Today we are talking with LEO in Berlin member Austėja Subačiūtė. She has a track record in successfully managing cross-team initiatives in agile environments by inspiring people, building bridges, creating alignment, resolving problems and developing organisations. 

Austėja is the head of LEO in Berlin project that brought LT Big Brother to Germany. Since the Spring 2020 the LT Big Brother supported by LEO in Berlin opened another local point for the German region, which is led by Austėja Subačiūtė. LT Big Brother is the first and only voluntary professional mentoring programme for young Lithuanian professionals globally. The aim of the project is to facilitate the transfer of professional knowledge and experience from established Lithuanian professionals (Big Brothers/Sisters) and ambitious Lithuanian students or professionals (Small Brothers/Sisters) at the start of their careers. 

Today we will talk with  Austėja Subačiūtė about her own career and the LT Big Brother project.

  1. Could you tell us more about yourself? What brought you to Berlin? What business area do you specialise in? 

I moved abroad in 2012 right after receiving my bachelor’s degree in Economics to join an American strategic marketing consulting firm. I stayed with the company for over 7 years working in global markets from Norway, to Vietnam and Turkey just to name a few. During those years I gained amazing experience in industries ranging from pharma, to retail and fast moving consumer good. At the same time I was always interested in the startup scene and worked closely with startup accelerators providing pro-bono consulting mostly in medtech industry. Long story short, it didn’t take me much consideration when I received an offer to join a  B2B SaaS startup in Berlin and moved here in spring of 2019. While I do wear many hats in my daily work my main goal is to ensure customer centricity across the organization and to build high performance customer support organization.

  1. What led you to joining LEO in the Berlin group?

One of the first things I did after moving to Berlin was looking for a Lithuanian organizations here. I could relate to Leo in Berlin value right away and after the first meeting it was great to discover a community with shared background, values and mindset. 

  1. How did you come up with a format for the LT Big Brother German chapter? What are the values this project and especially LT Big Brother German chapter stand for?How many people are in this network? Do you have any events?

While I was familiar with the idea of LT Big Brother, the person who brought it to Germany was the president of Leo in Berlin Ruta Naujokaite. Thus last year together with Ruta and a couple of more members from the club we decided to start the project in Berlin. Our main objectives were to create a community of passionate and driven professionals who want to learn from each other and to grow together. To deliver on our goals we are organizing workshops focused on developing particular skills and led by LT Big Brother mentors as well as informal get-togethers to encourage networking beyond direct mentor-mentee relationships. Since we only started the German chapter this year we are quite small in comparison to the global LT Big Brother network, however it also allows us to have a more tightly-knit community. 

  1. Is there an age limit for being a mentee or a mentor?

Our target group is young professionals who already have some work experience and are looking to excel in their careers. Thus to ensure the highest value we also expect our mentors to have at least 10 years of professional experience. However, these are only guiding principles and we consider each case individually based on actual experience gathered, things achieved and the motivation shown.

  1. What are the benefits of mentorship for both the mentor and the mentee? 

I believe that the benefits of mentorship are very individual depending on the individual situation and goals. I personally believe that mentoring is a way to expand your frame of reference as a young professional and to learn from the people who already made that journey. The biggest benefit for me is a possibility to clearly see what it means to be where you want to professionally. As a mentor I believe mentoring helps to expand your horizons and see things from a new and different perspective.

  1. Looking back at the spring season 2019, what challenges did you face while setting up the project?

The first challenge was to organize such a project for the first time and build the brand awareness in Germany. However, with the amazing team we brought together our professional expertise from different fields and roles and were able to achieve and even accede our objectives in terms of number of mentors and mentees joining the project in Germany. Secondly, like everyone else we had to adjust to the new Covid-19 reality. We had to move all our events online and try new creative ways to interact and to get to know each other. However, such format enabled us to easily connect participants from all across Germany and even other countries, which may not be possible otherwise. 

7. What were the most interesting discoveries? (maybe some format worked better, people started opening up, reading different books?)

I personally most appreciate a possibility to work with driven and determined people who are dedicating their time for the cause they believe in and are so open to sharing their time, knowledge and experience. Here my kudos go to the LT Big Brother Berlin team who created a very solid project just in a couple of months and all the mentors who believed in our vision and decided to become a part of the community. 

  1. What is the plan for the new season? Is the format changing?

We do not plan any dramatic changes for the next season, however we constantly reflect within our team and gather feedback from mentors and mentees looking for the continuous improvement and opportunities to deliver even more value to all the participants. 

  1. What other projects are you working on? What are your goals for the autumn/winter 2020? (Please include some CTA)

Besides the LT Big Brother project I’m an active member of different clubs under LEO in Berlin and I look forward to continuing that journey after the summer break. In addition to that, I plan to focus on self-development and gain new skills in autumn and winter. Even though it has been many years since I finished school, September remains a time for new beginnings to learn and improve.