What is it like to work in two roles at the same time? Samuel Lei, Executive Assistant of CPM and Rights & Permission Manager, shares his insights and what he appreciates most about Karger at the moment.
Take us through a day in your work life. What are some of the work habits you’ve developed over the years that help you maintain productivity?
There are two things that come to my mind. First, as I have to switch roles between being Executive Assistant of CPM and Rights & Permission Manager (where I share responsibilities), I try to separate my tasks like working on Rights & Permission emails only after lunch.
And secondly for bigger tasks where I need to brainstorm or focus on one subject at a time, you can call this deep work, I block 1-2 hours in my calendar. During this time I focus only on this one task/project, without the distraction of emails or Teams chat; which I shut down during this block.
What motivated you to apply for a position at Karger?
I’d rather answer the question “What motivated me to say yes to a position at Karger?”. I decided to sign my contract because I sensed back in mid-2017 that there is not only change happening at Karger, but also a lot of opportunities waiting for me. I felt Karger was an employer I’d like to work at right from the beginning. From my point of view this has not changed, which apparently also has a lot to do with the team I am working in – CPM.
What has been your experience during the remote work over the last two years?
Lots of flexibility, which brings freedom but responsibilities at the same time. I was able to quickly adapt to this and learned that there is always a chance to grow when facing a crisis.
What do you enjoy the most about your time at Karger?
Being involved in different kinds of activities, tasks and departments like answering requests for reuse of a table from an article in Rights & Permission, researching a healthcare topic, making the publication plan of CPM available internally, working with international clients or making short introductions to CPM to new employees at Karger. Also, I find the wide variety of departments that I am working with interesting. And so on … Actually, there is a lot more that I like about working at Karger.
What would you like someone who’s interested in applying to Karger to know?
The currently implemented remote guidelines and the flexibility that comes with it. I appreciate this a lot, since I have kids myself. This working mode comes with, as I said earlier, more responsibilities but also more freedom in terms of work-life balance. Sometimes this is dismissed as lip-service instead of acknowledged as something that actually is being done. Karger has acted with integrity when it comes to this matter, which cannot be appreciated highly enough from my point of view.
What publications do you read most, podcasts you listen to, any books you are currently reading?
I read fiction as well as non-fiction. To try to be a better human being and work on being happier in life I’d recommend to aim for a book a week. If that’s too much, cut some of your daily news, which in larger amounts can be toxic anyway, in my opinion. There is no other shortcut to getting there (being happy and fulfilled). If that makes sense … at least it does for me.
Are you interested in a career at Karger? Explore our current job opportunities at our job portal. Also, find out what Stephanie does in the role as a “Strategy, Innovation & Venture Specialist”.
This November the University of Basel awarded Gabriella Karger, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at Karger Publishers, an honorary doctoral degree. Gabriella Karger thereby joined a family tradition: both her grandfather and her father were also given this honor. In an interview Gabriella spoke about what this honorary degree means to her and why she would like to share the credit.
Gabriella Karger receiving the honorary doctorate
© University of Basel, Christian Flierl
Congratulations, Gabriella, on receiving your honorary degree from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Basel. What was your first thought when you heard the news?
“Wow, that’s great! What an honor! That’s wonderful.” But since I’m a modest Basler as well it was also a little embarrassing. I was just doing my job. But of course I was overjoyed about it, especially for the publishing house. The distinction shows how much we all accomplish together, the Karger team.
What does an honorary degree mean to you?
This distinction is something very special to me. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Basel has a very good reputation. Being honored by Basel means that I was able to carry this good reputation of my hometown, and of the seat of this publishing house, out into the wider world, and that I can continue to do so.
Moreover I see myself as the representative of my generation, which is why I would like to dedicate this honor to the memory of my brother Steven, who led this business until he passed far too young.
Why were you given this honorary degree?
From the activities that were listed by Professor Schär, the dean of the medical faculty, in his Laudatio address, I would emphasize two of them: the support of young researchers, and scientific communication.
We support the development of young researchers at the University of Basel by taking part in the annual science month of the Faculty of Medicine for over ten years now . Moreover it will soon be twenty years now that we’ve been involved with the Faculty of Psychology in funding the Steven Karger Prize for the best dissertations.
Internationally, we began in 2020 by establishing the Vesalius Innovation Award focusing on startups in the health sciences and scientific publishing.
And what were the reasons for the honorary degree involving scientific communication?
We published the masterpiece of the anatomist Andreas Vesalius in an English translation; that was something special and unique for me. Vesalius wrote medical history more than 500 years ago with his atlas “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” and is rightly called the father of anatomy. The English translation of his oeuvre is important for an understanding of all of medicine — both historically as well as for the future.
For this reason I have also pushed for the digitalization of all Karger publications, so that now practically every text we publish is available online — medicine can also learn a lot from history.
With our efforts in the domain of open science we are taking our traditional role of making medical content as broadly available as possible into the future. We would like to make new scientific findings openly accessible in order to advance the health sciences. Here a sustainable transformation is important to us to ensure that the interests of all our stakeholders are still upheld.
All of these projects are planned and implemented together with many other Karger employees. Is the honorary degree a distinction for the entire Karger company?
Yes, absolutely. We all live the idea of “Connecting and Advancing Health Sciences”. This is not the achievement of any individual. For this reason I accept this distinction as the bearer of the Karger name for all who help to carry Karger. For me as an entrepreneur it is very clear that this distinction was earned by many people together. Besides the staff of Karger Publishers I also share this distionction with my family, who have supported me and us as a family business in everything.
What does the company mean for your family?
Very much! We all agree that we absolutely wish to continue this business. Of course none of us know how the industry will change and what challenges we will face. It is important that the family shares an engagement, interest and understanding for the company.
Your grandfather, Heinz Karger, and also your father Thomas were both given the honorary doctorate. How was that at the time?
I can remember very well when my father received the honorary degree in 1993. It meant a lot to him, because he had to take over the company as a 29-year-old after the sudden death of his father. It was a validation of his work, for him, also because Basel and the close contact with the university were particularly important to him. Unfortunately he can no longer see the ceremony this year. He certainly would have been more than proud to see me also received the same distinction.
What does this distinction mean for Karger as a publisher?
It is a confirmation that Karger Publishers is pursuing the right strategy. Like those before me, we offer an important platform for the exchange between scientists by publishing their research following its assessment by their peers. But research is never finished, especially if it fails to look at the bigger picture. The clarification of the research for the clinical and practical context has to be ensured as well as conversely informing researchers of the feedback from patients and doctors. The Karger publishing house has a rich history and I’m happy to continue writing this history together with my family, with all the Karger staff, and with our important partners in the sciences, in industry and in publishing.
Sophie manages the Karger brand and has accompanied its launch from the beginning. As a studied biologist with an additional education in communication, and an interest for design, branding at a scientific publisher is the perfect topic for her. She hates excel and loves coffee.