At 26, Vera Löwe is the youngest Center Manager at MEC. After successfully completing the MEC internal trainee programme, she has been Center Manager at RemsPark Waiblingen, since July 1st, 2018. Vera Löwe explains to us what motivates her, what daily challenges she masters and what plans for the future she has for her center.
Ms Löwe, why did you decide to join the MEC trainee programme?
During my master's degree in "Real Estate Management" at the University of Regensburg, I focused on retail real estate. As an intern at the Durlach Center Karlsruhe, I was able to gain my first practical experience as well as learning the theory of center management. I like to tackle different tasks directly "at the front" - that's why applying for the trainee program was the next logical step.
What exactly makes the job as center manager so exciting?
Especially exciting is the extreme variety of topics and the complexity you have to cope with every day. Every day is different and unpredictable - I always have to be flexible and walk through the center with my eyes open. Technical issues such as maintenance and the management of service providers are just as much a part of my job as budget planning, team management and the development of the optimal marketing and PR strategy for the center.
You took over RemsPark Waiblingen almost six months ago. What were the special successes for you personally?
The takeover of the center at the beginning of July was of course a highlight. After that, I had two "premieres" that ran successfully: The independent management of my first shareholders' meeting and the development of a tenant brochure in the fourth quarter of 2018 - with information on technical topics, upcoming maintenance work and planned marketing campaigns in the center.
What do you attach particular importance to in your work?
I attach great importance to a good working atmosphere, personal contact is very important to me. I also try to start every day with a tour of the center to see if everything is okay at the center. Then I continue with a team meeting - the team also includes the employees of WISAG, our facility management service provider. In addition to operational business, I also help shape strategic topics and projects at MEC: For example, the modular Center Exposé I developed helps both internally and externally to provide important insights into a location.
During your one-year trainee period, you underwent 4 training modules and were supervised by a mentor. What do you take with you from this time?
I benefit every day from the 2 months at the MEC headquarters in Düsseldorf. Communication and operative cooperation simply work better if you know your colleagues personally and have an understanding of the respective area of responsibility.
My mentor Stephan Köhler, Head of Center Management Region South at MEC, is an "old hand" in business. I learned from him how much tact and diplomatic skill is needed in the role of Center Manager. I also learned a lot from my Center Management colleagues, with whom I worked closely at the location, about the different approaches and leadership styles.
How do you experience the corporate culture at MEC?
At MEC, we live an open corporate culture and I find the working atmosphere very pleasant. There is neither an elbow mentality nor envy - on the contrary: I have the feeling that my colleagues also indulge in success.
How do you position RemsPark Waiblingen?
RemsPark is the driving force in the region. In order to expand this position, I would like to venture into new areas and improve something with small steps. In close cooperation with my colleague from leasing management, I encounter vacancies with innovative concepts: the pop-up concept "CELEBRE coffee roasting plant", for example, is very well received by end consumers as a "short break". A strong gastronomy offer is simply part of a successful shopping experience.
What are you planning for your centre in 2019?
Together with the owner METRO PROPERTIES, I want to work continuously to keep the center up to date. To this end, we are preparing a fundamental revitalisation and restructuring of the rental areas. Another measure is the acquisition of new target groups, especially commuters to and from Stuttgart. We are expanding our range of services for motorists and will set up 6 new e-charging stations.
Picture (clockwise): Vera Löwe, Center Manager at RemsPark Waiblingen; exterior view of RemsPark Waiblingen; the Pop Up coffee bar CELEBRE which opened in November 2018.