It’s only words, but words aren’t all I have

They say you should judge a person by their actions, not their words. I entirely agree, although in this case I have to appeal to your pragmatism.

Much of my day-to-day work is about selling words. So judge me on my words if you want to buy words off me, and on my actions if you want to buy actions off me.

Oh never mind… here are some examples of both.

(When will I have the pleasure of adding your project to my list?)


Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications

In 2017 I started work towards a Professional Diploma in Strategic Marketing. Since then, I have gained two level six qualifications (equivalent to undergraduate level): a Strategic Marketing Award and Digital Strategy Award. This has given me a new perspective on strategy, marketing and business in general.

Food expert for ZDF (their words not mine)

Picture of home made mince pies with Christmas tree (blurred) in background

Every year at Christmas, I bake mince pies and for the past four years, we’ve been inviting friends and family around to share them with us. In early summer, when spicy fruity fillings and crumbly pastry are the last thing on one’s mind, I got a call from ZDF – German’s national state-funded broadcaster – to ask whether I would like to be part of a documentary they were doing about various cultures present all across Germany.

Copywriting for massive brands

My career as a freelance copywriter started in 2015 when I was asked to do some advertising copy for PUK, which works for Sennheiser. I said, “Yes!” even though I kind of thought, “No!” It all went very well and they’ve had me working for NEFF kitchen appliances and the odd bit of work on other household brands. I also work for Continental via Windrich & Sörgel and Henkell Freixenet via Eurokommunikation.

Optimising professional profiles

Personal branding and, of late, employee branding are hot topics and I’ve been on board with Holger Ahrens and his “Profiloptimierer” for a while. I help them reach a wider audience by translating them into English.

Why Hamburg?

From late 2013 until 2016 I wrote regular interviews with international people who have made Hamburg their home. This included all the technical setup (WordPress), finding interview partners, writing up the interviews and taking photos. The static site is still available.

Drupal

My first experience of Drupal was pretty much out of curiosity: I chose this CMS to build the Kultwerk West website in 2012 (now no longer operating). Through the Drupal User Group, I got in touch with comm-press and ended up working there. The learning curve was steep and I came away with technical superpowers including git and understanding of proper deployment for large-scale websites as well as agile project management practices. During my time at comm-press I took part in various DrupalCons including Portland, Prague and events in Dublin. I conducted many video interviews, highlights being with the Drupal inventor Dries Buytaert and in a lake (yes, in a lake) in Wolfsburg.

Campaign for female Anglo-German Club membership

Is sexism British?

The animated GIF you see on the left was probably the most time-consuming and least effective part of the campaign to gently persuade the Anglo-German Club to accept women members. An open letter, articles in the Abendblatt, The Times and The Local, and a little bit of trolling the British Ambassador on Twitter appeared to be more effective. Katharina Fegebank, Deputy Mayor of Hamburg, was the first woman ever to join. It took them until 2018 #justsaying

Brexit events

I organised the first, and what we expected to be the last, Brexit event for expats in Hamburg before the referendum took place. This was one of a series of nationwide events instigated by Jon Worth. On the panel were Annette Dittert (ARD), Jon Worth, Brian Melican and Louise Brown in the chair. Around 70 people attended.

Subsequent events that I have helped organise include a pub quiz, an information event with the Honorary British Consulate (Nick Teller) and several informal meetups.

Fashion websites and photography

Smith's Logo in window

Back when I had Ferdinand Weps’ design skills to call upon, I built the websites for Smith’s Hamburg and Bloom Hamburg. Both websites, for which I built the theme and did all the WordPress technical work, are still up and running and – thanks Ferdinand – look great. I did all the photography for the Smith’s website and the texts too. The concept was a joint effort with Ferdinand.

Social Media Week Hamburg

Video streaming at the Social Media Week

The Social Media Week remains a permanent fixture on the international conference schedule. I joined the Hamburg team in 2013 and 2014, introducing the role of stage host, which was later adopted by the Reeperbahn Festival Conference. I acquired event organisers, brainstorming topics and compelling formats with them, and achieved a few “firsts” too – Hamburg’s first museum tweetup and Olaf Scholz’ first Google+ Hangout. During the week, I was responsible for an entire location which included managing staff, guests and all technology including live streaming.

Video interviews in a lake

A DSLR, a telephoto lens, a tripod, a mobile phone to capture the audio and a few willing helpers. Wouldn’t it have been boring to do interviews on the shore? Somehow I persuaded 20 people to get their kit off and take to the water.

Telepresence for Kultwerk West events

Olaf Scholz, first Hangout

When I helped out in my spare time at Kultwerk West (a Hamburg community that did bafflingly high-quality events considering it was run entirely by volunteers), I had a proper sound deck with cordless microphones at my disposal. I combined this with Google Hangouts to include speakers from around the world who otherwise would not have been available. It worked very well and we had a bit of a coup with Olaf Scholz’ first ever Hangout at the Social Media Week 2014.

Managing European e-democracy projects

TuTech Innovation Logo

My first job in Hamburg was working for TuTech, a state-owned joint venture between the City of Hamburg and its Technical University. I was responsible for our participation in the PARTERRE project, a Europe-wide consortium of e-democracy professionals and researchers. I also managed the PEP-NET project, and instigated and organised the second PEP-NET Summit, which took place at the Bucerius Law School in 2012.

Change Management at Birmingham City Council

My first ever full-time job was working for Birmingham City Council as part of the Graduate Development Programme. Here, I went through four different departments (including Regional and International Division, Policy, Digital Birmingham and Excellence in People Management). The Council was in the midst of a huge business transformation project, and – in particular during my final stage – I accompanied this through organising workshops, offering support and helping out with implementation and comms.