Being part of the solution

Diversity, skills and commitment.

Being part of ​ the solution

Diversity, skills and commitment

Rising to the challenges of tomorrow is everybody’s business; the right mix of individual empowerment and diversity bound by company culture is a precondition.

Taking actions to be a positive force

Being part of the solution is all about taking actions to be a positive force and looking for new ways of working. These solutions make our environment better, be it the working environment or the environment in the larger sense of the word. We all have it in our power to take ownership for what we do and what we believe in. We are part of a community, a Hager Group community and communities are made up of different types of people, with different perspectives, attitudes and skills. At Hager Group what colleagues all have in common is their role to play in making our world a better place. We’ll be seeing how just a few of them are going the extra mile to make this happen.

Kitty Duquesne

Kitty, Project Sales Manager, is from the North of France. She encourages everyone to seize opportunities to make their dreams come true. Above all, people have to believe in themselves and their abilities. And trust others. “Life is short! Follow your dreams!”

Aïcha Sostaric

Aïcha, Customer and Distribution Manager has always been passionate about car racing and participating the Aïcha des Gazelles rally is a dream come true. She is always looking for new challenges, and doing what she can to defend the environment and charitable causes is close to her heart.

True grit, courage and rising to the challenge

It was a proud podium finish for Aïcha Sostaric and Kitty Duquesne in October 2021, who participated in the thirtieth edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in the all-female category with their fully electric Bollore BlueSummer under the Hager brand banner.

It takes true grit and courage to do what Kitty and Aïcha did. Imagine in this day and age using a paper map and compass to navigate your way across the Moroccan desert; they had to totally rely on each other and old-school navigation skills to find their way, constantly adapting themselves and their strategy to the difficulties of the terrain. What is also exceptional is that this rally is 100% female, each crew is composed of two women. “It is our passion, profession and motivation that bring us together in search of a challenge and self-improvement” comments Kitty.

This rally has human and environmental values that Hager Group and I carry on a daily basis.

Aïcha Sostaric
Customer and Distribution Manager

Unique vision of motor racing

This rally is one of a kind, it’s the only 100% female off-road event in the world certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard. Since 1990, it has been bringing together women of all nationalities aged 18 to 71. Speed is not the focus, rising to the challenge and showing resilience and courage are. The words “competition” and “leaving one’s comfort zone” don’t really begin to cover what happened during their two weeks in the Moroccan dessert. Expertise and excellence, not to mention teamwork, solidarity, empathy, stamina, courage and passion were essential ingredients to complete the seven stages of this gruelling sandy challenge.

Don’t change your dreams, change the world! In life, you have to seize opportunities to make your dreams come true.

Kitty Duquesne
Project Sales Manager

Together we are invincible

The objective is to reach checkpoints by clocking up as few kilometres as possible. There are penalties too, just to add to the challenge, such as for calling for assistance. Even though it’s a competition, the collective spirit of solidarity is clearly present, so when one of the electric cars in the race ran out of battery power a few hundred meters before the finish line it seemed only natural for the other competitors to collectively push the car across the finishing line.

A rally in a desert can be punishing, almost as gruelling as a solo race across the sea. The 1000-kilometre route crosses Morocco from North to South, before finishing in Essaouira on the Atlantic Ocean. Predictably, Aïcha and Kitty ran into difficulties along the way; four punctures, getting lost once, arriving late at camp and having to leave the next day without a fully charged battery which meant some adaptations to their original plan. The crushing heat of the Moroccan dessert not only put additional strain on our two champions, it’s extra stress on the car’s electric systems, making continuous adjustments to their driving strategy a necessity. But they made it, and proudly stood in third position on the podium. When asked about their experience, they concluded: “At the start, we didn’t know anyone, but right from the start there was support from everywhere and everyone, no questions asked! Our adventure has been incredible and we hope that it can inspire others to follow their dreams and rise to challenges.”

Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles

Dar Kaoua

Driven by their passion, Kitty and Aicha are an inspiring example of both generosity and courage. Our electrical vehicle drivers keen to help others and through their participation in the rally helped raise funds for the charitable association Les Blouses Roses, an association committed to providing extra help to hospitalised children and the elderly throughout France.

Kitty and Aïcha are not the only ladies with drive.

Valérie Kaufenstein and Hannelore Kolb are all about driving for better results too

It all started with a hackathon in Paris some years ago. Valérie was charged with developing the brand image for the French commercial market and discovered her calling although she didn’t quite realise it at the time. A 24-hour social coding event organised by Hager France brought together programmers and other experts to improve upon or build new software programs. It was specifically designed for KNX (an open standard for building automation) specialists to discover new products. The idea behind the hackathon event was also for system integrators – a group of highly specialised technical savvies – to discover Hager products.

Hannelore Kolb

Hannelore works in Germany and France and is an ambassador for Hager Group’s learning offer within the L&D (learning and development) community. She also represents Hager Group at conferences and events. Having long term experience within different intercultural environments, she is passionate about finding the best group-wide learning solutions to empower her colleagues throughout the group, regardless of gender, age, nationality or position within the company. Her personal mission is to grow people and business together in a rapidly changing environment.

Valérie Kaufenstein

Valérie lives in France. Passionate about human relations, and convinced that the challenge of the twenty-first century lies in the ability of companies to engage and connect women and men to innovate and create added value. She enjoys developing teams, supporting talent and sharing knowledge. A member of various associations that work with local businesses, she helps them to think out of the box and discover new ways of working and learning.

Partnering up judiciously

Valérie witnessed the huge buzz it created in the communication protocol world of KNX and immediately realised the potential of the event. She knew it could be reproduced to help specific groups of people discover Hager.

She went on to organise seven spin-off events called Shake my KNX in different sales regions in France. With a clear idea in mind about a new way of working and thanks to several mind-mapping sessions on how to best run the hackathons, she judiciously partnered up with an internal specialist for support and to give extra credibly to the event. Together, they set up a whole team of volunteers to assist them. It was important that it be on a volunteer basis, she explained because “we needed enthusiasm and determination right from the outset if we were going to make a real go of it.” By the end of a seven-date tour, she was turning away volunteers. “Our collective success was thanks to great team work and trust, and in particular the volunteers’ commitment, energy and passion.”

Looking back now, she sees how the seeds for wanting to help others reach their potential were sown. “I love the idea of facilitating, helping people understand how they can get from A to B. Not doing it for them, simply helping them find their own inner resources to do it.” So, when a job came up in Human Resources that needed someone to help implement new ways of working and learning, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

Individual and collective empowerment

Valérie is also a firm believer in learning by doing. In her spare time, she has co-constructed a community called Les Facilateurs d’Alsace (Facilitators in the Alsace region of France). It’s open to managers, entrepreneurs, start-uppers, coaches…; they meet, chat about their experiences and experiment new methods together. Furthermore, they believe in the strength of collective intelligence. Actors of change, they are motivated to experiment with new ways of doing things and move the lines in their companies, associations and daily lives.

This community she set up also gave her the opportunity to lead and facilitate the “Agile Community” at Hager Group, yet another network of experts who promote new ways of working, advise and encourage people to find solutions via breaking silos and building bridges. Basically, getting people to work together better. Her latest project is assisting with Hi! by creating learning experiences in our Hager Group university. Her role as a specialist is to bring new learning methods into play.

Traditionally learning always took place in the classroom, but as Valérie explains “it can also be learning from others – your manager, colleagues, conferences – together in a community with experimentation, learning by doing, learning by error, getting feedback, digital & physical mixes, reading articles and books. My job is to bring all these methods together under one banner at Hager Group and bear in mind not that everyone learns in the same way.”

The challenge of offering the best learning experience

Efficient and targeted learning really is a challenge for companies, it can require going back to the basics of learning how to learn. Valérie insists on the importance of defining clear objectives and knowing precisely what we need to know and why. And the importance of chopping learning up into manageable bitesize pieces. “If we get too much information it serves no purpose. We must be able to transform it, use it. People must learn to self-evaluate, too. Passive education is what happens at school, I’m told what I need to learn. When I make my own decision it’s more powerful and useful. I am the master of what I am learning, and I know why I’m doing it.”

Another challenge in the business of learning is sharing knowledge. Part of Valerie’s skill is to show people that we are not in competition with each other, we all have complementary skills and it this collective knowledge that gives us all power. The power to make changes, think differently and be better, together. To grow we must learn to share; this is indeed the premise of any community that works well. We all improve together. “In any case, if it is your project you own it, no one can steal it and your knowledge from you.”

Hager Group university is called Hi! to give it a friendly welcoming aspect. Learning should be fun, friendly, motivating and inclusive.

A university for Hager Group: Hi!

Hager University, or Hi! as it is officially known is the power engine of our culture and is a permanent people developer. Hannelore Kolb, Learning Program Manager sums it up as follows, “Hi! provides development opportunities with academies, online courses and communities, it is open to absolutely everyone in the group.” When companies want to grow, they need to adapt and change their corporate learning goals, cultivating each employee’s ability to explore, learn and grow. Just some of the possibilities available at Hi! are leadership development, project management training, improving language skills and getting official certifications. It bundles all existing training courses together making it easier for employees to obtain the knowledge they need for their work and personal development. The Hi! experience is about encouraging people to pursue their learning goals and dare to try something new. We asked Hannelore Kolb three questions.

Hannelore, what makes Hi! Hager Group University so relevant for everyone?

Hannelore Kolb: We want to help shape the electrical world of tomorrow. This requires every employee having the skills they need which in turn strengthen the entire group. Having 24/7 access to this type of learning environment positions Hager Group as a constantly developing organisation. Lifelong learning is already something expected from all of us, yet it is only through relevant know-how, new ideas and innovation that our business can develop and our people with it.

In any case, if it is your project you own it, no one can steal it and your knowledge from you.

Valérie Kaufenstein
Hager University Learning Experience Specialist

What do you find motivating about Hi!?

I’m passionate about providing relevant training and learning content and giving people what they need to work efficiently in our business. I get to really understand what they are doing, how they are doing it and why. I’m driven by the knowledge that what we are providing is really making a difference. I’m particularly proud of developing specialised courses that are specifically designed with each department’s business needs in mind. It’s not off the shelf training that we just put out there and hope for the best. It’s immensely challenging because obviously I can’t know everything but I learn at the same time and almost become an expert myself when I look to developing new training modules.

How do you know if what you offer is relevant and successful?

Before we launch training modules on the platform there is always a pilot group. We run a session, get feedback from managers and participants and then adapt it according to their suggestions. It’s a continuous improvement cycle measured by KPIs which we set at the beginning of each learning program in order to measure the impact and success of our learning activities. I myself go to most of the workshops so I have tested them personally and know how relevant they are. As I said, it’s not just bulking out a platform with generic learning modules. There is always a loop back to those most concerned.

Peter und Luise Hager Foundation giving back

Educating, learning by doing and providing inclusive support where it is needed is exactly the purpose of the Peter und Luise Hager Foundation.

As a family-run company, it is part of Hager Group’s culture to be aware of its responsibility. This means giving back to society in return for its commercial success; taking responsibility for employees and their families as well as the sustainable protection of the environment and natural world. This commitment reflects the Hager family culture, integrity and their values, and it is tangibly put into practice by the PLHS – Peter und Luise Hager Foundation, established in December 2010. The foundation, chaired by Evi Hager supports around 40 projects. She comments that “the foundation has shown us how much our own lives are enriched by doing something for others. And we are tremendously proud of its success and the help we have been able to provide.” The foundation support projects in the fields of science and research, protection of the environment, culture, child development and education and social care.

Evi Hager

Evi Hager chairs the Peter und Luise Hager Foundation which supports around 40 projects. She is convinced that our own lives can be enriched by giving back and doing something for others.

Kamila Banasiak

Kamila manages the Foundation’s office and is the contact person for all project partners worldwide. She is proud of being part of the Foundation and its initiatives to make the world a better place by empowering people to help themselves. Every encounter with project partners gives her more understanding of their challenges and needs, as well as those of society as a whole. All in all, her work is a lot about people and personal ties, which requires her to show empathy and strive for fairness.

Kamila Banasiak manages the Foundation’s office and is the contact person for all project partners worldwide. When asked what motivates her to work for the foundation she said, “I find it fascinating and enriching because I meet so many different people from all walks of life, from the arts and culture to environmental protectionists and social workers. What they all have in common is their engagement to making the world a better place and empowering others to help themselves. This is particularly the case with the founders of the BlueFuture Project in Tanzania, I am proud to know them and in my own small way to have participated; this grounds me and gives me the feeling of doing something meaningful.”

Here are just two of the projects that relate to the environment, developing skills and supporting education as well as empowering local communities.

Sustainable drinking water project in Tanzania

BlueFuture Project, Saarbrücken (Germany)

The BlueFuture Project founders, Tibor Sprick and Christoph Dillenburger, create sustainable access to clean drinking water in Tanzanian communities. They work with locals, for locals, empowering them to find solutions to the water crisis through their own efforts.

Doctor Askwar Hilonga demonstrates the benefits of the water filtration system.

Doctor Askwar Hilonga is an award-winning chemical engineer from Tanzania who grew up in a small, rural village without any access to clean drinking water. As waterborne diseases were a regular part of his childhood and many community members succumbed to the consequences of contaminated water, he was spurred on to develop solutions to eliminate water-borne diseases and provide fresh water. Thanks to his motivation, tenacity and skills he created an innovative, low-cost water filtration system called a nanofilter that has already changed many lives. Its unique feature is its adaptability to the local contamination with a special filter calibration, particularly important as water sources in Tanzania contain different pollutants.

Getting the filters out there

The BlueFuture Project founders equip community members in rural villages of Tanzania with the nanofilter and a water station. From then on, the water station becomes a small business within the community, impure water can be filtered, cleaned and provided to the community at a reasonable price. This system creates companies, jobs and opportunities for locals, while enssuring a steady water supply. Dr. Hilonga and his team ensure the maintenance of the filter and the stations, but the local community run the sustainable water supply business without the need for further support.

With the support of the Peter und Luise Hager Foundation, eight water stations were built in 2020 and four over the course of 2021. In total over 100 water stations have been built in Tanzania already since the beginning of the project and 500 more are planned for the next five years.


are low-cost and can be adapted to the specifics of local water contamination

Water stations

become companies, they create both jobs and opportunities for locals


projects planned for the next five years


water stations built in total

Dr. Schales Africa Project in Zimbabwe

Afrikaprojekt Dr. Schales e.V
Young children in the catchment area of Saint Luke’s hospital benefit from a school.

The Peter und Luise Foundation has been supporting the Dr. Schales Africa project in Zimbabwe since the beginning of 2020 to promote both health and education for the local communities. Dr. Hans Schales, former senior physician at the Caritasklinikum Saint Josef in Dudweiler (Saarland, Germany), has been working in Zimbabwe since 2001. His work and commitment to Zimbabwe follow Nelson Mandela’s credo, “education and, with it, health are the most powerful weapons against poverty”.

With the help of this Africa project, Saint Luke’s Hospital in Lupane has been expanded and the medical staff have been trained to boost their skills to ever better serve the local community. Providing additional medical equipment and medications are also part of the support provided to this hospital that helps care for many of the most underprivileged people in the area of North Matabeleland. It is precious help for the communities and the 3,000 or so children who are born there have access to medical care. The hospital boasts 250 beds.

The education project primarily involves pupils in the catchment area of Saint Luke’s hospital. 600 pupils have access to school education as the infrastructure has expanded. There are now 15 schools in the area. The funds provided by the foundation contribute notably to school fees, uniforms, on site meals and, if necessary, medical care.


pupils now have access to school education thanks to an expanded infrastructure

Thanks to expansion, Saint Luke’s Hospital in Lupane now boasts

250 beds


schools now in the area

Daniel Hager – Passionate people creating the change for a more sustainable world.Driving change and sustainability – How we are decarbonising our business.Designing out plastic? – Sustainability and eco-friendly solutions are our promise.Changing our perspectives – Guibert del Marmol about being sustainable.Stronger together – Entrepreneurial spirit and collective intelligence.Being part of the solution – Diversity, skills and commitment.Talking sustainability with our Board of Directors – Exploring people, passion, change.Our Supervisory Board – Facts & figures – Imprint – Hager Group Annual Report ArchiveHager Group Annual Report 2020/21Hager Group Annual Report 2019/20Hager Group Annual Report 2018/19Hager Group Annual Report 2017/18Hager Group Annual Report 2016Hager Group Annual Report 2015