Outside The Comfort Zone


Bayer employee Aaron Tepperman has a passion for outdoor adventures in his leisure time – he explains how this has also shaped his approach to work.

Aaron Tepperman

Aaron Tepperman

NGO Engagement Manager, Europe

Canoe tripping and paddling white water in Northern Canada. Multiday scrambling to summits in Kenya, Romania, Turkey and Bangladesh. Three-week self-supported cycle touring journeys in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan and Oman. Mountaineering trips from Uganda to France. What do all of these activities have in common?

They deliver the experiences that help me to thrive in my back-to-reality 'every day'."

By travelling through vast landscapes outside of my comfort zone, I have learned that preparedness, an open mind and a strong team are very important. They are essential for tackling uniquely cross-cultural interactions or unpredictable and unforgiving environments.

I need a special inner attitude for my adventures. I have to stay calm when climbing precariously thousands of meters above the ground and bear the physical pain when tackling endless serpentines by bicycle in a foreign country. All these experiences help me in dealing with the complex tasks and challenges in stakeholder engagement. For any situation, my decision making is driven by approaching big objectives one small step at a time, while committing to the principles of adaptability and humility. This results, for example, in knowing when to turn around on a mountain, despite the enormous emotional and mental defeat.

Heightened sense of awareness for work challenges

My approach to work challenges is shaped by my experiences in the outdoors. In the wild it’s critical to continuously be aware of your surroundings, while constantly observing conditions and reacting to changes. This heightened sense of awareness brings a certain perspective to work challenges. Eventually, seizing on the unexpected, taking on new tasks, and seeing no project as too daunting have become my default and natural reaction. In the end, it is always by combining preparedness, an open mind and being part of a strong team with adaptability and humility that carries me through my daily work.

Even though I am convinced in some moments to have taken the right steps, I cannot avoid questioning them. Here again, I draw from my imaginary knapsack of experiences in the outdoors. The weight of these decisions is unmistakably different between outdoor and professional pursuits. However, the perseverance and confidence needed to face down challenging situations in the outdoors are the same qualities needed for my work.

Monica Story

A Year Abroad