How we got here

Winter of 1989. I’m standing with a crowd outside the gates of a fur farm. I’m holding a sign protesting for animal rights. I don’t know anything except that I love animals and that in the building behind the barbed wire fence, beautiful little minks are suffering what I believe to be unnecessary cruelty. A few months later, a friend shows me an article in the local newspaper: The farm has been closed down due to publicity problems. My 13-year-old world is rocked.

Summer of 1992. On a high school excursion, I see a presentation of “Journalists without Borders.” They talk about war crimes, political prisoners and government corruption. I don’t understand much of what they say, but I understand the pictures. They leave a permanent imprint in my soul. It’s the first time I consciously make the decision to help change the world.

Fall of 1997. After finishing high school and spending eight months in Australia, I decide to become a professional photographer. My love for the world in general and nature in particular, as well as an inexplicable draw to the power of a picture drive my decision.

1998- ca. 2009. I work hard to find my place in the world. I meet and later marry my husband and learn what it means to walk this life holding someone’s hand.

Together, we move from our hometown in Germany half-way across the world to San Francisco. I finish Photography School with a Bachelor of Arts and Grad School with an MBA. I become a web developer, a marketer and a business owner. My plan to change the world is what drives me, but I struggle to find my calling.

In 2009, I read a paper called “Creative Capitalism.” It cracks me wide open. Books like Ivon Cuinard’s “Let my people go surfing,” Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” and “Linchpin,” “The 7 Graces of Marketing,” “We First,” “Humanize,” Clay Shirky’s “Here comes Everybody” and Eckhard Tolle’s “A New World” continue an education I didn’t expect.

And just like that, between business and marketing, awareness and love, pictures and stories, and a world newly connected and wide open, I find my calling: Helping responsible companies tell their stories to give them a competitive edge over the careless ones. Changing the world one website, one brand video, one picture, one story at a time.

I know that my contribution is just a little one. But I also know that I’m not alone. In my moments of doubt, I think of you: All the smart and courageous change-makers, visionaries and heroes out there. And I am reminded: There is nothing more infectious than doing good things for noble reasons. And I am convinced that together, we have a chance.