employees holding hands

Employee profiles

Andrew Till
Andrew Till

Vice President, Partnerships and New Sales, Connected Services
Winchester, Hampshire, UK

For me, sustainability means leaving the world in a better shape for the next generations.

I’ve always found that there is a tremendous sense of reward in doing things for other people. At the age of 13, I started to work as a coach for disabled children and would typically spend my Saturday mornings coaching soccer and basketball. At 16, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was very lucky and had great doctors supporting me, as well as amazing support from my family and friends. While I have been lucky enough to go on to live a normal life, I got to see the impact it has on people and their families, and sadly, have lost too many friends to cancer. It was natural for me to start fundraising and doing something to help others and give something back to all the people who helped me to get through my illness.

My experience has made me who I am, and it enables me to understand how other cancer sufferers feel. It’s not just meeting people in the hospital but in everyday situations where you develop a sense that people are facing a challenge and need to talk. I share my story so that they know there is hope and that you can come out the other side and go on to achieve your dreams. I strongly believe people need to dream and it’s when you stop dreaming that you truly lose hope. Seeing the look in someone’s eyes, in that moment, when you know you’ve given them hope is for me an incredible gift, you know you’ve helped them find more strength to fight and overcome their personal challenges.

Andy Tsui
Andy Tsui

Senior Director, Smart Audio and Accessories BU Leader, Lifestyle Audio
Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China

Everyone has the ability and responsibility to minimize the negative impact to the environment. Sustainability is the awareness and commitment to a behavioral change.

The dual degree program in technology and management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a very unique program in Hong Kong. It is designed to train well-rounded leaders and equip them with both business and technical knowledge. I began my collaboration with HKUST, because the outcome of the program is the talent HARMAN is looking for. In the intense three-month long program with HARMAN, we simulate real life business challenges and provide coaching. It is very meaningful to engage with young talent and groom them to become future leaders.

The most meaningful moment is the final presentation: Each student presents their product concept and business case to our HARMAN executives. It is amazing to witness the growth and transformation of the students in three-months time. We can tell the students genuinely enjoy the program and learn from it.

Brenda Soto
Brenda Soto

Office Manager, Professional Solutions
Puerto Rico

I view sustainability as the ability to satisfy current needs without compromising the future and its resources. We need to make sure that what we do now does not harm our future generation’s development and possibilities.

My 15-year old niece, Coral, has been my inspiration to get involved with Community Outreach in Puerto Rico on behalf of HARMAN. She attends the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music for singing classes. It was at one of her recitals that I felt that it was our responsibility to provide kids with tools to develop their potential. The Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, founded over 50 years ago, is considered among the best in the world. It has been awarded with the Steinway certification, which is given to those schools that demonstrate a full commitment to excellence in the study of music. I knew that HARMAN, which is fully committed to excellence in their products, and to supporting music education for our future generations, needed to be part of this distinguished institution.

The most meaningful moment for me was when I got to watch the Conservatory’s Young Jazz Band using our products in one of their presentations. Their performance was absolutely flawless!

Hector Epardo
Hector Epardo

Director, HR, North America Manufacturing, Operations
Querétaro, Mexico

Sustainability goes much further than the environment. We should look at sustainability from a holistic point of view. For our society, sustainability should exist in a multidimensional way. There should be harmony between present and future generations, social classes, men, women and our communities and with the environment – keeping in mind that it nurtures each and every one of us. We must be accountable for sustaining our good work through our actions — whether it’s supporting children to continue their studies, equal opportunity for all, making inclusion a priority, reforestation of our communities, and something as simple as opening doors for people with disabilities.

As a holistic leader, I recognize that we are all co-creators of our culture. I take responsibility in this process worrying not only about the thousands of employees at HARMAN, but the thousands of families that interact with our planet. On the other hand, to be a competitive employer in this market, we must show the real HARMAN to the world to inspire talented people to join our team. The organizational structure and recognition that we have received as a result of our efforts, makes our employees proud to engage in initiatives related to social responsibility. The passion of our Human Resources and personnel teams shows in their dedication to all of our programming, and they motivate me to continue our team effort.

Hildur Kirchdörfer
Hildur Kirchdörfer

Senior Director, HR Europe & Global Rewards, Connected Car
Karlsbad, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

For several years, I have been supporting a preschool in Namibia and finally had the chance to visit them last year. It was a great and very touching experience, because for me it is most important to not just donate money but to find a direct way to provide support, and to know that the money goes directly to those who are in need.

When one of our employees raised the idea that HARMAN should participate in a Germany-wide call for donations for refugees, I was willing to help. We contacted the refugees’ home right next to our HARMAN campus in Karlsbad to see what they need. We were told that bicycle helmets for children, bicycles and also chairs would be more than welcome.

Deal! We sent an email to our employees and asked for their help and received a lot of support. The refugees’ home is planning their own bicycle workshop. We offered the support of our technical apprentices and their trainers to come to the refugees’ home to instruct the refugees in how to repair their bicycles.

We also worked with authorities and fortunately were able to hire our first intern, Efrem Tesfay from Eritrea. Efrem will be trained together with our technical apprentices every Thursday for six months.

The people of HARMAN here in Karlsbad are open to ideas, happy to offer their support whenever needed. We have only taken a few small steps, but we will keep on living our HARMAN values and make sure to do the right things at the right time.

Kristi Marley
Kristi Marley

Senior Project Manager, Industrialization, Operations
Farmington Hills, Michigan

Serving on the HARMAN Sustainability Council has renewed my interest in green technology and expanded my interest in social responsibility.I am grateful for this opportunity because it’s allowed me to understand how HARMAN makes decisions that affect our shareholders, employees and the communities in which we live.

I was nominated to be the sustainability chairperson for my organization, but as I learned more about sustainability and what it means from a business perspective, it excited me to work as the driver to apply these practices in our organization.

The best moment for me working on the project came when I realized that I could be part of the efforts to bring sustainability into the everyday mindset of the organization and make a difference at HARMAN by advocating for best practices and implementing change.

Madhuri Deshpande
Madhuri Deshpande

Senior Human Resources Generalist, Connected Services
Bangalore, India

For me, sustainability is about bringing long lasting, positive changes in the organization and in the lives of people.

I lost my husband nine years ago when my daughter was in 8th grade. I started working full-time, and decided to also get involved in volunteer work during the weekends to occupy my time. I joined an organization called Dream a Dream, and every Sunday morning I taught basic computer classes to students at a government school. My daughter came with me, and she started enjoying volunteer work, too. After that, I also volunteered for a mentorship program where I mentored two girls at an orphanage, one in 8th and the other in 10th grade. Since they only spoke Kannada, I helped them learn Hindi and some English, and also helped them with their schoolwork in other subjects like math. All of the kids I got to know at the orphanage, including the two girls I mentored, were very bright, but did not have the support to do well. The mentorship program was very useful to them, and I feel proud that the girls I taught passed 10th grade and completed technical college degrees. They are now out of the orphanage and living independently. If these kids are given the encouragement and opportunities like my daughter had at a young age, they can do big things in life.

When I started with the Be an Angel* program we did not have any volunteers in the group. I was a part of the Analytics Division at that time, and no one on the team had any experience in teaching. I put together a group of 10 volunteers and gave them initial directions and advice. After that, they all enjoyed the volunteer work and looked forward to the weekends to do the work. They also began taking the initiative to drive the program themselves. Being able to encourage others to dedicate some time to volunteer work was very meaningful to me.

* Be an Angel was the former Symphony Teleca’s CSR program, which is now part of HARMAN Inspired

Markus Haarmann
Markus Haarmann

Human Resources, Connected Car
Karlsbad, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Sustainability to me means taking responsibility for the future and our mindful management of the resources we have today, such as water or energy, and including the human being — or from a company perspective the employee — as an important resource we need to sustain. Acting in a responsible way with a thought and eye to the future brings security for the success of a company and for the people that work for it.

Getting teenagers motivated and curious about technical things is a challenge I am taking up with joy. When their curiosity and excitement for technical subjects turns into seeking information and knowledge, young people evolve to become responsible personalities in both their professional and private lives. Being part of this process, supporting the teenagers in their development and seeing them grow as personalities also gives me personally a good feeling of having achieved something.

It is always great to see how excited the girls and boys get about technology. A special highlight for me is to have school classes of students aged 10-12 coming out to our facility for a joint project and seeing that famous shine in their eyes when they are so fascinated about the new experiences they have and things they see. And of course kids always give a very honest feedback whether they like something or not.

Narendra Bhagwat
Narendra Bhagwat

Manager, Product Engineering, Connected Services
Maharshtra, India

To me, sustainability means doing things in a planned, scientific manner over an extended period of time and then, achieving the basic goals set with desired results.

I am a bird photographer. After moving from the U.S. to India, I had a hard time finding places to take photos of birds perching in trees, which inspired me to plant trees.

We have been working on plantation drives since 2007 and have planted 1,000 every year during the monsoon season in India, maintaining the plantings throughout the year. Now, we have 8,000 trees, the bird count in these areas has increased along with improved soil quality and water levels. Some of our trees have even grown to 25 feet tall and many HARMAN employees visit the site for fun to look at our progress.

It’s meaningful to see children of colleagues helping to plant trees, and to see the trees bear fruit for the first time.