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Multitalented Diana Jakob: From Forklift Ballet to Driving Forklifts for Netflix

Diana Jakob represents the third generation of her family to work at Linde Material Handling as her grandfather and father were also employed by the KION subsidiary. In her 20 years at Linde MH, the marketing expert has experienced a great deal. She has spent several years working in Spain, choreographed a “forklift ballet” and was lucky enough to work on a Netflix series as a forklift driver.


Karoline Gellrich

A sunny afternoon in a quiet garden in Aschaffenburg, in the mid-1990s: A girl is sitting in the sandbox playing with toy forklift trucks. Linde trucks, of course—no other brand would be allowed here. The little girl’s name is Diana Jakob and she comes from a true forklift family: Her father Bernhard works in the Development department at Linde MH, one of the the largest forklift manufacturer in Europe. And Grandpa Josef also worked for the company as a mechanic, although at the time the company was still called Güldner and built tractors instead of forklifts.

Fast forward to April 2024, and Diana Jakob has now been working at Linde Material Handling for almost 20 years. She is currently a member of the Marketing & Brand Communications team, which takes care of the worldwide marketing of Linde forklifts. Many employees at the EMEA headquarters, such as those in accounting or human resources, have never sat behind the controls of a forklift before. However—despite also being a desk worker, at least according to her job description—Diana is more than a match for her colleagues in the production hall or in the warehouse.

Diana Jakob's family has been working at Linde MH for several generations. Here she is standing with her father at the plant in Aschaffenburg. Her grandfather was already employed at Linde MH.

Developing and Testing the Course at the StaplerCup

Diana Jakob effortlessly maneuvers forklifts with a great deal of skill and expertise. And no wonder: “I got my forklift license 15 years ago,” she says, “at that time I had finished my training and worked in sales for the German dealer network.” And Diana quickly made a name for herself there, thanks in particular to her ability to explain complex technologies in a way that everyone can understand.
What’s more, thanks to her talent for imparting knowledge and expertise in a playful way, she was also involved in the annual forklift driving championship, the “StaplerCup”. “I helped to plan and develop the course at various stages and also carried out test drives,” she says.

Diana Jakob supports the development of the forklift cup ("StaplerCup") course in Aschaffenburg.

Forklift Choreography at the StaplerCup in Aschaffenburg

Diana Jakob and a few of her female colleagues caused a sensation at the 2014 StaplerCup when they staged a “forklift ballet”: The team of young drivers made their forklifts dance by turning them around their own axis, and moving the forks up or down in sync in time to music. It was simply spectacular!

“But we didn’t invent the forklift ballet,” says Diana, who attaches great importance to this truth. The idea originally came from England, where a ballet featuring reach trucks had already been performed years before: “We only choreographed and performed the forklift ballet,” says Jakob, modestly. Among those who enjoyed the performance was former German international goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who was a guest of honor at the 2014 StaplerCup and even took a selfie with the “ballet dancers.”

Diana Jakob has been working at Linde Material Handling for almost 20 years. She is part of the Marketing & Brand Communications team, which is responsible for the global marketing of Linde forklift trucks.

Job change within Europe: From Germany to Spain

Diana Jakob doesn’t always take the easy route in her career, as is demonstrated by her move to Spain. “After a two-year distance learning marketing course, I wanted to put my newly acquired knowledge to use,” she says. Since there was no suitable position at Linde MH in Germany, she looked at international roles. After some discussions, it became clear that someone with exactly her marketing and sales profile was needed in Spain. So, despite not knowing the language, she applied for the role straight away! “That was a courageous step,” she says today, looking back. Her Spanish colleagues decided to give her a chance, and Diana moved from Linde MH Germany to Linde MH Iberica for several years.

In the vibrant metropolis of Barcelona, Diana was able to contribute her professional expertise from Germany, but she also learned a lot. “The way advertising and marketing work in Spain is a bit different than in Germany,” she says. However, there is one aspect that applies to both cultures in forklift distribution: You have to think from the customer’s perspective! The aim is to gain a precise understanding of the needs of forklift drivers and warehouse planners and show them how Linde products can make their work easier, more efficient or more cost-effective. Anyone who manages to do this will be successful, in Spain as well as in Germany.

Diana Jakob got her forklift license straight after her apprenticeship. She quickly made a name for herself as an expert. Especially thanks to her ability to explain complex technologies in a way that everyone can understand.

Forklift trucks in the Netflix series “Money Heist”

In a real marketing coup, several Linde forklifts took center stage in the global hit Netflix series Money Heist; not behind the scenes, as is the case with many film productions, but in front of the camera. Diana Jakob had watched the first four seasons of La casa de papel, to give it its original Spanish title, on TV at home. “I was genuinely a huge fan of this series beforehand,” she says. And Diana was just as enthusiastic when the production company suddenly contacted Linde MH and asked about forklifts, which were to be seen in some key scenes of the fifth season.

Diana and her team seized the opportunity, contributing to the planning and execution of the scenes, and even on location during the actual shoot. “At first glance, it looks like a normal factory floor on set,” says Diana: “There’s factory security there, a canteen and high ceilings. Then suddenly there’s a famous actor from TV standing next to you!” To begin with, it was exciting and special but then it quickly became normal work.

There was one task, however, that Diana found particularly challenging: She was not allowed to say anything about the shoot or even the plot of the new Money Heist season before it was broadcast on Netflix. “I wasn’t even allowed to tell my best friends,” she says: “I was almost bursting with excitement for a year and a half!” Only once all the episodes were available online was Diana allowed to talk about her experiences and post a few photos from the shoot on LinkedIn. “It was all very exciting!” she says.

However, it was worth the wait: The fifth season of Money Heist became a worldwide smash and has now become one of the most streamed series ever. The Linde forklifts play a pivotal role in the plot and can be seen in shot in several scenes. So often, in fact, that people at Linde MH still talk about it years later. “When I tell them that I was there for the shoot, colleagues are always really excited and ask me lots of questions about it,” says Diana Jakob, laughing.

The marketing expert has now been back from Spain for two years. Back in her hometown of Aschaffenburg, and of course back in the marketing team of KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling. She is now primarily responsible for the content creation and campaign activities of the forklift company. Her career shows that creativity and courage are often rewarded on the job and that a career with the KION Group sometimes also has some surprising opportunities in store.