Interview
02/01/2024

Helping Hands @Burda: Philine Lietzmann

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Many Burda employees are involved in voluntary or social work, taking on responsibility and helping other people in their spare time. We would like to present this heartfelt commitment here to inspire other employees.

Today: Philine Leitzmann, Contentstrategist Finance & Video at BurdaForward. Philine reveals how she came to her role.

How did you get involved in volunteering?

Oddly enough, through an interview I did with Judith Williams for Focus Online. She said that if everyone spent 10 percent of their time helping others, the world would be a much better place. That stuck with me, and when I moved to Tegernsee, I thought I could combine volunteering with my passion for the mountains and also meet some new people. That worked out pretty well.

Your motto is "Helping is a matter of honour. Rescuing is teamwork". Which people and professions can you find in the Bergwacht Rottach Egern team?

All kinds of professions, from bus driver to insurance broker to electrician to engineer. In terms of age, it is also a broad mix, from students to grandfathers. Of course, there are those whose family has been involved in mountain rescue for decades, but there are also medical professionals who want to apply their skills volunteering, or mountaineers who bring their mountain experience and who are new to the medical side. In addition, about a third of the rescue team is made up of women, which is quite a lot. This mix always leads to exciting conversations about pretty much anything - the world and the universe. This flows strongly into my work as a journalist - not as a source, but keeping this group of people in mind as I write my articles.

What connects you privately with the mountains?

Originally from the Rhineland, however, I have lived in Bavaria for the past twelve years. I used to go hiking or skiing with my parents on vacation, but my passion really developed parallel to my job, so the mountains were always a good way to clear my head. Today, in addition to the peace and freedom, I seek the amazing feeling of constantly surpassing myself, growing stronger with each season and climbing more difficult mountains.

Can you tell us about your best hiking trails?

In our area, my favourite is Neureuth. There are many trails for most skill levels and I can cycle there from home. I usually go on Thursday evenings, when the Alm is open until 10pm. You can air out after a hard day's work, see a beautiful sunset, enjoy the view and have a delicious dinner. I especially recommend the Kaiserschmarrn - I claim it's the best in the Alpine foothills. If anyone has a different opinion, I'd love to hear from you via email.

How should mountaineers ideally behave and what are typical mistakes when people get into mountain distress?

As mountain rescuers, we don't judge any of our patients, everyone has their own reasons for calling the rescue service. But as a mountaineer, I can only advise everyone to take tour planning seriously: What will the weather be like, what are the conditions on the trail, are my tour partners up to it, and how long will it take me? Do not be misled by the tour descriptions on the internet, walking times are often subjective, conditions can change daily and the weather in summer with the risk of thunderstorms is a thing of its own. If you find that you are too slow or not up to the task, or that a thunderstorm is approaching, you need to have a plan B, which you should have made before you set off. I would also advise everyone to carry one or two aluminum rescue blankets. You wouldn't believe how cold you can get waiting for rescue, even if you're not injured.

You have around 230 missions a year. What was your most moving experience?

I haven't been around long enough to have the most moving experiences. I learn a lot on every mission and am happy every time I can help someone in need. The respect and gratitude that is shown to you is truly the greatest motivator.

How can people support you?

Well, for one thing, you can get involved in mountain rescue yourself if you live near the mountains and are good at climbing and skiing. Almost anyone can join and there is no official age limit. I started training at the age of 32. Of course you can also donate, for example at https://www.bergwacht-bayern.de/rottach-egern.html. Although the patients have to pay for our missions, we finance a lot of material, equipment and training through donations. What I would also like to support is to spread the word that mountain rescue is 100% voluntary. Many people do not realize that. When I arrive at a rescue site during the week in uniform, it means that I didn't sit at my computer in my home office 30 minutes before and drop everything to go to the rescue site. I don't get paid for that time, but I make it up as soon as I get home. After all, my "real" work has to get done, too.

What support would you like from your employer?

I currently get all the support I could wish for from my employer. Most importantly, they understand that I'm going to be away for a while and that I'll have to leave on a regular basis. I try to prioritize time-critical tasks at work as I have other comrades counting on me. Nevertheless, it happens regularly that I have to go into action unexpectedly. Knowing that my employer is on my side gives me a lot of security.

Are you also socially or voluntarily active or do you know colleagues we could introduce here? Then please get in touch!

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More images & downloads

The perfect equipment is everything © HBM

You can't be afraid of heights as a mountain rescuer © HBM

Here Philine is practising how to get into the gondola © HBM

Resuscitation is practised on a dummy © HBM

Don't worry, it's just fake blood © HBM

Abseiling is practised in the hall © HBM

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