A growth mindset and mentorship cultivate success for Cosima von Kries
To Cosima, pre-sales is all about understanding the needs of potential customers and in turn, getting them “excited about everything Nintex products can do for their business.”
It’s a bit like what she does outside of work, as a saxophone player in the band BrassedArts. “In pre-sales, we do demos, giving potential customers a first look at what Nintex can do for them, letting them feel the power of our products… it’s the same as being on stage. When I’m performing with my band, it’s about finding that one thing – that pain point – that resonates with the audience, and delivering the performance in a way that solves for more than they might have expected.”
“This environment is so flexible. I am not put in a box and neither is anyone else I work with. I feel free to try new things, do anything, fail, try again… I have the freedom to be creative on my journey.”
This integration of music and tech doesn’t end with a performance-selling parallel. BrassedArts write their own songs and never play covers. Cosima draws the originality, energy, constant improvement, collaboration and vulnerability it takes to record a new EP and take music to festivals throughout Germany, and brings it with her to work at Nintex. With this, she’s forged her very own path to leadership, with the help of a few “bandmates.”
An inspired path to leadership
This saxophone-playing, determined, energetic business leader credits her interest in a global career and leadership to her parents.
“When I was a little girl, my father would often host traveling business colleagues at our home and it was in spending time with people from all over the world that my global curiosity sparked.”
Cosima adopted a love of learning languages shortly thereafter. With Latin, English, French, and Spanish underpinning her native German in her youth, this savvy linguist moved on to other international experiences. First completing school exchanges in Spain and Finland, Cosima moved to London in her early adulthood, prior to returning to Germany.
While her father brought the globe to their Bavarian home, much of Cosima’s desire to become a leader came from her mother who, as a stay-at-home mum of two, wanted more. Knowing flexibility would be key, she opted to work for herself and built a successful tech consultancy.
Cosima says, “My mum taught me the value of taking initiative and going after what you want. She was unafraid of leadership, and the challenges she took on made me think anything is possible.”
“You don’t have to be in your forties or fifties to be an effective leader, so be unafraid to go down that path early.”
Cosima wants to inspire those around her to believe anything is possible too, especially young women moving into tech careers or leaning into leadership. She wants people to know that “you don’t have to be in your forties or fifties to be an effective leader, to go down that path early.” Cosima’s been fortunate to believe this, and live this herself, but nobody leads without someone in their corner.
Nobody leads alone
When asked what she enjoys about her job, Cosima doesn’t pause. The response is an exuberant, “there is SO much I enjoy!” Cosima says, “I love helping people develop. I am not put in a box. I feel free to try new things, do anything, fail, try again… I have the freedom to be creative on my journey.”
But, Cosima once left Nintex.
Seeking a faster pace for her career, Cosima discovered an opportunity-laden leadership track at Microsoft.
After becoming aware of the reason Cosima left, Vadim, Nintex’s VP of global presales, took action. A determined mentor to many of his Nintex colleagues, Vadim flagged Cosima right away when a shift in organizational structure opened up a regional pre-sales director role. “Vadim has always had my back, but when he first shared this opportunity with me, I said, ‘No!’”
Cosima wanted to become a manager. This was a director role. She didn’t think her career tenure was worthy of managing a regional team at this level.
“When I said, ‘no,’ he replied, ‘that’s classical you! I believe in you, so do our senior leaders, and we all agree you’re the right person. Give it a try!’ I knew after speaking with him that I had all the right support, so I decided to give it a go – leading pre-sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa at twenty-seven.”
“This is a place for you to level-up your creativity, be proactive, and no day is the same. People give to you, and you give back.”
Cosima is determined to keep growing in this role, aiming for a global scope of leadership within about five years. And she acknowledges where she needs to grow.
“Continuously, I have to catch-up, I think we all do.” To this end, Cosima began an MBA six months ago, recognizing that as a highly technical person, she would need a better foundation around the macro factors that drive organizational change, so she could adequately motivate her team. “When I lack a skillset needed to be a better leader, I’m going to go get it.”
Meanwhile, Cosima is working to increase her knowledge across different markets and continues to look to Vadim and others for insights, support and encouragement.
“People always take time to help you here. If it’s good for the business, they do it.” Of course, people have job descriptions and specific parts to play, but Cosima warns, “If you like to work in a more rigid, less flexible environment, and feel good saying to a teammate in need, ‘not my job,’ Nintex is not a good place to be.”
She adds, “This is a place for you to level-up your creativity, be proactive – and no day is the same. People give to you, and you give back. Roles are not so prescriptive.”
Cosima’s career formula is much like the development of her band’s recent EP. Fueled with creativity and flexibility. Guided by the pains and needs of her team, audience, or customer. Infused with a love of performance. Impossible without some incredibly supportive bandmates.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from, your background… It’s about believing in yourself and pushing hard to fill any skill, learning, or experience gaps as you continue along your journey. Add to that a support structure like I have here at Nintex and you’ll have it made.”