The bouncy Ball of Fire
We met Nathi at renowned Agency Jung von Matt and let us tell you, boy was she a BOSS. She knew exactly how to get what she wanted, how to charm clients and she was always the life of the party, a real goofball on lunch breaks, ski weekends and christmas dinners. After 7 years with the agency, she made a bold move and packed her bags for Berlin to join the start-up Kids. Now she’s back in Zurich and building up Kids Zurich.
We love Nathi’s drive, her strong opinions and her sense of humor. We talked to her about women in leading positions, the gender pay gap and how she handles the current Covid-19 situation.
Tell us a little bit about Kids? What do you guys do exactly and who can profit from working with you? What is the process like?
Kids is a culture design agency based in Berlin and Zurich. We are an international team of strategists, cultural designers, team builders and all-round creatives who all grew up in cultures with overtime, strict hierarchies and chaotic structures. We founded Kids to reinvent the way people work together. And this is what we do - we coach teams to become more innovative, effective and dynamic. Our partners we work with are organisations or departments going through a transformation into more agile, innovative and inspiring workplaces. By developing customised tools, methods and processes we help them find the right culture for their company.
So you just opened the playground in February and now Covid-19 hit us all hard. How are you coping with this situation? What’s changed for you?
Basically everything has changed. All our Kids projects are on hold and of course the Playground (our creative space for workshops, team meetings and events) is locked down. As many others, we are fighting our way through this time and we are giving everything we have to keep Kids alive. We’ve had to rediscover our own company culture during this period, by keeping our team spirit with weekly check-ins, by supporting our partners with tips for remote collaboration and by still finding ways to be creative. Last week we just launched an office noise generator - providing the soothing tones of modern office life to help people focus when working from home :) Simply said, we try to live up to our name: we don't worry about the future and stay positive.
What is something you find extremely challenging in your work field? What is very rewarding??
I guess for me personally the biggest challenge is to settle into my new role. Running a company, being responsible for people and making sure to get enough projects in order to keep everyone busy. Honestly I’ve had quite a few moments in the past half year asking myself, if I really want/can do this and also toying with the idea of taking the easier option and just being employed somewhere. But it's exactly in these moments that I remind myself of how lucky I am. I have a unique team living a unique culture, I am my own boss, I can basically work from everywhere and I’m learning so much. So I guess this is the most rewarding for me.
The gender pay gap is a huge topic in Switzerland at the moment. Just because women don’t talk about money as much as men doesn’t mean they don’t understand finances as well as their male counterparts. Yet it still feels like women are more uncomfortable around this topic. Why do you think that is?
Maybe because we treat this subject in an emotional and not factual/rational way. And with this have hard times to communicate, argue and make demands. I think women are more emotional, yes, which makes them great at their jobs in some ways (for example, people management and empathy) but tends to hinder their negotiation skills. Of course it requires courage and self-confidence to acknowledge your own value and your performance. But that's what it takes, regardless of gender.
What’s a mistake you see get made all the time, even by very smart people? What have you learned from that to handle it the right way?
Taking things for granted.
The past year has taught me a lot. My mum got seriously ill and I would say I went through the worst and saddest times of my life so far. I realised how everything around me became unimportant and put many things into perspective. This experience made me much more relaxed about questions like “will Kids be successful in Zurich”, “will the Playground idea work” etc. If it works out, amazing. And if not, I did not lose anything but time and money. From this experience, I personally have learned that I can't take anything for granted but also where my priorities lie. Such as, that health is the most important thing we have. I couldn’t think of a more important reminder for people during this current COVID situation.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years form now?
Phu, what a question. Honestly, I don’t really have a 10 year plan, I don’t even have a 1 year plan. But I’ll take a chance and dream.
I live in Zurich, still somewhere near the lake and close to my family. With a couple of friends Oli (my partner) and I are living in a big house. Once a month I go to visit my family in Norway and work from there. And as usual every year we do a 2-month break to travel around Europe with our VW bus – and take our two lovely kids with us. Talking about kids – Kids Zurich will have made its way and is a small but sweet team of 10 people.
It’s okay to dream, right? :)
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Best delivery restaurants in Zurich: Tenz Momos, San Gennaro (the best Neapolitan pizza in town) and the falafel from Palestine Grill
Currently listening to: It’s time for me to fly - REO Speedwagon (haha, turn up the volume properly ☺)
Go-to work wardrobe: The classic: High-waisted blue jeans, a white T, golden earrings and nice sneakers or leather loafers.
How to unwind after a long day at work: Blow off steam with some kind of movement (tennis or running) and reward myself with a nice asian dish - Pad Kra Pao or Panaeng Curry
The perfect day would be like this: Go running at the lake, take a coffee at the market, go skiing for some hours, have a nice glass of rosé down at the lake again and cook a nice dinner for my friends.
Can’t live without: Family, friends, music, nature and prosecco.
Most used emojis: 🙌 🌮💛
Most overrated word: Money
Finish this sentence "Women should be more: self confident and true to themselves”