Interview with Ina Herchenröder

Ina Herchenröder


  • Assistant to the project manager on the pilot island of Borkum, supporting in all project-related matters
  • Previous experience in environmental education, technical purchasing, event management, marketing and social work
  • Professional Buyer, Pedagogical/ Health Education


Role in the ISLANDER project:

  • Interface between the project and the population of the pilot island Borkum
  • Organisational tasks around the implementation of the project on the island of Borkum


Ina, please tell us about your role in the ISLANDER project?

My main task is the citizen engagement on the island of Borkum. And I support the project manager with the preparation and implementation of the project measures on Borkum. My field of activity is broad and dynamic. It includes personal contacts with the individual Borkum project participants as well as tasks from the work packages.


What has been most exciting in your work on the ISLANDER project so far?

The most exciting thing about my work on the ISLANDER project is the people I get to work with. For ISLANDER, highly specialised people from different cultures come together to develop and implement ideas for a sustainable future for all. On the other hand, I experience an open-minded, very interconnected island community of Borkum citizens. A special aspect for me is to experience this project directly in practical execution on an island enclosed by the sea, spatially limited and dependent on the weather.


What inspired you to work in the field of renewable energy?

Since my childhood I have been aware of the disturbing changes in nature. As I see we live in a consumer society that needs its own time and measures to rethink ecologically. In my view, the field of renewable energy is a sustainable and climate-friendly alternative to meet humanity’s constant demand for energy.


Did you ever face difficulties within your career due to gender bias?

Yes, very much. I started my professional career in the 1980s. My social and business environment was very conservative and strict about women’s and men’s roles in the workplace. Later, I experienced the wish for children or motherhood as a knock-out criterion when applying for jobs or for better payment.


What actions does your company take to support Gender Diversity?

The Nordseeheilbad Borkum GmbH (NBG) is the largest employer on the island. Positions at the NBG are filled and paid on an equal basis. At management level, we have a balanced proportion of women and men (50/50). In the total workforce, we have a share of female employees of 41 %. Project teams are regularly gender-diverse. NBG have women in traditionally male-dominated occupations (e.g., carpentry) and vice versa (e.g., health/spa).


What other measures should, in your opinion, be adopted in companies to promote gender diversity?

In my opinion, there is a need for highly qualified on-site childcare in companies. So that parents can come to work rested and focused. Regardless of energy- and time-consuming logistics, inconvenient closing and opening times of external childcare facilities or the lack of them within reasonable reach.