March 2021 is women’s history month, and that means a whole lot to us at Wunderdogs. As a woman-led agency with our core team consisting of about 70% women, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our ethos. We also value highlighting and uplifting other women in design, tech, and beyond, so we asked our team about their experience as women in the industry, the women they admire, and those that have influenced their lives and careers. Here’s what they had to say:
Co-founder & COO
My grandmother (who turned 91 last year) has always been the biggest inspiration in my career. She started to work as a math teacher at the age of 21 and her last day at school was when she turned 80. During her career, she was a Vice Principal at school for over 40 years and the best math teacher in the whole region. At the same time, as she was building her career, she raised 3 kids and later 4 grandkids, including myself. It was always very inspiring to see her and how she could balance her work with her personal life. For me, it was a tough decision to co-found Wunderdogs when I was 8 months pregnant, but because I had such a great example in my life, I decided to go for it, and we’re almost four years into this journey.
Co-founder & CEO
My mom! She graduated as an architect and was a professional mountain climber. While it was very challenging to find work after the fall of the Soviet Union, she managed to do everything from breaking off icicles from the rooftops in winter (it’s called industrial alpinism) to sweeping the floors. She did this all while having me as a young child around her neck. After taking computer classes at night so she could go back to the job market and be competitive, she eventually joined an architectural firm – and then launched her own. She was always an immense support to my now-late father, who she loved more than anything. It was the glue that tied our family together. Now in her 50’s, she keeps adventuring around the world – her favorite thing of all time. She and her twin sister, who I perceive as my second mom, are the most courageous, kind, and inspiring women that taught me to value persistence, wit, love, and compassion.
For the past few years, I’ve been inspired by one of the most popular women in design out there – Jessica Walsh. I became even more excited about her when I joined her social initiative, Ladies Wine Design. I love her designs, but more than that, I love her social experiments and thinking. I think she is a true example of being a designer beyond branding and identity. Studying user experience and pushing yourself to train your empathy to understand what needs to be designed and how —in a global way. Another woman who’s inspired me in the past couple of years is Wedzicka. I love her work as a designer and artist; her work just brings my eyes loads of pleasure. I think she’s a real trendsetter in graphic design, at least on a local scale.
I have always been inspired by Beatriz Milhazes, a Brazilian artist and designer. In my early college years, she was a huge source of inspiration. I love Camille Walala as well and how she scales her work beyond the screen of paper. I believe women have come a long way to redefine what it means to be a woman, so we are no longer confined to kitchens or defined by the number of children we have. For that reason, our horizon gained new proportion. Although it still is hard to occupy some spaces, we can now reach any career we imagine. It is a healthier cycle I’ve seen: of women pulling other women up once they occupy a place they were not welcome before. We’ve still got a long way to go because the patriarchy is still alive and kicking, but together we can change and overcome everything.
I don’t know if it is a cliche, but I will say the woman who inspired me in my life and career is my mother. I am really grateful for my mother. She brought me up and set me on the path I am on now: that of an independent, take-no-BS-from-anyone person. She was a single mom who raised me alone and worked her ass off, so I can have everything I needed and more — Like I had 4 parents in 1. I always deserved every reward I got and didn’t get anything handed to me on a plate. She taught me how to stay focused on my goals, and learning from her experiences throughout life made me stronger as a person today. She also made some mistakes, but that also taught me what to avoid in this world.
Most importantly, I learned to not look to anyone else to feel accomplished, validated, or well-rounded as a person. Anyone who enters my life will only feel love and strength. I am happy to be the person I am today, so I can give back to her everything she gave to me growing up. She is older now, so I do all I can to take care of her —as a thank you for everything she did for me.
Content Marketing Manager
I’ve always had the privilege of working in teams led by women throughout my career — I don’t think I’ve ever directly reported to a man before! I’ve been fortunate always to have a shining example of a woman in a leadership position at every stage of my life. When I was a child, I would watch my entrepreneur mother taking charge and building a business from nothing in a heavily misogynistic society. Her company now supports approx. 80 families and runs programs to empower other women financially, especially those with children who are in need. I think there is so much progress to celebrate in the space of diversity, considering how far we’ve come as women. However, we still have a long way to go in general, especially at the intersection of race and gender equality in the workplace. Many brands and organizations still need to embrace diversity beyond aesthetics and incorporate it into their core operations and culture, where it’s most needed.