An interview about the strategy and challenges of gaining new members in Germany
„DJW Insight“ #1: Interview with our Managing Director Anne Pomsel
DJW is aiming to provide a platform for networking and exchange of information especially between corporates based in Germany and Japan. Since its founding, DJW has grown from a loose group of industry representatives to a registered association counting 1,200 members. With its squad “New Members Germany” DJW reaches out to further expand our network.
The following interview was conducted with Anne Pomsel, Managing Director of DJW.
1. Please tell us something about yourself and how you are connected to DJW.
Completing Japanese Studies and Economics at university, it was only natural to encounter with DJW at an early stage of my occupational career. Having worked with JETRO priorly, I have been responsible for the coordination of DJW events since 2013. What sounds quite ordinary is actually a quite complex area of responsibility: continuous, nationwide networking with partners and players within the German-Japanese business community, establishing reliable contacts, identifying trends for topics, creating a platform for pointed exchange via events in both Germany and in Japan. Additionally, I have been trusted with representing DJW's management in our head office in Düsseldorf since 2017.
2. What are the goals of the squad “New Members Germany”?
Basis of DJW's work is to deepen the understanding between Germany and Japan, above all to broaden the economic perspectives for and with each other. The interaction with aspects of society, politics, and science allows us to illustrate comprehensive contexts. Occasionally, we broaden our view beyond the borders of Germany and Japan to Europe and Asia as a whole ‒ one important requirement to point out cross-border correlations, especially against the background of the Free Trade Agreement.
Our thematic orientation ‒ clear focus on German-Japanese economy without losing sight of the European-Asian framework ‒ is also reflected by the members of DJW: diverse, supra-regional, international. Diversity in industry, size of business, and topic is distinctive of DJW and thus our unique selling point. With our squad “New Members Germany” we will further expand not only our network, but also the individual networks and potential contacts of our members. The simple answer to this question would be: To gain new corporate members, especially in Germany.
3. Why do you think that dealing with gaining new members is important for DJW?
I would like to state two points bluntly:
- On the one hand, new DJW members ‒ be it as company, institution or private person ‒ always signify new impulses, constantly broadening the view for our members and of course for DJW itself. We are happy to pass these impulses to you via events, articles in the Infopool or via contact mediation.
- On the other hand, membership fees place us on financially stable grounds, which is imperative for an independent and purely privately financed association such as DJW. Consequently, welcoming new members expands our budget, which in return enables us to offer and even enhance our comprehensive range of services.
With almost 1,200 members at present, we are already very successful in maintaining an attractive network, though wind of innovation has not harmed anyone yet.
4. What measures are planned to reach the goals?
The attractiveness of an association can only be increased when it is visible to the outside world and widely perceived ‒ not only as an independent institution, but also as a partner, multiplier, and source of ideas. We achieve this visibility through clear standpoints and contributions to discussions as well as with regular events. The manifold analogue and digital possibilities, offered for our members as well as interested parties, create a platform for networking, information, and business.
We are of the opinion that in our fast-moving world, where communication takes place digitally over large parts, it is increasingly important to have one-to-one conversations, to network directly, and to cultivate first-hand exchange with partners. With support of our (board) members and their extensive networks we aim at accessing yet untapped potential for DJW by individually reaching out to new potential members and realize an increasing number of events.
5. From your point of view, what are the biggest challenges?
One of the greatest challenges is also the squad's most exciting task: identifying important players, building strong networks, and identifying promising topics for the future. Of course, we are also looking forward to support from both the members of DJW's board and our DJW members. The more varied the impulses, the more comprehensive our offers can be.
6. Where does the squad need support or helping hands?
Since DJW is an association open for all impulses, we as a team and squad are happy to learn from the experiences and expertise of our members and partners. Especially the diverse orientations across industries, regions, and topics guarantee a multi-layered exchange. None of the squads is a self-contained, self-sufficient system and we look forward to receiving suggestions on potential members that will make our network even more attractive. In our case, close alignment with the squad “New Members Japan” is highly appreciated.
7. Do you have any message for other DJW members?
Probably the most satisfying way to make a difference is to get involved and to stimulate change yourself ‒ the very idea of DJW and its squads!