Aiym Bektemis, an area sales manager at Greiner Extrusion in Nussbach, Austria, brings internationalism, commitment, and her unique personal touch to the sales-driven world in which she works. Originally from Kazakhstan, Aiym looks to bring her skills and international background to bear in her job – and to keep developing day after day.
Aiym Bektemis started at Greiner Extrusion in August 2020. Since then, she has already had the chance to learn a great deal, gain experience, and add her very own touch. We talked to Aiym about her career path, the challenges in her line of work, and what she loves about it.
Even before Aiym joined Greiner Extrusion, she had already worked for two Austrian companies in the plastics industry. “Of course, the professional opportunities open to me were one of the reasons I came here, but Austria has also found a place in my heart.” Aiym has now been living and working in Austria for eight years, and her experience in the industry gave her a strong foundation for her day-to-day work as an area sales manager. And it was also in Austria that she first had contact with Greiner. “I was at a conference in Ansfelden in 2018, where Axel Kühner gave a talk on sustainable plastic in his capacity as CEO of Greiner. It made a really good impression on me,” Aiym recalls. A couple of years later, she started her MBA at Vienna University of Economics and Business, joining Greiner Extrusion in parallel with her studies in the summer of 2020. “It was far from the easiest time to get started in a new job, but it has worked well for me,” Aiym says, describing her first weeks at the company. “For the most part, I met my colleagues online – but having this kind of personal relationship with the team and with customers is important to me, even if it is over long distances. And that is where online tools come in useful.”
Working with people
Aiym has the perfect opportunity to put her open nature and communication skills to work in her job. As area sales manager for Russia, the CIS countries, and the Baltic states, she takes care of customer contracts, business development, sales communication, and after-sales support for extrusion machinery. She feels at home in her job: “It is a good combination of technical and commercial activities – two areas of business I have always had an affinity with.” Technical innovations are important to the sales manager on both a personal and a professional level: “I want to move with the times and stay up to date. That is one of the reasons why I find working at Greiner Extrusion so exciting, because you can always keep an eye on the latest features and designs here.” At Greiner, Aiym has the chance to fully apply this thirst for knowledge and her motivation to keep learning and improving. And she is excited about the opportunities open to her at work: “I’m learning a lot from my colleagues and my boss, Werner Huber. The work environment is really warm and friendly, and I was immediately accepted as a member of the team. Now I’m hoping I can contribute my own experience and input to our projects.” Even in her very first months at Greiner Extrusion, Aiym was able to work with colleagues to successfully attract two new customers from Russia and Kazakhstan and show her commitment. “My colleagues and I felt a real sense of achievement being able to acquire two new customers at once, despite the industry being very consolidated and given the fact that I had only been working here for a short time.” Nevertheless, Aiym knows that her role is not for everyone. The combination of technology, communication, and the relatively competitive world of sales requires a good dose of self-confidence and skill: “You have got to have an understanding of your customers and build a relationship. But at the same time, you need to have the technical knowledge and a drive to keep developing. Just like life, my job is also a learning process – it may not always be easy, but that is exactly what I like about it.”
International at heart
Her Kazakh roots and knowledge of English, Russian, Kazakh, and German give Aiym a definite edge – especially when speaking with customers. This allows her to communicate on their level, and language barriers rarely ever present a problem for her: “Those types of negotiations around technical topics are easier for most businesses when they don’t also need to be translated into a different language.” The different nationalities, companies, and cultures that the sales manager works with on a daily basis add variety to her job. Still, Aiym sees the fundamental similarities: “People are people, even when they come from the most distant countries and diverse cultures.” After all, Aiym’s internationality is a part of her, too, with her family in Kazakhstan and her friends and her home in Austria. “I think there are so many beautiful things in Austria – its nature, culture, and people.” This diversity and variety are what Aiym relishes both in her professional life and in her leisure time.
An environment where people can flourish
The regional differences, dialects, and Austria’s characteristic politeness and generosity of spirit won Aiym over right from her first days in the country. And she makes the most of the natural environment on her doorstep: “I live in a town surrounded by mountains. The scenery is simply stunning, and I try to go hiking or to do something outside every week.” When she’s not working, Aiym likes to enjoy some peace and quiet, whether reading, spending time with friends, or taking trips into the great outdoors. Her curiosity, joy in learning, and cosmopolitan outlook are assets in her free time, too, as traveling is another of her favorite things to do. There is good reason for that, Aiym adds: “I have been to so many countries, and my family is very international, so I feel close to many different cultures and people.” And in Greiner Extrusion, Aiym has now found a place where she can express her personality and put her motivated attitude to work: “Of course, it’s sometimes a challenge, but I enjoy learning how to be there for my customers and having the chance to prove myself.” In other words, there is nothing to stop her having a successful career and enjoying a whole host of experiences along the way.
Aiym Bektemis (30), area sales manager at Greiner Extrusion
What does a normal day look like as an area sales manager at Greiner Extrusion?
At the moment, everything is online – most of the time, I’m on phone calls or in videoconferences with customers or the internal team. I work closely with my colleagues. There’s a huge variety of tasks to organize on a day-to-day basis, and our projects often last for several months.
What do you like most about your job?
For me, people are front and center. Many of my colleagues here at Greiner have years of experience and extensive expertise – I’m learning a great deal from them. Plus, no two days are alike. There are always new projects and new customers. If I have questions, I can always turn to my managers – that means a lot to me.
Do you have any favorite places or countries in the world?
I do, but it’s difficult to narrow down. I’ve been to around 30 countries. The landscapes in Norway and the Belgian North Sea really do take my breath away. It does tend to be colder there, but I find the natural scenery stunning.