Adolf Koppensteiner, Mercer, outside of the Mercer Stendal pulp mill in Arneburg, Germany

The Mercer Leadership Program is a commitment to the future

Frazer Butt, Woodlands Assistant Manager at Mercer Peace River

As 2019 came to a close, I had the opportunity to take part in the Mercer Leadership training program from November 18-22. Our “Group F” of 12, made up of individuals across all of Mercer’s locations in departments ranging from Wood Purchasing, Human Resources, Shipping, and many others, joined together for training in the city of Dresden in eastern Germany, which is about 2.5 hours south of Berlin.

Mercer’s leadership training is provided through our partnership with the St. Gallen Management Institute in Switzerland; a world leader in senior leadership development, providing consulting services that make a lasting impact. The school provides Mercer-focused management and strategic development training for our future leaders. It’s a great program to take part in, as well as humbling to be regarded as a current and future Mercer leader.

The training took place over four days, with Oliver G. Titzmann and Dr. Chris Stern as our facilitators in the topics of Change Management and Strategic Management, respectively. With two days allocated to each topic, our group had the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the two types of management (Change and Strategic), engaging in exciting conversations and discussing ideas to take back to each of our mills.

Our formal training was also balanced with a fireside chat/dinner with Mercer Senior Management during the week. The group spent 3-4 hours with Uwe Bentlage (Vice President Pulp Sales & Marketing, as well as Managing Director of Mercer Pulp Sales in Berlin), learning about sales and marketing and asking questions to get a better understanding of what that side of the business looks like.

Upon completion of the leadership course, during our 4th day, the group travelled to a smaller village a couple of hours west of Dresden called Bad Steben. This village is fairly close to Mercer Timber Products (the Friesau sawmill) and Mercer Rosenthal. Tours of both mills were completed on Friday, with participants heading home the following day. Group G was right behind us, attending the program session from December 2-6, with a diverse group of individuals as in our Group F.

The training week spent in Germany was an incredibly positive experience. The amount of information shared and taken in as a group and as individuals will have a lasting impact on our practices within our mills. We are constantly learning while on the job, but I encourage those who are thinking about taking that extra step in training to do so. I know I am particularly excited to see where these new ideas can be implemented at Mercer Peace River. The more we learn, the more we, as individuals, as well as Mercer, continue to grow.

We believe that meaningful, relevant, and regular training for all team members is critical to our success and the career success of our team members. To that end, we provide a deep mix of training that will help our people grow and be more effective in their current and future roles. As natural leadership characteristics begin to emerge, we prepare individuals for supervisory and management positions by providing very specific and high-quality leadership training.