I was recently at an invigorating gathering in Luxembourg called Trans-Atlantic Dialogues and was fortunate to run into a young woman called Johanna Suo. I have known Johanna for four years; we met in Berlin when she was speaking at the launch of the European Cultural Parliament Youth Network. Since then she has been involved with various European networks and I am always impressed by her clarity of vision and tenacity. She is young and energetic and, having worked at Innovation Culture Europe (www.ice-eu.net ), conceptualised a project about European identity for the Goethe-Institut Paris and is now working as Director of Development at Culture and Media Agency Europe (www.culture-media.eu). She has extensive European knowledge. Recently she was awarded the Marshall Memorial Fellowship (aiming to strengthen Trans-Atlantic relations and understanding). I'm pleased to include her in my Women of Influence series. I managed to get a few minutes of her time to hear about one of her latest initiatives.
I have never really considered myself 'creative' and I very much admire people who have a clear distinctive creative streak. However, if by creative you mean someone who is curious, hard-working and not afraid to take up challenge, then yes, I'm creative with a quite determined side.
I'm delighted to introduce Helle Juul as our third Woman of Influence in our international series. I first met Helle about eight eight years ago and was inspired by her ideas, the elegance of her language, her presentation and also the warmth with which she addressed questions from the audience. In Helle I saw at once the core competences one would expect from an outstanding architect with the vision to realise exceptional processes and projects. I am looking forward to a time when we might work together but until that time I thought more people should know about how her talent and business acumen is changing the face of architecture in the Nordic region.
I have known of Janis' work for some years but have been struck by her recent commitment to working in China and also the super-human energy she has put behind this. As the original instigator of the International Creative Entrepreneurship Awards when I was at the British Council, I am delighted that she was awarded one last year and that it will take international work forward for the UK in such a progressive manner. I hope you enjoy Janis' reflections.
Power is often vested in those that are in the elite group within a profession. It is recognised that in most professions, whether at a senior executive level or at board level, it is harder for women to reach the top. There are a host of factors for this which have been well covered by others and the Cultural and Creative industries are no exception. Of course influence can be exerted by reaching a high level, but the beauty of influence is that it does not depend on Power, even though it can be powerful, and it can emerge from any part of the creative and cultural ecology. We wanted to provide a platform for some of those women who have for a variety of reasons established themselves as thought leaders, opinion formers, exceptionally creative or entrepreneurial and through their activity have become influential. Sometimes they have been gutsy or provocative and sometimes they have just gone about their business in a confident, steady and assertive manner. They have all managed to attract a degree of attention, so here are some of those who have caught ours.
This time we profile Margriet Leemhuis, Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London.