Prof. Heather Hofmeister, Ph.D.
“Charming, competent, compassionate, insightful, empathetic, evocative.
You had the audience in the palm of your hand.”
— Nadja Tschirner, Geschäftsführende Gesellschafterin, Cross Consult GbR
PROF. HEATHER HOFMEISTER, PH. D.
Who I am
I am a sociologist, professor, speaker, author, coach, and leader based in Frankfurt. I conduct, review, and apply research and speak about academic careers, gender relations and women in leadership, intergenerational working relations, work and family, and cross-national comparative perspectives.
I arrived in Germany in 2002 from the USA at age 29 with a Ph.D. from Cornell University and didn’t speak German. By age 34, I had a tenured professorship in Germany, and by age 35, I was the first woman in the C-Suite leadership team of a large technical German university. The visibility, research themes, and public appearances since then have launched this business, which runs along side, and complements, my professorship.
I communicate with groups spanning the breadth of adulthood, from thousands of young adult students at my university to senior leaders, primarily in research and the public sector, including heads of research projects and universities. I have a soft spot for early career researchers, and also for my tenured colleagues who benefit from support for the challenges of our many responsibilities.
My strength is to help people connect with values, ideals, and their vision for a better future. I communicate about the big picture, the role of individuals, and how they fit together. When we understand situations, we can use our creativity to change them.
When experiencing my talks, workshops, coaching, or consulting, people consistently tell me that they find new ways of looking at things and new pathways forward. They understand that small changes can have huge effects.
The tribe I serve
wants a more respectful, healthier, more sustainable, more equitable society.
And would like support getting that vision into reality.
I am an active researcher in gender equality, academic communities and careers, intergenerational themes, and work-family themes.
My tribe are expanding their viewpoints and challenging assumptions,
living into their potential as creative, caring, compassionate leaders in their lives and organizations
to make a positive difference in their communities.
I want to see
Individuals, teams, leaders, and organizations help move society in constructive, sustainable, equitable, healthy directions.
I want to see your eyes light up with a new way of looking at and solving a situation, based on research, reflection, and experience.
Society is primed for division: nature or economy, men or women, paid work or private life, health or wealth. We tend to reinforce difference, scarcity, and transact win-lose. Conventional paths aren’t respectful of people, families, communities, and the environment. For things to get better, we have to apply learning, intuition, see the big picture, and connect with each other.
I believe in our capacity to change our circumstances and grow into our creative potential. I invite you to deepen your learning, create connection, and take steps for transform your outlook and community. This is a process. It’s hard. It’s rewarding.
What I offer
Identifying the potential of gender equality
Our society says girls and women can do anything but paradoxically implies, in a thousand ways, that women are less worthy of respect, voice, power, time, and money than men are. Women are often expected to clean up the messes. And then adding insult to injury, the more outwardly ‘successful’ a woman is, the more the world may imply to her and others that she’s not lovable.
Our society says boys and men should achieve, compete, and dominate. The more connected and nurturing a man may be, the more ridicule he may receive. Existing systems of career design and policies hold these paths stable and reinforce inequalities.
These conditions are neither healthy nor sustainable. They need to change.
Understanding the way past generations’ experiences shape our own lives.
Past generations’ coping strategies are passed on to us at many levels, some unconscious. Conflicts arise from going against tradition to create an organization, a family, or a life that looks much different from those of the past.
We can map a fulfilling future from the foundations we have inherited, with respect and determination to correct the injustices of the past.
Understanding and making the most of academic careers
Inequalities, precariousness, power hierarchies, and other challenges of scientific and academic careers are easier to manage with demystification, clarity, and support. These are rewarding careers, too. I offer information, ideas, and structures to manage and understand the pathways so we can enjoy these careers and improve them from the inside.