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Dedicated employees are critical for wienerberger’s success. The company has therefore instituted a mentoring program that supports personal development, helps build useful networks and creates a positive learning culture. This promotes the professional development of future generations of skilled employees and managers within wienerberger.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring promotes professional and personal development through the transfer of knowledge between experienced employees and less experienced employees. The benefits of mentoring include increased job satisfaction, reduced stress and anxiety, new insights into the company’s structures and ideas for future career growth. Ideally, the process will come full circle and the mentees will one day become mentors themselves, passing on their own skills to the next generation of talents and leaders.

“Connecting mentors and mentees within the business is a rewarding experience – I get to meet our passionate employees, devoted to sharing their knowledge as well as receive feedback from the mentees who step out of the mentoring sessions with new inspiration or useful advice that helps them move forward,” says Annika Annus, responsible for the Mentoring Program in the Learning & Development Department at wienerberger.


“I really appreciate wienerberger bringing together colleagues via the mentoring program. I find it immensely rewarding each time Ivana and I share our experiences and views.”

Man wit h savety jacket in front of clay bricks, looks into camera

Michael Toth

Managing Director of Wienerberger Bausysteme GmbH

Dieter Steinbach

Ivana Muhar and Michael Toth

Developing Employees: Clear Goals are the Recipe for Successful Mentoring

Thorough preparation with clearly defined development and career goals: This was the red thread that guided Ivana Muhar from Wienerberger croatia and Michael Toth from Wienerberger Bausysteme GmbH through the mentoring process. “I really appreciate wienerberger bringing together colleagues via programs like this one,” says mentor Michael Toth, Managing Director of Wienerberger Bausysteme GmbH. “I find it immensely rewarding each time Ivana and I share our experiences and views,” says the industrial engineer.

Whenever Michael and Ivana connect, they typically talk about “tricky situations” that arise in their day-to-day work – these range from conflicting goals within the team to challenging project tasks. “Michael is a good listener, and his advice is always very helpful. We looked very closely at what is already going well and at those areas where I still have room for improvement,” Ivana says. In addition to her work as a Quality Control & Claims specialist, she also supports her colleagues with optimization projects as a key user in the Plant Improvement Program (PIP).

Ivana enjoys spending time outdoors – for example, on the four rivers that surround her hometown of Karlovac in the heart of Croatia. Michael has been with wienerberger since 2014. Even as a child, the Austrian national loved riding his BMX-bike through abandoned clay pits and forming his first bricks in elementary school. Now he is growing the prefabricated brick wall segment and recently moved into his first house. “Of course, it was built with wienerberger bricks,” the sports-loving father of two daughters says. 

“Michael is a good listener, and his advice is always very helpful. We looked very closely at what is already going well and at those areas where I still have room for improvement. That spurs me on even more."

Woman infront of a wall with illustration of the earth

Ivana Muhar

Quality Control & Claims specialist at wienerberger Croatia

Dorien Claes

My Tip for Mentors: Trust

Woman laughing at camera, standing in front of ceramic pipes © Wienerberger AG

“No matter how busy you are: It is essential to make time and create the basis for an atmosphere in which trust can develop. Mentoring works when a mentee has the feeling they can reach out if they have any doubts or questions.”

Dorien Claes

Supply Chain Manager at Pipelife

Dorien Claes and Robert Lang

International Mentoring: Successful Cross-Border Exchange

Dorien Claes from Pipelife Belgium and Robert Lang from wienerberger Italy initially developed a trusting mentoring relationship online. After several video calls, the two then met at the company site in Bologna, Italy. “I can turn to my mentor Robert at any time and speak freely with him. He takes the time to ask thoughtful questions and to share his own experiences with me,” says the Supply Chain Manager who has an enthusiasm for learning and a degree in commercial engineering.

Topics such as work-life-balance, team management and styles of management were on both their agendas. One focus was the restructuring of Dorien’s team with accompanying communication in alignment with the company’s goals. “My role as a mentor is very rewarding. I find our conversations encourage me to self-reflect. And we have learned a great deal about each other’s business areas,” says Robert Lang, Managing Director of wienerberger Italy.

Robert Lang joined wienerberger straight from the University of Economics and Business in Vienna, the city in which he was born and grew up. In Bologna he enjoys the many opportunities for day trips to destinations such as Venice, Florence or Milan. When Dorien, who is from Belgium, wants to relax she not only enjoys reading, she is also an enthusiastic member of a classical ballet group. Away from the office, both Dorien and Robert enjoy spending time with their families and outdoors in the fresh air. 

Robert Lang

My Tip for Mentees: Speak Freely

Man stands on a stockyard for bricks, looks into the camera © Valentina Ciccanti

“As a mentee it is important to open up and share your doubts and challenges. As mentors we have very likely found ourselves in similar situations and can help.”

Robert Lang

Managing Director of wienerberger Italy

“It was a big advantage for both of us that we deal with similar issues in our work. This meant we could get down to the details very quickly and learn a great deal from one another."

Man on a stage

Knut Jøssang

Manager for Digital Built Environment at Pipelife Norway

Knut Jøssang and Zoran Davidovski

Our Gains: We Both Learned a Great Deal from One Another in the Mentoring Program

For Knut Jøssang from Pipelife Norway and Zoran Davidovski from Pipelife, mentoring is a two-way process. Knut, Manager für Digital Built Environment familiarized Zoran in greater detail with the world of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Zoran, Head of R&D and Sustainability at Pipelife, gave his mentee a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding ESG and sustainability in the Piping Solutions division. “We had a huge additional benefit in as much as we deal with similar issues in our work,” Knut Jøssang reveals. “This enabled us to get down to the details very quickly and we were able to learn a great deal from one another.”

“Knut was practically just as much my mentor, as I was his,” Zoran Davidovski chuckles. “Our meetings showed me once more just how important it is to make room for different approaches. This is how fresh impetus and ideas are generated.“ One challenge for both men: Finding time for mentoring sessions in their busy schedules. But also outside the program they discovered they were very useful contacts for one another.

Zoran can look back on more than 25 years in the piping business. Originally from Croatia, he has lived in Austria since almost the turn of the millennium. In his leisure time, the mechanical engineer is an enthusiastic runner. Knut, who holds a Master’s degree in Energy and Environment, is responsible for market-relevant product information – for the last seven years, at Pipelife. He lives with his family on the southern coast of Norway where he enjoys spending time pottering about on his boat. 

“Our meetings showed me once more just how important it is to make room for different approaches. This is how fresh impetus and ideas are generated.“

Man infront of gray background

Zoran Davidovski

Head of R&D and Sustainability at Pipelife

About Mentoring at wienerberger

The wienerberger mentoring program, run by the Learning and Development Department, connects talents with more experienced employees in the company. The mentoring process usually lasts around 18 months. Participants decide in a transparent and confidential framework how exactly they wish to structure their mentoring relationship. In addition, wienerberger also offers a range of development opportunities, be that in the form of topic-specific trainings or talent programs such as Ready2Grow, Ready4Excellence and Ready4Expertise.

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