Senta Slingerland on what happens when you see yourself differently

What is the power of giving someone a taste of possibility? 

How has the advertising industry been incentivised to make ads that shatter gender stereotypes?

And why is it so important to see your life and the world from a different perspective?

Today I talk with my friend Senta Slingerland, who used to be the Director of Brand Strategy at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, is the creator of See It Be It, a programme for the advancement of female creative leaders, and initiator of Cannes Chimera, a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help NGOs receive creative mentorship.

We hear about her time with the Brazilian innovation company Mesa that solves big problems for companies such as Google, Coca-Cola and Samsung in only 5 days by putting big thinkers around a table who have the relevant skills and knowledge to find powerful solutions to things. 

She tells us of the time she worked with a cyborg – and how it got her seeing the world differently. 

And she talks of the work she’s doing as co-founder of FALA, a company that trades in purposeful inspiration and counts Coca-Cola, Yara International, Bloomberg, Accenture Song and Twitch as its clients.

Senta’s career has been focused on pushing people to see themselves and their jobs differently, and today’s conversation gets us seeing the power of changing perspectives.

We talk about ambition and what it means to different generations. 

She tells us what 83% of millennial and Gen Z’s admire in their bosses. 

And we hear about what happens when we give something language.

After listening to today’s episode you will feel as though you have taken your mind for a walk. So grab that favourite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and here is Senta. 

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

If you would like to be reminded of future podcasts and other inspiring stories from TIE, join our newsletter here.  

If you would like to pre-order Return on Humanity: Leadership lessons from all corners of the earth, you can do that here.

00:00:03:15 – 00:00:32:07
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we expose new perspectives on our ever evolving world through the lenses of various industries, cultures and backgrounds. Our guests are disruptors united by a common goal to bring their purpose to life, whether they’re from the commercial world or third sector, from the Global North or the Global South. Expect an inspirational journey that will transform your perspective on just what is possible.

00:00:32:18 – 00:01:06:09
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome to Tai Unearthed. Hello and welcome to Episode 81, where I get to talk to an old friend who I met many years ago when she was working at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as the Director of Brand Strategy. When I met Center, she was spearheading numerous programs and initiatives aimed at employing creativity and the creative community as a force for change.

00:01:06:22 – 00:01:33:10
Philippa White
It was Center who came up with the Glass Lion, which is an award for messages that shatter stereotypes of gender in advertising. She also created See It, be it, which is a program for the advancement of female creative leaders. And she also initiated Cairns Shine Era, a collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to help NGOs receive creative mentorship.

00:01:34:00 – 00:01:59:01
Philippa White
She’s the author of City Shapers London, which is a book about the creative people in London who are changing the culture of the city and is a leader at large. At Brazilian born Meza, a company that has been hailed as one of the most innovative working formats in the world. Developing and prototyping solutions for clients such as Google, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Fiat and.

00:01:59:01 – 00:02:00:03
Philippa White
Many, many more.

00:02:00:18 – 00:02:32:24
Philippa White
She’s also the co-founder of Phala, a company that trades in purposeful inspiration and also counts Coca-Cola, Yara International, Bloomberg, Accenture, Song and Twitch as its clients. Today’s conversation will bring together all of these experiences and helps us understand why it’s so important to help people see themselves and their jobs. Differently. Changing perspectives is a powerful thing, and today we bring this to life.

00:02:33:13 – 00:02:41:19
Philippa White
So grab that favorite beverage or throw in those running shoes. And here is Center. Center. Thank you so much for joining us.

00:02:41:19 – 00:02:45:09
Philippa White
I’m so excited to have you with us today.

00:02:45:22 – 00:02:51:06
Senta Slingerland
Thank you for having me. I’ve been listening to your podcast, as you know, for a while, so I’m honored to finally be part of it.

00:02:51:10 – 00:03:07:17
Philippa White
And we’re friends and we’ve known each other for a very, very long time. So we really hard to talk on TIE Unearthed with you is is super fun. So tell me, where are you? Because I talk to people all over the place. So just so people can picture where you’re sitting right now.

00:03:08:03 – 00:03:11:10
Senta Slingerland
Yeah, I’m sitting at my dining room table in London.

00:03:11:11 – 00:03:13:04
Philippa White
I can see a mini guitar behind you.

00:03:13:05 – 00:03:28:22
Senta Slingerland
Yeah, it’s my daughter’s guitar. It’s. It’s one of those days. It’s sunny but super cold. And I’m thinking, I am not going to be able to survive this for the rest of the winter, which I don’t have to, because, as you know, I’m going to Brazil in a few days. But yes, it’s a beautiful winter day here center.

00:03:28:22 – 00:03:36:21
Philippa White
I obviously know you very well, but our listeners don’t. So I would love you to just. Yeah. Bring you to life. What’s your story? Tell us about.

00:03:36:21 – 00:03:58:06
Senta Slingerland
You. As I’ve already said, I live in London. I grew up in Brussels, known to a German mum and a Dutch dad. They were Eurocrats, but they never really fit of that mold of Eurocrats or the Eurocrats in Belgium. Brussels specifically tend to sort of hang together. They were never really those kind of people. And I guess that that means that or meant that.

00:03:58:06 – 00:04:18:18
Senta Slingerland
I never really felt like I fitted in that sort of like international world and Belgium, but also not really into sort of the Belgian, Belgian world. Just to say that I never really hundred percent felt at home where I grew up. And also because my parents married foreigners looking bored and married for me, that’s always sort of what I thought I would do as well and turned out I did only.

00:04:18:18 – 00:04:40:15
Senta Slingerland
But the marriage part happened sort of pretty late in life. But that’s exactly what I did. So I grew up in Brussels and then moved to London after university. The first job I got was a very, very cool job working for a magazine that talked about the coolest ads of the month. It was a magazine about advertising, and I was desperately, desperately unqualified, underqualified for it.

00:04:40:18 – 00:05:02:04
Senta Slingerland
And I kept ringing them. It’s funny. It’s a sort of a confidence I had then that I don’t think I necessarily have anymore. But it was just I wanted the job so badly. Never had a job before in my life. So that sounded like a cool one. And like I said, I was so underqualified for it, but I kept calling them and my luck was that they had just hired two people to do that particular job and and fired each one.

00:05:02:13 – 00:05:03:15
Philippa White
Oh, my God.

00:05:04:02 – 00:05:22:13
Senta Slingerland
Yeah. They were just, you know, very qualified people. And so because I kept calling them, they’re like, well, we might as well just give this desperate girl a chance. What’s the worst that can happen? We have to fire her as well, you know. So I couldn’t believe it. It was literally mums and me calling them every day saying any cleaning jobs at the company or any other sort of, you know.

00:05:22:15 – 00:05:44:13
Senta Slingerland
So I got the job and then my extra leg. While this was actually the job of a researcher for a magazine about doing the research for the magazine. And then my luck was that two weeks after they realized they need an editor of a magazine that became chief editor of this magazine at age, you know, whatever, 23 or something, knowing nothing about anything.

00:05:44:22 – 00:05:59:24
Senta Slingerland
But I kind of tried to be honest because I loved I really loved it. So I work hard on it and I created a bit of a network. I got to know a lot of people in advertising, and it was sort of the beginning of me realizing that that whole industry was quite interesting and I kind of really fell in love with it.

00:06:00:05 – 00:06:24:01
Senta Slingerland
I don’t think I thought much about advertising or that it could be a possible career or anything for that. But so I did that. And I guess that was like the, you know, the foundation of my career. I quit there actually after maybe three or four years because I felt like I started working quite intensely, quite young, you know, and I had like a little boy and I just my life got quite serious quite soon, so I took a big break.

00:06:24:01 – 00:06:37:05
Senta Slingerland
And what do you do when you want a break? You go to Brazil, which I know a lot about. And so I had a big break traveling through South America, starting with Brazil, traveling through America. And I even spent a month as a monkey carer in Bolivia.

00:06:37:08 – 00:06:39:00
Philippa White
No way. I didn’t know that about you.

00:06:39:00 – 00:07:04:03
Senta Slingerland
Yeah. Which was it? Transformative and just such a beautiful experience. I guess it sort of appealed to my maternal instinct somehow, and I met incredible people that are so really good friends of mine today. I traveled alone for six months, totally by myself, and I got to know lots of people. And I guess it was the first time that I met people and I didn’t have to explain what I did for a living or what kind of family I was from where I was, you know what I mean?

00:07:04:10 – 00:07:25:23
Senta Slingerland
Just travelers meeting. You talk about what you did that day and it was sort of very freeing, very nice experience. And then when I got back, I did some odd jobs and then got headhunted to work for Cannes Lions. I guess for your listeners who don’t know, it’s the biggest, most sort of prestigious festival in the world for creative communications, for creativity, what is called the festival of creativity.

00:07:25:23 – 00:07:30:24
Senta Slingerland
And that’s where you and I made it. And then life really started for me.

00:07:30:24 – 00:07:48:24
Philippa White
So yeah, and I think that’s a great kind of segway to where I, you know, where I’d like to take this because you had such an interesting time at Cannes. You know, that was the birth of See It Be It. So for anyone listening who comes from the ad world, I’m sure you’ll know that Center will probably talk about it.

00:07:49:12 – 00:08:05:04
Philippa White
You then. Obviously after a long time at Cannes, you then went to Brazil and worked with Masa. Yeah, just be really interesting. If you could just talk about just how you get people to see themselves and their jobs and the world differently through your work.

00:08:05:05 – 00:08:24:09
Senta Slingerland
Yeah, great question. Well, so when I go to the Cannes Lions, I had two jobs there. But then at some point I created my own job and I became the director of brand strategy. And I mentioned that because it’s relevant in the sense that I sort of became a bit like the company entrepreneur, you know, I created my own job because that’s the job I wanted.

00:08:24:09 – 00:08:40:09
Senta Slingerland
And I also saw the need for that job, but that job allowed me to do a lot of stuff that was I don’t even want to say under the radar, but I did and then a later type thing, but it allowed me to do really great stuff and I had a lot of lots of support there. But one of the things I created there was a bit.

00:08:40:09 – 00:09:01:14
Senta Slingerland
So for listeners who don’t know what that is actually, you say if you work in advertising, you know, it still surprises me often that people don’t know what it is and it still needs a lot of and still needs a lot of work to sort of make sure everyone. But it is a an experience for female creative leaders or people who identify a subject to come to the festival and and have an experience that nobody else gets to have.

00:09:01:17 – 00:09:24:23
Senta Slingerland
I used to call it an acceleration program for female leaders, but I realized that it’s not really a program and it’s not really about accelerating. It’s really an experience because these women work in an industry where they’re in the minority, they have a tough time with it. It’s to be honest and they feel like they don’t belong. So the experience is really me to make sure that they know that not only do they belong, they’re the future of the industry and they’re.

00:09:25:20 – 00:09:26:13
Philippa White
So nice.

00:09:26:16 – 00:09:53:18
Senta Slingerland
And they’re seeing they’re heard and they know that they they have a voice that’s essential. So we bring them to the festival and we give them an experience that nobody else gets to have. So meet and greets with incredible speakers and go into places that are shut out for the public normally and all that kind of stuff. All with the point of when they come back to their jobs, they feel empowered to open their mouth and say what they really believe because they know that there’s so many people like them out there in the world who are fighting to make the industry better and create a place for them.

00:09:53:19 – 00:10:15:11
Senta Slingerland
I started that program in 2014 and next year it’s the ten year anniversary program. All right, thank you. That program, I’m still very involved with it, although I do work for the festival. And on the back of that, I launched a new award for the festival called The Glass Lion, which is the Lion for Change. So it’s about advertising that shatters stereotypes of gender.

00:10:15:11 – 00:10:35:22
Senta Slingerland
The Glass Line was launched in 2015, and what’s interesting about a Lion two line is that is the prize that the festival gives out to the best work in advertising that year by the fact that a lion exists. People want to win it. People want to win lions because it’s it proves that you are a very creative company and there’s lots of proof out there that creativity needs to be your business success.

00:10:35:22 – 00:10:37:12
Senta Slingerland
Right? So winning a lion.

00:10:37:19 – 00:10:51:06
Philippa White
Yeah, just as an aside as well for people listening who don’t know the sort of the size of all of this if companies win. So ad agencies, creative companies, brands win lions, their stock price increases.

00:10:51:06 – 00:11:12:13
Senta Slingerland
Exactly. Yeah. And there’s a book about it called The Case for Creativity by Jane Harman, which explains all of that. And it’s very interesting exactly that. So by the fact that this line existed, people wanted to win it. And if you wanted to win it, you needed to make advertising that shot to the Senate and stereotypes. So that was a convenient little side effect that that I was very proud to see people really starting to make that work.

00:11:12:13 – 00:11:26:13
Senta Slingerland
Of course, the market was also asking for it and now it’s very often people say to me, I love it, I love to judge quality. I really want to be on the on the glass lion jury. And it always makes me feel very happy that that’s one of the few lines that people are most excited about. Yeah.

00:11:26:15 – 00:11:41:07
Philippa White
And. Moser So then you, you know, you’ve had a long career at Cannes, but then there was another trip to Brazil on the horizon. It just be interesting to know how that also sort of shaped what did you do in the same area of helping people see themselves differently? What does that look like?

00:11:41:10 – 00:11:56:18
Senta Slingerland
So I was clients for eight years. It wonderful. I mean, it really made me who I was. Then I went to Brazil thinking I was going to sit on the beach in Rio for like six months and just sort of decompress. But actually what ended up happening is that I was offered a job at a company called Mesa, and it’s a company that has reinvented work.

00:11:56:22 – 00:12:19:05
Senta Slingerland
So what it does is it solves problems for clients, very strategic problems. In five days of putting people around the table, they have all the skills and knowledge to solve a particular problem. So when I first heard that they wanted to hire me, I thought, that sounds ridiculous. Kind of like that’s not going to happen, you know, like, you can’t put people together and solve a massive problem, you know, that sounds like an experiment.

00:12:19:05 – 00:12:41:01
Senta Slingerland
That’s that’s really fun. And I was so insanely wrong. Mesa has now existed for about ten years. It’s done more than 300 of these projects and 95% of the cases within six months. The prototype that they make in five days actually goes out in the world as a real thing. So when companies commit to doing in Mesa, it’s it’s not an experiment.

00:12:41:01 – 00:12:56:11
Senta Slingerland
It’s like we want to solve this problem and we’re committed to do it and we’re going to do it in five days instead of sending PDFs back and forth for a year. So but the interesting thing about the Mesa is the people that you put around the table. So you look very, very carefully at the problem and then figure out what skills and knowledge you need.

00:12:56:18 – 00:13:30:22
Senta Slingerland
And then you get those people that have that skill and knowledge. So I had worked in advertising with advertising for so many years and through working in that company I realized how many incredible people, brains, skills, backgrounds, ideas are out there from other sectors, from other types of backgrounds that I just had never been exposed to. So it was and still is because I still work with Mesa as a freelancer, a very intellectually challenging work, but one that opened my mind so incredibly to lots of other ideas that I’ve just never been exposed to.

00:13:30:22 – 00:13:39:12
Philippa White
And you give an example of something that you might have done that can help, that you can talk about, but that can help people understand what you’re talking about.

00:13:39:15 – 00:14:01:15
Senta Slingerland
I did. We call them Mesa. It’s the project, the five day project I did in Mesa with a cyborg called New Harbison, who has an antenna in his head. Because he is, he can’t see color and he has an antenna in his head that reads color and then translates them into vibrations in the skull that make a sound.

00:14:01:15 – 00:14:23:19
Senta Slingerland
And so he can hear color. And so and he has a company called the Cyborg Foundation and his mission is to help people become cyborgs is thinking is that it’s better to change ourselves as humans than to change the environment around us. For example, wouldn’t it be smarter to give all humans night vision than to pollute the whole world with light?

00:14:23:23 – 00:14:38:03
Senta Slingerland
So one of the things that he wanted to do, he’s wanted he wanted to create a silent message for two people to communicate. So we created a new truth. Truth. So you could sort of clap your teeth. And then the other person also had a truth and could sort of through Morse code, understand what you’re trying to say.

00:14:38:04 – 00:15:03:16
Senta Slingerland
Anyway, a long way to say. I worked with incredible dentists in that Mesa with designers with also with him, with the site, with another cyborg that was also you know, people like that’s that’s an example but other other mediums you would work with people from very underprivileged areas from the Amazon, just people that I would never have had the opportunity to even get to meet before that alone work side by side for five days.

00:15:03:17 – 00:15:15:06
Philippa White
So just I’m actually just curious really quickly, how does the business model work? So would someone who’s trying to find the solution to something, I guess pay and then have like a group of people that come together and it’s.

00:15:16:01 – 00:15:35:22
Senta Slingerland
And the important thing is that the problem owner from the from the client company for example you’re a Samsung and you want to make an in-store experience to sell something or to be your next name. You want to create a new recipe for the African market or whatever it might be. The person who’s the problem owner of that challenge is there at the table during the five days.

00:15:35:22 – 00:15:48:02
Senta Slingerland
So we’ll sit there and see everything going on and decide in the moment. They pay for the experience of all of that. Yeah, it’s not something where behind closed doors something happens and then after a week you present it to a client for the client to then say thank you.

00:15:48:08 – 00:15:49:12
Philippa White
So they’re part of it. Yeah.

00:15:50:07 – 00:15:51:06
Senta Slingerland
Very much so. Yeah.

00:15:51:07 – 00:15:55:04
Philippa White
So how has all of this brought you to where you are?

00:15:55:13 – 00:16:23:24
Senta Slingerland
I get very excited about helping people think about their life differently, helping them to work smarter, not harder by using a cliche, but by seeing their lives wider, larger, with more possibilities and overcoming the fear of having to stay in a particular lane, but showing them all the other means that are that are sort of available. So you’d be it is a great example of that because we give these creatives mentorship and just exposure to lots of other ideas.

00:16:23:24 – 00:16:50:02
Senta Slingerland
But I as you know, I have a company called Bala Portuguese for speak and we do exactly that. We sort of show clients what they never knew was possible so that they can do their work better and so that we can help them put them on the map. So what we do is we create education, editorial products that are very, very bespoke, personalized to show companies the things that really they should know about, but that in their day to day would never come across.

00:16:50:02 – 00:17:08:01
Senta Slingerland
So it’s kind of we sometimes we we say we are the greatest strategy partner you didn’t know you needed. Yeah. We equally help companies figure out what they stand for, how they should talk about that. And we’re introducing content, ideas, people, concepts that they don’t have time to look for and they don’t even know that they don’t know.

00:17:08:02 – 00:17:34:05
Philippa White
I’m going to ask you for examples in a moment, but before we get there, I’m just curious, what was the catalyst to getting to there? Because obviously you had ten and then you went to Brazil and you had this very different but mind opening, mind expanding experiences with Meza, which if I’m sort of connecting the dots, is really interesting because see, it be it is super social from the point of view of diversity and inclusion and empowering people.

00:17:34:05 – 00:18:02:23
Philippa White
But what’s interesting about Meza, when you look at your story, it’s fascinating because that cyborg example talk about seeing things from a totally different point of view and just, you know, turning things on their head and being like, well, it’s not always how it seems. You know, you might see that, but there’s other ways of doing things. And you know, if that’s just one example and you did that for a handful of years, then I can’t even imagine the number of experiences that really just got you seeing the world and opening your mind to seeing the possibilities out there.

00:18:03:06 – 00:18:15:13
Philippa White
So I’m just curious how you then went from Meza. What was that catalyst to doing what you’re doing now with fellow? And I want to dig into Fowler and just understand some examples so people can understand that. But I’m just interested how that happened.

00:18:15:16 – 00:18:33:09
Senta Slingerland
I guess most broadly the biggest catalyst for me is my desire for time. For me, time is one of the most precious things in my life, and I wanted to create a life for myself where I did work that genuinely interested me, got me excited, didn’t feel like work, but I also have a lot of time for myself.

00:18:33:11 – 00:18:56:15
Senta Slingerland
And so now with my company, I get to do exactly that. And actually so much of what I do is the sort of reading and it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t even considering it work because it’s just I read lots of stuff, I watch stuff, I have conversations that I know are essentially work because it’s, you know, it’s it’s opening my mind to I can help other people do that, but it’s just feel very natural.

00:18:56:15 – 00:19:15:11
Senta Slingerland
So then another thing is that my co-founder, my business partner Alison is a dear friend of mine and somebody that I used to work with in lines and our skills are so complementary and so but our sort of desire for the life we want to have is similar and our values are similar. So she was a huge catalyst to that as well.

00:19:15:11 – 00:19:30:22
Senta Slingerland
But I guess very practically being in Brazil, working in Brazil, working at the age showed me that I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to be exposed to kind of brands that I was exposed to. And so this is kind of a way to do that with Fowler.

00:19:30:23 – 00:19:34:12
Philippa White
You know, what is working and how does that look?

00:19:34:12 – 00:19:55:10
Senta Slingerland
What we often hear from big companies is that their capabilities teams don’t know where to start looking for capabilities and they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what they’re missing. And that’s where our experience we do know. So we have our own conversations with them and figure out what it is they need to know about what’s essential for them.

00:19:55:10 – 00:20:15:12
Senta Slingerland
We provide that to them in very, very snackable ways. So it’s not long reports that they need to read or read. Our our editorial parts are very respectable, but we also provide opportunities for them to meet with people in an intimate setting. So it’s not that we do big conferences for them, but we do sort of intimate masterclasses with small groups.

00:20:15:12 – 00:20:33:05
Senta Slingerland
So people get to spend, let’s say, 90 minutes with somebody that can really change how you think about the problem in their company, but they feel like they’ve met them. Even if it’s a it’s an online thing and even if it’s an incredibly, you know, famous thinker or whatever that you. But you feel that you’ve had real time with them to ask questions and.

00:20:33:09 – 00:20:52:14
Senta Slingerland
Yeah, and often people think, Oh, we want to hear from some famous author or something, but actually we want to hear from is the person who’s done the thing that you need to be doing. But you might not know those those people. That’s another beautiful thing about sort of curating Amazon. It’s it’s not okay. We need to find somebody who’s written about this thing.

00:20:52:14 – 00:21:01:05
Senta Slingerland
No, it’s somebody who’s done it with their in the grassroots, like is really, you know, is hard to overcome these particular challenges or for this particular problem.

00:21:01:07 – 00:21:21:00
Philippa White
So we had a conversation recently just about ambition and actually just listening to you talk now, you know, you’re a very ambitious person, but you you’ve also coupled that with an understanding of what’s important to you and actually knowing yourself and who you are and what is important to you. And I think it’s something that all of us can take on board.

00:21:21:00 – 00:21:52:00
Philippa White
I think that self-awareness is important for fulfillment, for happiness or peace within ourselves. And it’s interesting because you you when we were speaking, you were talking about how ambition has been redefined and how Generation Z is just thinking differently about it. And I just wonder just the conversations that you’ve been having. I’m curious from your point of view and the exposure that you have, and particularly with the conversations you’re having even now with your clients, just for people to understand culture and just where things are at.

00:21:52:01 – 00:22:05:11
Senta Slingerland
It’s funny because I told you that I launched to be at ten years ago. Right? And the women that were in the program then were sort of maybe my age or younger, but now they’re ten, 15 years younger because of the time has passed. Oh, God.

00:22:05:11 – 00:22:06:09
Philippa White
Yeah, right. Of course.

00:22:06:09 – 00:22:26:16
Senta Slingerland
And it’s so interesting because they are different people. You know, as I see it every year, I see new generations coming. So and another thing, the reason that I’m so interested in the subject is because I feel like, you know, I’m the youngest of three girls and I was always branded sort of the ambitious one, you know, the one that’s like interested in sort of worldly things like money and work things.

00:22:26:16 – 00:22:45:18
Senta Slingerland
I don’t know the ambitious one, but I never I was always like, well, ambitious, you know, I want a nice life. But I don’t know, I, I do think I’m ambitious, but just maybe different needs more people because traditionally ambition it comes from some Latin word meant actually going around town getting votes yourself. Oh, okay. So it was.

00:22:45:18 – 00:22:56:13
Senta Slingerland
Yeah. And, you know, judging people to vote for you. So it was seen as something manipulative, strategic and actually that connotation has always stayed a bit. You know, when people say, oh yeah, she, she’s quite ambitious actually. You know.

00:22:57:06 – 00:22:58:14
Philippa White
There’s a little bit of a yeah.

00:22:58:18 – 00:23:19:07
Senta Slingerland
Yeah, a little bit of poison to that comment sometimes. But yeah, the way I’m seeing new generations change, actually one anecdote I think tells it well, when I again, when I launched it in 2014, it was all about girl bossing, girl, power, sisterhood, you know, all of that. And it was sort of the founder of Myanmar, also the founder of Mast Girl.

00:23:19:07 – 00:23:37:13
Senta Slingerland
And it was all about Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and Lean In. And it was all of that stuff. And now the concept that I’m seeing come up are like bare minimum Monday, which is a big thing on on TikTok, where people say, listen, take it easy on Monday, don’t buy yourself out on Monday to bare minimum on Monday and then go big on the Tuesday.

00:23:37:13 – 00:24:01:04
Senta Slingerland
You know, or another concept which I find just so fascinating is Lazy Girl Job. So it’s women on Instagram talking about their jobs, doing, you know, putting a lot of effort into doing well at their jobs, like taking it seriously, being motivated, but not killing themselves over it, you know, just turning up, working hard, being passionate and going home with 530 and then switching off their computers and coming back in the next morning with lots of energy and doing their best.

00:24:01:04 – 00:24:27:16
Senta Slingerland
The term lazy girl doesn’t mean lazy at all, is it? It’s actually that’s the interesting sort of twist on it that that’s considered lazy these days, but it’s not. It’s just doing what you’re paid for and being a pleasant person at work as a result. I also read this study by Deloitte that said that 83% of Millennials and Gen Z, the thing that they admire the most in their bosses is a great work life balance, not amazing negotiation skills or being a bad ass.

00:24:27:22 – 00:24:31:03
Senta Slingerland
You know, they could argue that having a work life balance is being badass.

00:24:31:11 – 00:24:32:01
Philippa White
Yeah, right.

00:24:33:12 – 00:24:40:09
Senta Slingerland
But yeah, I think that’s very, very interesting. And, and it’s about time that a generation talks about this they’re not interested in having anymore burnout.

00:24:40:11 – 00:24:58:13
Philippa White
Yeah. I mean, what could you leave our listeners with? I see life as puzzle pieces. I sometimes talk about that and I just sort of see how, you know, sometimes you don’t even know what the full picture is going to be, but you sort of have this puzzle piece and even working with the monkeys, that’s a puzzle piece that said, Oh yeah.

00:24:58:24 – 00:24:59:04
Senta Slingerland
Really?

00:24:59:07 – 00:25:20:13
Philippa White
Things. These things that you start to see a little bit of a picture and you’re now on to this pretty significant puzzle piece with Fowler, which you’ve been doing for a while, and it just sort of growing. And obviously you see that there’s a real market for it and people are really looking for this. You know, what are some takeaways that you could leave our listeners with when you reflect on your puzzle?

00:25:20:14 – 00:25:37:08
Senta Slingerland
Actually, just one small anecdote about Hannah was that initially we launched it just as a sort of a fiscal situation, you know, like, oh, we should put we have a company. We were all already doing the work we’re doing, but we needed a company just for fiscal reasons and then never wanting to even really have the ambition of creating a company.

00:25:37:08 – 00:25:59:04
Senta Slingerland
And then we were like, Well, they have a beautiful story and it’s neat. And we’re going to and now we talk about it a lot and we’re very proud of it. But it wasn’t it was never the ambition to create a company and hire 15 people. I think that’s kind of beautiful. One thing I’d love to leave people with is this idea that you should or can design your life as much, if not more, than you design or plan your career.

00:25:59:04 – 00:26:12:10
Senta Slingerland
Often people come to me and say things like, I’ve been offered this job here in New York and Should I take it? And like what? I don’t know. And what life do you want? What is it like? Be one and then think back over. How are you going to make that work? And is that is that job going to help you get that?

00:26:12:10 – 00:26:39:10
Senta Slingerland
You know, people don’t think like that often. So I feel like I’ve been very intentional about designing my life. I’m still figuring it out every day, but I think that more people can should be thinking about that. Don’t feel like they have the space to even consider that. And the other thing is just, you know, when you go to work every day and you have so much to do and you look at bubble becomes very small and you feel like if you look outside of it, maybe it’s not part of your job or it’s a waste of time, or it’s sort of a luxury to look outside.

00:26:39:10 – 00:26:53:02
Senta Slingerland
But I would argue it’s very, very, very much within your job. And it’s so essential that that you do and that you create time for that. Let your mind wander and see what happens, because then you’ll probably be able to solve problems by doing that that you never thought you could.

00:26:53:02 – 00:27:19:13
Philippa White
So that’s a big part of what time is about. Actually, in my book there’s a subchapter called The Power of Wonder and just the Power of Being Curious and opening your mind and perspective. And it’s so funny. I remember remember Y2K and you know, our computers are just going to sort of exploder. We’re not going to be able to get into them or, you know, but all the way to Nostradamus saying, you know, it’s going to be the end of the planet and you know, it’s it’s.

00:27:19:13 – 00:27:21:00
Senta Slingerland
Now is a tense it was a tense.

00:27:21:08 – 00:27:40:08
Philippa White
Moment. It was a weird moment. And, you know, we were all kind of waiting for the clock to strike 12. And it’s weird because, first of all, the clock striking 12 where, you know, and then I went to Thailand, I finished my degree in Thailand. So I went to Bangkok and I went there in 2001. I think so.

00:27:40:16 – 00:28:06:17
Philippa White
You know, I was in New York for this year 2000 craziness. And then the next year I had found myself in Thailand and I was still so just really interested in just what this Y2K phenomena was. And I asked my friends, like these new Thai friends that I had at university, and I was super curious to know what was the did it get to such a fevered situation in Thailand as well?

00:28:06:17 – 00:28:39:03
Philippa White
And they looked at me, we don’t even know what you’re talking about. We don’t even use the same calendar like here. It’s 5432. And I’m like, what? It’s not the year 2000. And for me that was the first time. Like, I know in my heart that there are different calendars, but I had never really stopped to think about what in the day to day you just assume that what you your experiences in life and what you know, you just assume that everyone can, even though you know that not everyone has the same experience.

00:28:39:04 – 00:28:55:11
Philippa White
This is just a lot of things that you just assume are a given. And it’s just so strange when suddenly you do open your mind and you have these really interesting conversations with a sideboard, for example. I mean, that’s just it’s so foreign to me to even imagine doing that. But then you start to have a conversation with someone.

00:28:55:11 – 00:29:09:09
Philippa White
You start to understand or you start to kind of empathize or you start to kind of open your mind and see other possibilities. And I think that’s also what we’re talking about, isn’t it? It’s it’s understanding the power of different ways of doing things and hearing from different.

00:29:09:11 – 00:29:36:16
Senta Slingerland
Absolutely. And that questioning our realities. Right. Yeah. And that’s essentially what diversity is, is. Well, I love that you brought up that TIE example, too, that that’s fascinating to me. I never heard you tell that story before. And even now, with all the stuff that’s happening in the world and people branding other people animals and not everyone is born with the same opportunity for figuring out a moral compass or a view of the world, or possibilities or ambitions or hopes or that we have.

00:29:36:21 – 00:29:47:24
Senta Slingerland
So it’s impossible to create and to have an opinion on particular people wherever in the world they might be, because you don’t know, you don’t understand how they work and what they didn’t read or didn’t read or heard or didn’t hear.

00:29:47:24 – 00:30:07:02
Philippa White
Yeah, it’s interesting that as well, one thing that I had never thought about, I talked about this in my book as well. There’s an organization we work with in Ghana started by it’s called the Golden Baobab Prize and started by a woman, Deborah, and she’s from Ghana. And she I’m not entirely sure I don’t know if it was for a master’s degree or for an undergrad.

00:30:07:02 – 00:30:27:11
Philippa White
But anyway, she found herself I think it was Harvard. But anyway, in the U.S. at a university, a pretty prestigious university, and and she it was when she was there and she’s listening to stories of just people talking about the books that they had read growing up in Enid Blyton and whatever. And she’s like, Yeah, that’s weird. I read the same books and then she started to reflect.

00:30:27:11 – 00:30:52:05
Philippa White
She’s like, That’s weird because we don’t have green grass in front of our houses or, you know, white picket fences. How is it that we in Ghana, growing up in Ghana, that was the exposure that we had to books. It’s interesting because you get different perspectives, but at the same time it also shapes a culture. It shapes your identity, it shapes your pride of being who you are, where you come from.

00:30:52:12 – 00:31:20:08
Philippa White
So actually what was fascinating is she went back and so she has started to go to bigger prize, which is this literary prize for African writers to write African stories for Africans. And when you look at the rates of illiteracy in Africa and the impact that they are having, because by having books that children actually want to read, that they are excited about, that they can relate to, it changes not only how they see themselves, but also their excitement to dove into a book.

00:31:20:19 – 00:31:24:03
Senta Slingerland
More so they should be explored. So we understand, right?

00:31:24:03 – 00:31:24:09
Philippa White
You know.

00:31:24:15 – 00:31:25:16
Senta Slingerland
How they.

00:31:25:20 – 00:31:44:21
Philippa White
Use the power of perspective, helping people see themselves differently. You will see it be it showing what is possible. And when you do expose people to other scenarios, what that then injects people with and what that then shows to them and their capabilities and then just how powerful that is.

00:31:44:21 – 00:32:07:14
Senta Slingerland
What you need to do is just what’s so powerful is just give something language to remember when MeToo became such a big thing, just by having those words, people could talk about it because they had a vehicle, they had language for it. And so you be it is also by having the experience of these creatives getting together, it opens up so many possibilities to talk about stuff that they never thought they could talk to anyone about.

00:32:07:14 – 00:32:11:19
Senta Slingerland
And yeah, it’s just you create possibilities for for conversation around stuff.

00:32:11:20 – 00:32:15:05
Philippa White
What happened? I asked you that you would like to tell our listeners as we start.

00:32:15:05 – 00:32:49:04
Senta Slingerland
To get maybe something around what I think is one of the most important skills for people in business, that you’ve actually just touched upon it yourself. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about, and I think it’s something that I’ve nurtured through the years is a cross-cultural understanding. It’s exactly that and cross-cultural experience as well. I think it’s so incredibly powerful people to try and have cross-cultural experience of working and not just cross-cultural as I need to work in a different country, but even just with people from a different background, a different sex, or even maybe even just a different department within your company, you know.

00:32:49:20 – 00:33:13:06
Senta Slingerland
But this idea of being able to work with different cultures in the widest sense of the world and translate between them and switch quickly between languages, because in every culture or in whatever sense of the word has its own language, right, whether it’s an actual language or a sort of a jargon or whatever it is. So being able to translate between, though, is a skill that I don’t think we talk about that much at all.

00:33:13:06 – 00:33:29:19
Senta Slingerland
When you have those articles of the five skills you need to survive in business today and like agility and whatever else. And I’m like, no, it’s, it’s, this is how I grew. And I hope that I’m trying to instill this a bit in the people I work with.

00:33:30:12 – 00:33:33:21
Philippa White
And to thank you so much for joining us. I really enjoyed this.

00:33:33:23 – 00:33:39:16
Senta Slingerland
Thank you so much for having me. I always, always, always love talking to you. And today was no different.

00:33:39:16 – 00:33:41:18
Philippa White
Yay! Thank you. Until next time.

00:33:42:10 – 00:33:44:12
Senta Slingerland
Thank you very soon. Bye bye.

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