The first language trips that she offered went like this: Her husband drove the rented bus, Barbara Jaeschke was the supervisor of the language students and jingled through England with them.

That was around 40 years ago. Since then, the family business, which has been based on Oderberger Straße in Prenzlauer Berg since 2006, has grown successfully: Barbara Jaeschke’s company GLS not only offers language trips abroad, but also includes a language school and campus on Kastanienallee on 16,000 square meters, with the hotel adjacent Oderberger and the Stadtbad – the 66-year-old runs everything together with her two daughters Verena (38) and Reemda (32).

The company has 150 employees, and almost 5,000 guests a year come to the city to learn languages ​​and stay an average of 14 days, during which they spend money and thus enrich the Berlin economy, says Jaeschke. GLS had a turnover of around 30 million before the pandemic, the corona crisis threatened the company’s existence, but thanks to the bridging aid and loans, the company was able to survive.

“Now we’re at 15 million, and the trend is going up,” says Jaeschke. With this “success story” among other things, Jaeschke wants to convince the members of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) to vote for her in just under a week: Because the chamber elections are coming up, and Jaeschke is demanding – as reported – the only applicant to date for the honorary post , Sebastian Stietzel.

To the surprise of all observers, the current IHK President Daniel-Jan Girl was not re-elected to the General Assembly in May. “It’s not a contest candidacy, it’s a candidacy. It is below the level of the Chamber of Commerce when there is only one candidate and they only give their nod,” said Barbara Jaeschke on Tuesday morning at a press breakfast. The date has nothing to do with the chamber elections next Tuesday, she wants to clarify.

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She was blown away by the fact that Daniel-Jan Girl, who is “dynamic” as she puts it, didn’t get enough votes. She would not have competed against him. But against Stietzel. “He’s a different guy,” she says.

The IHK presidential election will be a “choice of personality”. That’s why she, like her opponent, is trying to convince the members of the chamber: with lots of phone calls and lots of conversations. She stands for 40 years of successful entrepreneurship, she went through a deep crisis during the Corona period – with this whole breadth of experience she wants to take responsibility.