleagues´children, aged 4 months to 6 years, for the implementation of protective measures during Corona time, and now, last but not least, for the changes that this period brings. Home office and the general crisis in the publishing business have inevitably led to major restructuring at the Arabellapark location, which also has an impact on our operations at the day care centre. The next step in making the Burda Bande economically independent after 25 years will probably be to enter into a financing model with the city or the state. None of these decisions are easy and, above all, they are completely foreign worlds to me.

What is the most beautiful thing about helping other people?

I have already done voluntary work in neighbourhood assistance in the past - there I had to deal with elderly people with whom I still keep in touch today. They share my life and I share theirs. There is a mutual appreciation, you feel that it is important for older people living alone to continue to have contact with younger people. And it's easy for me to carry milk and eggs up the stairs, which is difficult for them. In return, I got coffee and biscuits and lots of stories.

Now it's completely different at the Burda Bande. My volunteer work helps to maintain the facility and provide a place for many children to attend day care. Indirectly, we help the parents to continue working, especially the mothers, so that they can do something that suits them, which is not childcare of all things. And we create jobs for our employees, which in turn provides a livelihood for fourteen families.

What experience has made you the happiest?

In both honorary postitions I have particularly appreciated the personal connection. The Burda Bande is a continuation of what our publisher founded and developed into HBM: a family business that focuses on the individual. I am happy that my daughter likes to go to the Burda Bande every morning. She looks forward to the teachers and has made friends. She is challenged and encouraged and is proud of what she has learned - it´s just great to see.

How do you reconcile your voluntary work and your job at Burda?

When I told my supervisor that I had taken on this voluntary position, he was surprised - on top of a full-time job and a child. But he quickly came to the same conclusion as many of us here. We are not only doing something for ourselves, but also for our colleagues. Many people, including our employer, benefit from the existence of the Burda Bande. We hold our appointments, meetings, board meetings, general meetings, etc. before or after work, even sometimes even during the lunch break. And the networking with other parents who work in different areas of the publishing house is also great and broadens the field of vision.

What is the best way to support your mission?

If you have a child and are looking for childcare, please contact us - we (almost always) have places available and welcome every Burda child who comes to us. During the holidays we also offer childcare for children who are not normally with us.

Are you planning any other projects in the future?

The transition to a different funding model is taking up all our resources at the moment. Personally, my time with the Burda Bande will eventually come to an end for me and my daughter, and I will hand over my position to other hands, but I can well imagine taking on a voluntary role elsewhere.

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Emma and her best friend © HBM

Emma is now in the bear group, a mixed-age group from one to six years old © HBM

In 2022, the Burda gang celebrated its 25th anniversary with the founding members, co-initiator and former editor-in-chief of Focus, Helmut Markwort, Burda HR director Katharina Herrmann, the pedagogical team and, of course, the children © HBM

Christine Pettinger, the pedagogical management of the Burda Bande group Sonja Althoff, Katharina Herrmann und Florentina Malaj, personnel director © HBM

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