Out of the desire for a platform for women to share ideas, experiences and mentorship came the launch of SheSays Gothenburg last year by Digitas Nordic’s creatives Laura Hunter and Vanessa Jonasson.
SheSays was started 10 years ago by Laura Jordan Bambach and Alessandra Lariu and has since made its way across the globe with meet ups including Berlin, New York, L.A., Sydney, London, Buenos Aires, and Dubai. A global award-winning organization running free mentorship and events to women in the creative industry, SheSays wants to see more women at the top. SheSays has been active in Stockholm and Copenhagen for the past two years but Gothenburg didn’t have anything similar to offer local creatives. Vanessa and Laura saw an opportunity.
"The best inspiration comes from other sources. The more people you meet, the more you learn, and the more insights you can use to become a better creative.” - Laura
Vanessa and Laura
V+L both come from creative backgrounds. Before joining the DLBi Nordics Gothenburg team, Laura had worked in creative roles in her native Australia, relocating to Digitas London before her eventual move to Gothenburg. Vanessa spent some years in Amsterdam as an Art Director before joining the Gothenburg team last year.
They explain how in their previous experiences they lacked the mentorship of other ‘badass women’ — due in part to lack of female representation in high creative positions. “Mentorship can happen in- and outside of the workplace” says Vanessa, and this desire to foster such an environment motivated she and Laura to start up something in Gothenburg. They wanted to get something going, but wanted it to be super organized. After brainstorming and putting together some ideas, they realized perfect wasn’t possible.
“We just had to start it, otherwise it wasn’t going to happen.” – Laura
Each event hosts inspirational women who share experiences and insights, but also goes through practical topics like how to negotiate a pay raise, balance your work flow while juggling family life, friends, and obligations.
"We hope that SheSays Gothenburg can be a platform for creative women to come together, and become even better creatives by learning from the experiences of each other.” - Vanessa
Despite the rain and gloom that Gothenburg winter offers, people turned out. The fall kick-off event hosted 34 women and the second event more than doubled, maxing out registration at 80 attendees.
The last event in January was fully-booked and featured a "stellar line-up of #bossladies” discussing how they make things happen, including Helena Svärd of Aoki, a Design and Communication agency, designer Annalena Mayor Ekeblad, Maria Alexén of Creative Communication Collaborators Alexén Avehall Advisory, and A.L.L. bags and accessories designer AnnLouise Landelius.
"You get to meet inspiring ladies that you wouldn’t otherwise know or meet. Awesome, badass women, and not just in advertising." - Laura
What did attendees have in common? They're creatives, and not just in advertising and digital. Attendees and speakers represented a wide range of interests and talent across a diverse set of industries – from food styling to tailoring. Panelists shared how they’ve gotten to where they are today, how they jumped industries, and were honest about the struggles they've encountered along the way.
If the first two SheSays Gbg events are any prediction of the future, things are just getting started. Attendees expressed how they were glad that something like this existed and that someone took the initiative to organise it. Vanessa and Laura want to keep the momentum going, host future events at other agencies and venues, and encourage creative women of all types to come.
“We don’t want to create boundaries. We want to meet women who are doing something.” - Vanessa
The next SheSays Gbg event will be held on April 25th or 26th. More info will be shared on the SheSays Gbg Facebook page when available.