What's your background?
I am a media scientist with a background in communication, strategic planning, biz dev, marketing, PR and event design. I hold a master's in Media Culture from Uni Maastricht, where I first learned how to think about the emergence of new technologies in their socio-cultural contexts. I love looking at technological innovations, how society shapes them, and vice versa. This way of thinking helps a lot with developing product and marketing strategy and stops you from stepping into the technological determinism trap. It's also what originally attracted me to the startup world.
You used to work in the Valley, why did you make the switch to Berlin?
Like almost always in my career path, I came across a great opportunity and I took it. I would have loved to move to the Valley permanently, but the visa process would have been very long and painful, both for me and the company I wanted to work with over there, Blackbox.vc. I kept working with them from Germany for a bit, and I took a two week trip across Europe with Blackbox founder Fadi. That's when I met Simon, the founder of Factory, who asked me to join the team. At first, I thought I could do both, but it soon turned out that Factory demanded my full attention, and by then I had fallen in love with the project. Today I am still very close with Blackbox and Fadi and I try to visit once or twice a year - the Valley naturally plays a big role in what I am doing over here in Berlin. But things here are still in their early stages, and this is a very exciting time to be in Berlin and contributing to the local ecosystem.
Please walk me through your day, what does the COO of The Factory do?
Ha ha. That's tricky because every day is different. Some days I work on overall strategy and partnerships, some I spend with the Factory residents, and on others I deal with press, politicians or investors... and sometimes I find myself operating a scaffolding lift on our construction site! It is this diversity and element of surprise that I love most about my job. Besides that, I am surrounded by people who love what they are doing and who I can learn a lot from - that's the most important thing for me.
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
Of course not, that would mean stagnation. I love pushing things forward, including myself.
What is the best advice you ever received?
To trust my guts and to know my value.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
And what are your plans for the future?
In the immediate future I am going to be a mum - very exciting! My plan for next year is to learn how to function at both work and home without losing it. Wish me luck :)
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
To have taken more risk earlier in my life.
Any advice for Berlin's women?
Be bold and don't be consumed with being a woman. Just be great at what you love to do and everything else will fall into place.