The Captivating Creative Boss
Inken leads a creative network from Zurich and Hamburg and is currently studying for her MBA in Creative Leadership. On top of that she is the only female board member of Art Directors Club Switzerland, organizing vernissages and events, a super cool mom of two and travelling the world for her MBA studies.
So, you are a Creative Director and studying for a MBA, a mom, a board member; did we forget anything? Where are you right now?
Thanks for reminding me that I had a life before becoming a sahm (stay at home mom) for the time being. During these strange, strange days I am proud of myself when I get dressed as if I would leave the house.
What was the greatest experience doing your MBA so far?
Getting in touch with many of my innermost fears. Like possibly being found out as the stupidest person in the room or in fact being the only person present that does neither work for Google, is a CCO, founder or otherwise somehow more advanced human. Me: freelancing mother over forty (fmof?), a classmate: your fear is just fake evidence appearing real. So true. I realized the biggest barriers I have are the ones in my head. And then of course having a night out in Shanghai was pretty great, too!
What advice do you have for women who want to make a career in the creative industry?
Look at the leaders. Are they a diverse bunch or all the same? Do they just talk or do they act on their promises? Don’t expect yourself to become the very first leading woman among just men to give a well known example. Your talent will almost certainly not get you there. It never occurred to me to find out why there were hardly any women higher up in the creative department when I started my career. I still have no solution to this persisting systemic problem, but in hindsight I wish I would have asked myself that question more, read more on the topic and be generally more prepared and up for battle!
Which woman in the global advertising scene do you admire?
Hm. There are so few and these are often “used” to windowdress the inequality issues of the ad world. Personally, I am a big fan of Jo Marie Farwick, the founder of uberground, an agency in Hamburg. I do suspect that she fell into a big kettle of testosterone when she was young, much like Obelix fell in the magic potion. Except she is thin …no, really, she has a taste for risky sports, runs her own agency, works as a director, recently built a house … AND is the mother of a toddler with an Instagram account …I don’t know how she does it.
You also try to be present at Cannes Lions, the leading creative festival, like the Cannes Film Festival for film, each year, did you see more women get credit for their work last year than the years before??
I cannot answer that, because I did not pay close attention to the awards over the last two years. The program around the Lions gets more and more sophisticated every year – so it is like a mini MBA for free. The panels are certainly more focused around and shaped by women than ever before. In 2019 I realised the topic of gender equality is not going to go away like some advertising trend.
So you’re based and work in 2 cities, Zurich and Hamburg, do you see any differences in the creative industry there?
Work happens in Switzerland, rarely international. I am a fan of remote work, but not a fan of staying put in a particular place. I had just started this nice little habit of taking the train to work in Berlin during the day, when I am in Hamburg . Different environments help me change my angle on the current job and find inspiration – but then of course Corona happened.
What would be the dream project for the dream client you would like to work on?
I do not have a dream project. I am still surprised of the variety of problems I am asked to solve and I am happy to say, after so many years, the surprises are still mostly positive! If I get to travel a bit for a project and meet a bunch of new people I do not mind though.
Favorite Quote: Today I liked this one from Mark Twain: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
Currently listening to: The audio book ”Thinking in systems” by Donella H. Meadows
How to unwind after a long day at work: Just tried to type herbal tea. But wine.
Favourite destination: The next one.
Can’t live without: My family and my phone.
Best piece of advice for success: Read all you can and talk with as many different people as possible along the way.