Today we are talking with LEO in Berlin co-founder and now president Ruta Naujokaite. She is a Marketing Manager with 7 year’s experience across NGO and digital health sectors. Specialising in digital marketing and passionate about gender equality and bringing Lithuania to the global digital map. Currently, she holds three leadership roles as the marketing manager at Chino.io, one of the strongest EU companies specialising in digital health security. As a host for the “Lithuanian Dream Podcast”, the most popular podcast about Lithuania in English. As the President of the biggest Lithuanian Professionals Organisation in Germany, LEO in Berlin.

Back in 2018, Ruta together with Vytaute Rimkute co-founded LEO in Berlin. Now our club unites more than 300 people across Germany and more closely knit clubs with 27 individuals in Berlin. Together we grow professionally and engage in projects that promote advanced ideas in business and civil society. 

Today we will talk with Ruta Naujokaite about her own career and what value does LEO in Berlin brings.

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

Germany is my 4th country in 10 years. Before coming, I lived and worked in the UK, India and Denmark. 7 years ago I discovered my passion for marketing that quickly led to specialising in digital marketing for MedTech. I love Medical technology field as it helps to digitise this industry and make it accessible and affordable to everyone. 

A lot of companies and even countries (like Germany) were slow to innovate in this field, but COVID-19 clearly showed that change is inevitable and we must innovate.

Coronavirus has opened a new era for the MedTech industry and I am excited to be part of this digital transformation.

  1. What led you to co-founding LEO in the Berlin?

One of my friends already approached me about joining a similar club in Copenhagen. I simply said no as I was already moving to Berlin. I remember thinking how brilliant the idea was and how incredible it is that lithuanians can relate not just via culture.

I guess it was a destiny as a few months after I moved, Vytaute Rimkute reached out to me. We instantly clicked and started working. One thing led to another, and here we are 2 years in, with an official NGO status in Germany.

I should emphasize that we received a lot of support and guidance from GLL and friends from Lithuanian Professionals Club in London, Lithuanian Professionals Club in Copenhagen and Professionals Club in Stockholm. For the first year, I used to call Marius Raugalas, Laurynas Dailide and Ruta Smertiniene. We really tried to gather all that experience and build a strong club.

  1. What values does LEO in Berlin stand for?

We aim to create the best environment to support each other’s professional growth. We believe that surrounding yourself with people who have ambitions, is the best way to inspire ourselves to achieve, to pursue, and to realize our own. 

Confidentiality. Everything we talk about in this group and in our closed events remains only among the club members. This builds trust and openness among club members.

Professionalism. We communicate with each other in a professional form and values. It helps to look at everyday situations through a different prism and maintain the format of Global Lithuanian Leaders Professional Clubs.

Respect. We respect another person’s opinion. We appreciate the diversity of experiences and opinions of club members. It helps to learn and grow.

Creating added value. The information we share is related to the activities of the club or useful to the members of the club (questions / advice, events ..). The club will be as much as we put into it ourselves and we will create that value by putting together 27 bright minds into one club!

  1. How much commitment does LEO in Berlin membership require?

Every member chooses how much he/she wants to be involved.

Some members start their own projects, others decide to come just for monthly dinners or joining one of our clubs. 

Our club members are working on 4 projects: LT Big Brother mentorship program in Germany, the Book club, Investors club and MasterMind. Most of them meet once a month online or offline and have their own separate organisational team.

As well, every last thursday of the month we are conducting monthly members only dinners.

Our club is the platform where our members can focus on what they want to do the most with the time they have. However, we take commitment seriously and have a motivational interview before accepting new members. The most important criteria is at least 3 years of professional experience and go-getter professional attitude. 

More about LEO in Berlin 

LEO in Berlin aims to build a strong Lithuanian professionals network, supporting each other and contributing to its members and Lithuania itself’s long-term advancement. We believe that surrounding yourself with people who have dreams, desires, and ambitions, is the best way to inspire ourselves to achieve, to pursue, and to realize our own. 

We are a part of the Global Lithuanian Leaders (GLL) network that unites 1700 global Lithuanian professionals from 49 countries all contributing to the prosperity of Lithuania. Membership includes the former mayor of Bogota, Antanas Mockus, contemporary artist Ray Bartkus, and many more. What unites us is the belief that surrounding ourselves with positive hard working people can bring meaning to our work and value to our 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. 

8. 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. 

9. 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. 

10. 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.