Mpowered. By Women for Women: Helga Ellul Part 1

Mpowered. By Women for Women: Helga Ellul Part 1

Meet Helga Ellul – A driven and ambitious woman who is the former CEO of Playmobil Malta and former President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce.




Helga Ellul’s career started in 1968 and her relationship with Malta dates back to 1974, when Geobra Brandstaetter, the company she had been working with for five years in Germany, seconded her on the Maltese Islands. Throughout her time in Malta, Helga established herself as one of Malta’s foremost business leaders, including becoming the CEO of Playmobil Malta. She left the organisation in 2012 to set up her own consultancy firm that offers know-how on corporate business, especially succession planning, governance, and HR. She is also a past President of the Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the ‘Midalja għal-Qadi tar-Repubblika’ in 1994. Helga also received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit on behalf of the German President by the German Ambassador Bernd Braun in 2011. Apart from all of these successes, Helga is also a mother, a wife, and a grandmother. Scroll down to listen to the full podcast.

Although Helga is not Maltese, she certainly left a massive impact on Malta. ‘It started way back. I had lovely parents. My father was very conservative, and my mother was a stay-at-home mum. From my father’s side, he always taught us that nothing comes from nothing and if you make a mistake, you need to own up to it. He taught me a lot. I loved school and I was quite a good student, but I was very undecided. I loved physics and also art, so I didn’t know what to do. So, my father told me to start apprenticeship and that is where I got into business and love it’.

After working in a couple of German companies, Helga found herself at Geobra Brandstaetter, a family run business. One day, she stood up to her boss because she believed that she was in the right and this earned her respect. ‘The company wanted to expand, and we decided on Malta since it was small and perfect for quick results. We had just launched Playmobil, and I came to Malta to run it here. I drove her on my own. I was young and full of adventure’.

‘My parents were a bit taken aback that I had left on my own. My father was the one who was more understanding. My mother was very different from me. She could never understand that I enjoyed work.’


Playmobil was a huge success. Children loved it and wanted more of it. ‘My boss had a very rare quality that he could still understand what children wanted. His idea was that most toys did not show a face. He believed that children needed to associate with toys that looked human. The size of the toys was also important since they could fit in a child’s hand. The one thing about Playmobil is that it is so simple. He wanted children to use their imagination. None of us knew the power of Playmobil. The minute it was in children’s’ hands, it was a success.’



Being a foreign woman in a foreign country was an advantage for Helga. ‘Foreigners gave the impression that we did things differently and that worked out great for me because I was never the conventional type. I was the crazy German foreigner and the Maltese held German people with great respect.’

Helga admits that she was always passionate about business and that she loves people. ‘I think that if you empower people and listen to them, you will go far. I always took young people because you can mould them. I also think that women look at things differently and that is our power. Women don’t realise how powerful they can be. You don’t have to be a businesswoman if you don’t love it because you need to have a passion for it. If you don’t enjoy your work, change it. You have to feel good about what you do’.

Helga’s story is an incredible one, which is why she will be coming back for Part 2! As a concluding message to this podcast, Helga empowers women to be themselves and to always stay humble.

‘If you do not know something, ask and learn. Be open to criticism. Be yourself and have a passion for what you’re doing. You only have one life and time is a valuable thing. Do not waste it!’

Listen to the full podcast below.