I am tired of the "perfect" stories and staying silent, so here's some real talk. TW: Su*c*de. My dream came true: CMO in Silicon Valley - but this quickly turned into a major nightmare. My 3 goals for 2022: saying more YES, taking risks, and moving back to NYC/Bay Area. Hence, I just had to accept the job offer. After many calls and due diligence, I signed the contract. I was excited. What did I have to lose? Pah, little did I know... Reactions went from “I’m speechless” to “pitch it to Netflix or write a book about it”. (Spoiler: I won’t) Here’s a short recap of the trauma, mental abuse, lies: - On day 2, I was forced to prevent the CTO’s girlfriend from actively committing suicide over FaceTime. - “You’re sh*t” and worse was said x times. - The business strategy, advisors, focus group, market research, ... everything I was promised/shown before, didn’t exist. I could continue, but you get the point. It was awful to say the least, both from a business and personal POV. Finally, I left the company. I’m sharing this unfiltered and imperfect story in honour of #mentalhealthawarenessmonth. It'll take a while to process. Please remember: - Always ask to be treated right and with respect. - Open up, ask for help, and don’t wait too long. - A job is replaceable (and so are we), but our well-being and mental health are not. - “Everything happens for a reason. Rejection is direction.” Those quotes are difficult to acknowledge at the moment, but distance helps to understand their meaning. - Silicon Valley has changed; things are just opening up again, but it’s different than pre-Covid. - Come back even stronger. Your well-being comes first, always. Whatever you're going through, you got this.
Why I dedicate my free-time mentoring others
I'm a mentor on MentorMe, Clinton Foundation and GrowthMentor. Here's why I spend my free-time with strangers, helping them accelerate their business and grow, both personally and professionally: I believe that the most authentic, fun and effective way to learn and improve oneself is by getting 1-on-1feedback from experts, avoiding similar mistakes, and being challenged. And I'm all here, cheering others up and sharing my experiences.
I became a certified yoga teacher (2021)
In November 2021, I became a certified teacher for Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Meditation and Pranayama. And I finally overcame my fear of standing upside down.
What inspired us to write a book (2021)
Writing a book has been on my bucket list ever since I created that list. But I didn't want it to be about me, pressured or like every other book out there. It had to be special, unplanned, passionate. In February 2021, my friend Anna and I travelled to Lapland and we experienced a trip of a lifetime. Without any plans, everything just out perfectly and we were beyond excited "Meant to be" were the words most commonly used and we immediately knew that this was the beginning of something bigger. A book. A dream come true. Only 9 months later, we launched our journal on 1 Dec. It's a mix of journaling prompts, short stories, artwork. One of its kind. https://www.meanttobejournal.com
I graduated with the MMTC Best Thesis Award (2021)
Two years later, I finally graduated. Even though I graduated from Jönköping University and Bocconi University with M.Sc. Strategic Entrepreneurship, "Zoom University" would have been more appropriate. The grand finale: My thesis partner and I were awarded for our Master thesis about collective leadership during COVID-19.
Why I don't mind being younger than my mentees (2021)
I am younger than my mentees. Not the usual case, but I am convinced that age doesn't matter. Here's why: Mentorship isn't only a one-way but two-way relationship. As a mentor, I don't only give advises, time and ideas, I also take a lot in return: passion, excitement, drive, ideas. My mentees never fail to inspire me and I'm beyond grateful that they had picked me. It's an honour. Instead of following strict templates, we handle it rather casual, almost like a relationship between friends - or at least between young women who value each other equally. I don't believe in putting myself superior and following the protocol. And while they're only a few years older than me, I'm so excited to continue bouncing back ideas and dreams.
I became a guest lecturer (2021)
I love sharing my experiences and knowledge with others, inspire students and motivate them to unfold their potential fully. Hence, I'm very excited to now be a guest lecturer, covering International Business, Intercultural Management, Passion/Purpose and Women Empowerment.
How I landed a Live Session with President Clinton & VP Kamala Harris (2021)
I'm still speechless. How am I so lucky and priviledged to attend such an exciting conference? I'm one of the 600 selected CGI U Students from around the world. And we kicked of our programm with a LIVE conference. No other guests than President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hilary Clinton, VP Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams and so many more inspiring guests attended! Can't wait for what's to come.
I cut 30cm to donate my hair for wigs (2020)
To me it's only hair that will grow back, to others it's their missing identity and smile on their faces. Through POWW I had the priviledge to speak with various women diagnosed with Breast Cancer and affected by hair loss. I asked myself what's in my power to help bring back their confidence and smiles. And so I cut 30cm of my hair and donated it for wigs. It grows back - why not do good during your next hairdresser visit?
Why I quit my job to volunteer in Namibia (2018)
I was stuck in the day-to-day job and realised that I couldn't make enough time for what's close to my heart: giving back to others. I had a great job at Montblanc - I got to travel, enjoyed a good salary and securities. I hung out with Hugh Jackman in NYC, was in charge of a 7-figure budget, organised global top VIP customer events and stayed in the best 5* hotels around the world. For others it seemed to be the ultimate dream job. It was great, indeed. But at some point it didn't feel right anymore. Something was missing and I knew that if I didn't quit the straight career by the age of 23 after 5 years of professional experience, I might never do it. And so I did. Unfortunately, timing wasn't great, as I quit the day after a promotion offer. But when is the timing ever right? I left all securities behind and went volunteering for a couple of months in Colombia and Namibia. I worked with 90 children from poor socio-economic standards, most of them orphants and/or HIV+. We had nothing, many times not even electricity or water. Without this project, the children wouldn't have access to education, first aid and nutrition. It wasn't easy, but I was rewarded with the utmost love and gratitude. And it was the most wonderful experience I've ever had.
How I became a United Nations Intern in NYC (2019)
I left NYC in 2018, saying "I'll see you next year, I'll be back and work at the UN". People thought I was crazy because it's extremely difficult getting in. But I was determined. I applied out of Africa and the interview took place spontaneously in Serengeti after a 4-day safari without any service. My journey isn't the norm - it only took me one single application, the average lies way above 50. My one advise is to go for it and believe in yourself. Signing this contract was a magical moment, that I'll cherish forever. I was beyond grateful, learned a lot from the UN Board of Auditors, was lucky to attend various conferences and even met the Secretary-General.
How my first big pitch competition went (2019)
I had never pitched before, especially not on a big stage for an audience and judges. But at the VivaTech event in Paris I had no other choice but do this. I represented NautilusLog as Marketing Manager and competed in a start-up pitch competition. Previous start-ups pitching onstage included big names like WunderMobility. I didn't know my "speech" by hard, but knew the company and trusted myself. And so I stepped up onstage, had nothing to lose and spontaneously held my first big pitch. Thinking back I remember more mistakes than successes within the 5min pitch. But to my surprise, I won and we were awarded as "Most Promising German Start-Up in Mobility". Why? I just went for it and delivered the message from the bottom of my heart. I didn't learn the text by hard, but brought in social skills.
Off-doors helicopter ride over New York City (2019)
I'm always up for adventures and I've been using my savings for moments like this one. Off-doors helicopter flight above NYC was one of a kind! Adrenaline-high and stunning views over my favourite city. 10/10, highly recommend!
Attending the Youth Assembly in NYC as the only German delegate (2019)
I just applied for fun, having no expectations to be chosen as a delegate. But thankfully I was. I attended the FAF Youth Assembly in NYC in 2018 as the only German delegate. I exchanged with like-minded people and global changemakers on various topics related to the SDGs. My biggest take-away? Apply for it even if you believe others are more qualified than yourself.