Stories


People I Admire: Germans at the Top of Their Game
Nadja Sayej
2011-03-01

 Something about Germans – their work ethic. It blows me away. They are so committed to what they do, that they deserve some applause. Here are seven Germans at the top of their game who have taught me how to step it up professionally.


NAME: FRANK R. SCHRÖDER
Profession: Web developer, blogger and other things...
Hometown: Greifswald, Germany
How he got into his line of work: Consciously
Favourite thing about Germany: Germans
Frank has taught me
: That daily blogs help shape the cultural landscape in Berlin. When I first arrived in Germany, I hadn’t a clue where to go, what to see or what parties to become a part of. Ends up, the best friends I have ever made in Germany have been at parties Frank lists on his website, I Heart Berlin, which he founded in 2007. It truly makes you love a city, and the people that inhabit it.
Website: www.iheartberlin.de

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NAME: KATJA HENTSCHEL
Profession: Photographer
Hometown: Berlin
How she got into her line of work: At one point I just decided it would be fun to start a blog to have a reason to take more photos and to have a platform to share them with the world. One by one, magazines started to notice my photos and would give me jobs which ultimately allowed me to make photography my profession.
Favourite thing about Germany: Berlin and the opportunities it holds for those who want to make things happen. I have ideas all the time and for the most part I feel like Berlin allows me to make them happen.
Star quality: Since 2007, Katja has caught the attention of the fashion world with Glamcanyon, shooting Berlin street fashion. A party photographer, fashion mogul and portrait queen, she has also shot for the New Yorker, Glamour magazine and Vice magazine, among others. Strong, independent and business-savvy, Katja truly is a star in the making.
How we met: Oh my God, I was going to host a booth at one of her vintage fashion fairs – except I didn’t have anything to sell. So we chatted it up over coffee and cupcakes while I bought one of her old shirts for 7€. We’ve kept in touch ever since.
Websites: katjahentschel.com, glamcanyon.com, travelettes.net

NAME: NICOLE RÖBEL
Profession: Press and Public Relations at Visit Berlin
Why she is awesome: Nicole was literally the first person I met in Berlin – just as I landed, we met up for breakfast at Alexanderplatz to chat about the city I was about to conquer. I was surprised and amazed with her well-versed knowledge about the city, especially what’s new. She is always on top of new music festivals, pop-up shops, restaurants, and more. She truly is my guide to Berlin.
Favourite thing about Germany: As she says on her LinkedIn profile, “Meeting journalists to show them my amazing city.”
Website: www.visitberlin.de/en

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NAME: STEPHAN BRAUNGARDT
Profession: Managing Director at Unusuals
His story: This super-achiever first started out as a producer at ad agencies before opening up the Berlin branch of Germany’s second-largest commercial production company. He has produced art films, won Gold awards at the German Art Director’s Club and was partner at Berlin36, an international marathon short film fest.
His claim to fame: Stephan co-founded Unusuals, an online platform for the ad industry, in 2007. Catchy, sharp and acute, the site – and network – proves to fill a void in an industry which many find have no soul. Not with Stephan around. He is one of the most wholehearted, warm and welcoming people I have ever met.
Website: www.unusuals.net

NAME: CHRISTOPH WEHRER
Profession: Photographer
Hometown: Regensburg, Germany
Awesome factor: He may seem like a shy, stay-at-home guy, but this photographer is everywhere – at fashion shoots, at art parties and more, with his weapon: The camera. I’ve never seen this guy without a camera. From shooting the latest collection by the Berlin-based designer Von Bardonitz, to coming with me on set and shooting for ArtStars* with Peaches, he has a fascination with behind-the-scenes stuff, and captures all the naturally candid moments. One thing I know is sure, he is never afraid to flash his lens in the strangest of places, and has told me on more than one occasion to “stop posing.”
Website: christophwehrer.de

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NAME: DENHART VON HARLING
Profession: Press officer at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art
Awesome factor: I’ll admit, I was a bitch the first time I met Denhart. I wanted access to a show I didn’t RSVP to in the first place, and he handled the situation exceptionally well. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan for his high level of professionalism and commitment to all things conceptual. He handles the press for the Berlin Biennale, the best-known forum for contemporary art in Berlin – a big deal, to say the least.
Claim to fame: He often appears in prestigious art publications like the Art Newspaper – defending the Biennale – and has been snapped with broad smiles by Artforum for his trottings about town. He also dresses exceptionally well, all the time, and deserves a fashion award.
Website: kw-berlin.de

NAME: FRANK HOFFMANN
Profession: Producer at Mutter und Vater Production Company
What he does: Frank co-founded the Mutter und Vater Production Company - producing commercials, music videos and documentary films faster than you can say MTV. He has more than eight years of working experiences in production work for different formats such as commercials, imagefilms, music promos and TV-series.
How we met: I was introduced to Frank through a friend of mine, David Incorvaia. We met for coffee in Mitte, as he was willing to offer me advice on my web-TV show, ArtStars*. A resourceful, inventive and creative guide to the German film and TV business, I was astounded by his generosity in helping me get my show off the ground. He also taught me the art of showing people my “chocolate side,” that is, your best side when asking for something.
Website: mutterundvater.com

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artstarstv.com_250px.jpg NADJA SAYEJ, host of ArtStars*, writes about art for artUS, Border Crossings, C magazine, Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times and was splashed the cover of Eye Weekly as “the next Jeanne Beker.” She was called “Center Stage in Toronto in an Art in America cover story. She is a columnist for enRoute and is busting her ass in Berlin, Germany, and surrounding countries. Follow the adventurous fun on Twitter or her ever-popular Facebook fanpage or even on LinkedIn, as well.

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My experience in Germany has been invaluable. In addition to learning German and taking part in another culture, I have learned so much about myself. I am confident that I can thrive away from the comforts of home and that I am dynamic and flexible. This is exactly what today’s employers are looking for – giving me a competitive advantage in the working world.
Kate from British Columbia – working for an international not-for-profit organisation.