Als Berater für Persönlichkeitsentwicklung fand Karl Fordemann seine zweite Berufung. Am Beispiel einer gestalteten Tonscheibe verdeutlicht er, was der Mensch mit seinen Händen auszudrücken vermag (Bild: Privat).

Karl Fordemann found his second calling as a consultant for self-development. Using the example of a shaped clay disc, he illustrates what humans are able to express with their hands (photo: private).

Alumni commitment
Mentor Karl Fordemann

“This is meaningful living at its best!”

17. May 2021
Reading time Min.
After more than twenty years as its Managing Director, TUM Alumni Karl Fordemann decided to leave the family brewery. From 2009 until the end of 2021, he will lead an academy for personal development, where he still works as a freelancer and trainer. A decision that has not been easy for him. What he has learned from this experience, he is now passing on to his mentees.
Karl Fordemann studied Brewing and Beverage Technology at the TUM Campus Weihenstephan in Freising, the “Mecca of beer brewing”. He followed this up with postgraduate studies in Ergonomics and Economics. After all, it was a tremendous responsibility to take over Herford Brewery, which had been run by the family for five generations.

As managing partner of the traditional brewery, Karl Fordemann increasingly recognized how important proper staff management is. “It takes more than engineering knowledge to passionately produce excellent beer,” he says. “It only works if you have employees who are equally enthusiastic.”


Karl Fordemann took part in several further training courses on human resources management and development. He eventually decided to do something for himself as well and signed up for a seminar in self-development. For even though he found his work in the brewery to be varied and fulfilling, unresolved issues in his day-to-day life and particularly power struggles among the shareholders increasingly got to him.

Karl Fordemann had already encountered Viktor E. Frankl and his well-known book “Man’s Search for Meaning” as a boarding school student. In it, the founder of Logotherapy and Existential Psychotherapy recounts his experiences in various concentration camps. As part of the training, Karl Fordemann once again encountered the Austrian psychotherapist and his meaning-based Logotherapy. The psychotherapeutic approach is rooted in finding meaning and striving for a sense of purpose, even and especially in contradictory circumstances in life. “Viktor E. Frankl taught me that all the challenges you face in life carry a call for meaning,” Karl Fordemann explains. “For the first time, I asked myself in all seriousness whether I wanted to work in the family brewery for the rest of my life.”


As a result, Karl Fordemann now saw the company’s internal conflicts as a stimulus for professional reorientation. He wanted to embark on a path of self-development. For almost fifteen years, he struggled with the decision to permanently leave his family’s company. “You don’t just give up a traditional family business,” he says. And yet he consistently worked towards it by continuing his training in Logotherapy. And when the brewery was sold to a much larger family business, Karl Fordemann knew once and for all that his future would no longer be in this field. – From 2009 until the end of 2021, he was managing partner of Hohenbrunner Akademie, now Grünwalder Akademie, with which he is still associated as a freelancer. Then and now, he is happier than ever: “I struggled for a long time, but in the end it was exactly the right decision.”

Mentor Karl Fordemann

Karl Fordemann (photo: private).

Karl Fordemann met his wife at a student carnival prom in 1976. At the time, Sabine Berthold-Fordemann was studying at LMU’s College of Education. When the two are not busy teaching at Hohenbrunn Akademie – since 2022 Grünwalder Akademie – they enjoy spending time in the mountains together.


The focus of the seminars and workshops offered by the Munich-based training center is on increasing the participants’ self-awareness. With profound conviction, Karl Fordemann points out how important it is to live in full awareness in the here and now and to recognize those opportunities that create meaning in one’s life. “It’s quite a joy,” he says about his second calling. “It is meaningful living at its best!” Large companies such as Allianz, BMW, DaimlerChrysler and especially family businesses send their employees to Karl Fordemann.


Karl Fordemann

For many years, Karl Fordemann has been passing on this meaning-based approach to life as a mentor in the TUM Mentoring Program for Students by Alumni. He has already mentored six students in individual mentoring sessions. In TUM Mentoring Classic, alumni serve as personal mentors for students and doctoral candidates for the duration of one year. They support their mentees individually in their personal and professional development. Dozens of times, Karl Fordemann has also offered free workshops and seminars for TUM students on meaning-based self-management, especially in the times of COVID.

Karl Fordemann maintains close and friendly contact with his mentees. Hardly surprising, since he imparts his formula for a meaningful life with incredible warmheartedness: slowing down, focusing on the essentials, appreciating the small things and the great gratitude and satisfaction that ensue. “I am highly convinced of the idea and the concept of the TUM Mentoring Program,” he says. “Is there anything better for a young person than to build trust with a colleague of their own choosing who has professional experience, in order to work with them on questions about life after graduation?”

Karl Fordemann

Karl Fordemann (photo: private).

Karl Fordemann

Diploma Brewing and Beverage Technology 1980, postgraduate studies Ergonomics and Economics 1982

Karl Fordemann studied Brewing and Beverage Technology at TUM and completed postgraduate studies in Ergonomics and Economics. From 1985 to 2007 he was managing partner at Herford Brewery, where he was responsible for production, technology and quality management.

Since 1993, Karl Fordemann has been attending several further training courses in Germany and Austria in the field of self-development, Logotherapy as meaning-based psychotherapy and Logotherapy as meaning-based leadership. From 2009 to the end of 2021, he was managing partner of the Hohenbrunn Academy, and since 2022, he has been a freelancer at the newly founded Grünwalder Academy. As a long-time mentor in the TUM Mentoring Program for Students by Alumni, he is introducing his mentees to the topic of meaning-based self-management.

With his wife Sabine Berthold-Fordemann, who is also a trainer at Hohenbrunn Akademie, Karl Fordemann has two adult sons. Following their development and that of his granddaughter is a matter close to Karl Fordemann’s heart.