Elisabeth Bruckmann

Founder of BaRuIs e.V.

Claudia Bruschke is – since I know her, i.e. more than 20 years already – an energetic and enthusiastic personality, who is characterized by a great openness for new experiences, new settings and new people with their individual goals and challenges.

In the past 2 decades she has accompanied several projects in Thailand, in Liberia, in Libya, in the USA, in Canada and in Kenya under high commitment and always profitably through sometimes very complex transformation processes. In doing so, she demonstrates a remarkable ability for intercultural communication that is second to none: She knows how to fully engage with the setting in question, to observe without prejudice and with attention to detail, and in doing so, to attentively perceive what the project participants carry within themselves in terms of their own experiences and the perspectives they have formed as a result, in order to bring these into conversation with one another. In doing so, she repeatedly uncovers unspoken beliefs, convictions, habits and rules that impede a transformation process.

Putting this precisely into words and creating a shared awareness of the problem is another central component of her role as coach and mentor. I was able to experience this many times, most recently in May 2022, during various projects on Rusinga Island and am fascinated by her consistently high level of concentration and the community-building focus that she always maintains despite all the manifold individual challenges.

In this way, she succeeds again and again in raising awareness of resource and solution orientation as well as self-efficacy among the project parties. In this way, she creates a sustainable sense of unity that motivates the local partners to make their own contribution. It encourages them to address problems and challenges openly, even if this has so far been culturally taboo. To this end, she shows the sustainable opportunities through a realistic analysis of the situation, what the required and available resources are and contrasts these with the scenario of an unreflective and often typical “business as usual”. With appropriate and understandable examples from the everyday life of the people concerned, she creates insight and understanding for new methods and ways and wins the participants to face these necessary developments together. Didactic finesse, varied methods, activation of the participants and always humor make her workshops so successful and captivating.

But Claudia is more than a coach, more than a mentor: When the situation requires it, she herself lends a hand and proves the practicality of the theoretical considerations and insights from previous team meetings and workshops.

Finally, her administrative and managerial skills cannot be overestimated when it comes to detailed project planning, implementation and evaluation, as well as internationally interwoven communication and the acquisition of new sponsors. Here I experience her as extremely structured, transparent and reliable. It is a pleasure to work with Claudia so successfully!

Her personal coaching should also not go unmentioned:

No matter if it is about a professional or a personal reorientation – Claudia is present, she listens carefully, reflects and formulates neuralgic points, which she then works on together with her individual clients.

Important to her – as with the (project) groups, see above. – are unconscious convictions that have controlled previous thinking, feeling and acting and have now maneuvered the counterpart into “a dead end”. It is necessary to name these clearly and to transform those into (the profession or the personality) beneficial versions. During therapy walks and self-awareness excursions, she repeatedly directs the focus to one’s own resources and to the variety of possible solutions. “Everything starts with the right mind-set” – that’s just how I would like to summarize a key insight of my conversations with her.

It is a gift, an unimaginable enrichment and there remain positive developmental steps towards more truthfulness and focus, if one “brings Claudia on board” in these crucial life situations and life questions.

Britta Lammers

Team Leader MCHPP Liberia

Claudia Bruschke was the Deputy Team Leader of the Environmental and Social Safeguard Team in the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant. Besides her technical experience, she had a steadfast dedication to improving the lives of the poor within Liberia.  Liberia as a country has a number of unique challenges. The most important challenge to overcome was building trust in a post-conflict country. Her ability to explain complex issues in simple terms to people with little or no education so that they are able to understand the bigger picture of the project, including negative impacts as well as benefits as their own rights and obligations, was outstanding.

In addition, she is able to take herself back when necessary and to let the project affected people (PAP) solve some of the problems which arose due to the resettlement in their own way, with only little mediation and small interventions when necessary. She has a good sense for predicting problems early among settlements and/or individual PAPs caused by the ever-changing situation in the area either through the resettlement or the influx of workers. She implemented leadership training and also assisted the settlements in the creation of sanitation and waste management rules. She motivated the communities to take part in various clean-up campaigns, in which she always lent a hand herself.

During the development of the resettlement action plans and the assessment of the lost assets she integrated the PAPs in each step e.g. identification of assets, village set-up, house design. She was able to identify in a playful and very visceral way, without creating animosity among families, the respective neighbours  in order to avoid later conflicts.

Principally through her own drive and initiative, she succeeded in building trust between the PIU and the communities  in building capacity within the local staff of the PIU.

Her performance can be characterized by:

  • She is a team player and I enjoyed every day working with her, our team and the villagers.
  • She respects and fully understands the cultural differences.
  • She works independently and requires very little oversight or supervision.
  • She has exceptional communication skills and maintains communication with all stakeholders.
  • She is dedicated to improve the lives of those who are affected whilst staying pragmatic.
  • She anticipates issues and works proactively to bring them to full resolution.
  • Her opinion was highly regarded by all who worked with and alongside her.

Claudia has maintained her drive throughout the project and her effort in this regard was substantial and she provided a willingness to work draconian hours to finalize critical documents.

In summary, it would be a pleasure to work with her again.

Ralf Temmeyer

Project Director SPIE GmbH

To describe the person Claudia Bruschke, her activities and her strengths is not easy!

Claudia pursues a very modern and innovative interpretation of professional life.

Retrospectively after 2.5 years of Covid, we have come a long way, also and especially through her ideas and her way of working, optimally through the pandemic and have already taken the step into the future.

With and through Claudia, dried-up and old processes were broken up and made interesting again. Claudia has also made very conservative colleagues see new possibilities and approach tasks differently in their thinking.

What did I appreciate so much about Claudia?

First of all, she questioned the tasks! Why do I emphasize this point? Because she always asked herself whether the task could also be solved differently, or approached differently, in order to optimize and improve.

This approach initially frightened and unsettled many colleagues, but even without an existing technical understanding in our very specific area, our employees and myself, very quickly recognized the benefits.

Her manner created a new communication between the employees, which led to a greater technical exchange between the colleagues and thereby greatly improved the efficiency of our work.

Basically, her communication skills were a very important factor in our office among each other, but also in our projects at home and abroad. Our foreign department, which was managed by me as the main person in charge, has been raised to another level by Claudia. Due to her many years of experience in various countries prior to her employment in our company, she has been able to contribute her experience in an optimal way. Partly, Claudia extended projects into new fields of activity for our company, which made our company portfolio grow.

I would like to emphasize her preparatory work for the business expansion in Iran, a not so easy economic area, and our major project in Liberia. Here, the reconstruction of a hydroelectric power plant, as well as the new planning and construction of two 110 kV lines to supply the capital Monrovia were provided.

In this project, Ms. Bruschke had to take care of the coordination of all areas among each other, as well as externally. In addition, there were discussions with affected mayors and citizens on the line routes, resettlements in the reservoir area, planning of the new villages, meetings with various stakeholders, up to appointments with the Energy Minister of Liberia.

Claudia is very versatile and makes a team better with her manner and communication! My colleagues and I deeply regret to have lost her from our ranks.

Should the thought of wanting to come back occur to Claudia at any time, we will not hesitate for a second and take action to bring her back on board.