Meet young professionals in European Standardization - Episode 2: Lea Emmel

2022 is the European Year of Youth. To celebrate this occasion, CEN and CENELEC are conducting a campaign, presenting a regular series of interviews with young professionals active in European standardization. In the second episode of the series, we get to know Lea Emmel, from Germany.

1. Please, present yourself. To what extent are you involved in standardization?

I am Lea, a young engineer from Germany. I work as a risk manager at the medical device manufacturer Dräger. Since the beginning of 2021, I have been involved in the Next Generation programme, an initiative of DKE, the German National Electrotechnical Committee.


Through the DKE, I applied for the IEC Young Professionals Programme and was lucky enough to be selected to participate to the YP Workshop in Dubai. There, I was elected as IEC YP Leader, representing the interests of young standardization experts from all over the world.  This gives me the opportunity to implement my own project and to be quite free in its realization. This is what I do in my spare time. Besides that, I have the possibility to actively participate in standardization through my employer.

2. Why and how did you become interested in standardization?

I came to standardization through a previous job, where I had to deal a lot with cybersecurity regulations and with standards in the field of medical technology. That is why I also decided to write my master’s thesis on standardization. While doing so, I came across a funding program managed by DKE. This gave me the opportunity to have my thesis funded and to get in touch with the DKE directly. That is how I came to DKE and later to the IEC. Everything else came about through my job.

3. What is the importance of European standardization system for your sector?

In my view, European standardization offers two main advantages across all sectors: on the one hand, it ensures the same standards are valid in all countries of the EU; on the other hand, ideally, it strives to adopt international standards at the European level as unchanged as possible. Both ensure that we have the same requirements, especially in terms of safety, in all markets and therefore for all users.

4. Do you think standardization (in particular at the European level) provides some added value for your career development?

Standardization provides significant added value to the safety of products. In medical technology, our top priority should always be patient and user safety. I believe it is therefore important for an engineer in medical technology to actively deal with technical standardization.

From a personal perspective, however, I find that standardization can help develop other, more “horizontal” skills, which can be much more valuable and very useful in everyday work. I am thinking especially about finding a solution together – finding consensus – and working together with people from many different countries with very diverse backgrounds. I therefore feel that my intercultural skills have especially been strongly challenged and promoted.

5. Did you have a role model or mentor in standardization? What is the best advice they gave you?

I participated in the science-to-standards-program of the DKE, which promotes theses in the field of standardization. This enabled me to make many contacts, which in turn brought me further contacts and then a whole network via the IEC YP Programme. 


For this reason, is difficult for me to name a specific person. But I have met many interesting people through standardization, and one thing about them in particular has always impressed me: the unbelievably large amount of knowledge and the willingness to share it. I would also like to emphasize the great support and openness with which they approached me.    


In my opinion, mentoring programs are a very good and important way to accompany and support new experts on their way to standardization. There is certainly still potential to expand this at all levels - national, European and international.

6. Why should there be more young people in standardization? What advice would you like to tell your fellow young professionals to invite them into the world of standardization?

Above all, I would say it is important not to have too big of a gap between old, experienced experts and young newcomers. In the long run, the transfer of knowledge between generations provides significant added value for achieving optimal results for everyone involved. In addition, the interaction between experts of different ages allows for much more diverse knowledge bases and perspectives, which is good to see being incorporated into standardization. I think it is also important that young people can provide very direct feedback on what the situation is like for new standardization experts in the various committees, providing valuable input and perspectives.


To any young person interested in standardization, I would like to point out that the subject is much more interesting than it seems and gives you a wide range of opportunities and insights. It is a great way to network with other experts from all over the world to ultimately make our lives a little safer.


You can follow the rest of the campaign here and also read the other interviews to our Young Professionals in Standardization. 


Read the previous episodes of the series:

Episode 1, with Kévin Carta

Join the conversation through the hashtag #EuropeanYearOfYouth


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