#100K: Gesine Märten


Do you know where happiness comes from? Well, science gives a clear answer: According to a 80+years Harvard-Study people who are surrounded by happy people are more likely to become happy in the future.

"The clearest message, that we get from this (…) study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period." Robert J. Waldinger, head of research  (Quote by Inc.)

This gives me a very good reason to reactivate my own network and contact friends I haven't spoken to for a while (and whom I know through Ketchum, an agency celebrating its 100th anniversary). Here is Gesine Märten, today Director Technology at Ketchum Germany

Gesine, you live and work from lovely Erfurt/Germany. That´s different than three years ago. Looking back over the last three Covid-pandemic years, what else changed? And what´s your biggest learning from this time?

First I´d like to talk what I have unlearned during this time: working in open-plan offices. The pandemic gave us the opportunity to get to know completely new ways of working. Some of what we´ve learned those days is great, still. 

For example today we work from very different places – together. Virtually. And it´s working. We´ve gained incredible freedom for our way of operating. At home – or wherever – we organise our day in a much more self-determined way. We allow ourselves quiet time thinking deep and we are able to recruit teammates everywhere. 

It doesn't matter where you live. You can work in any team constellation. We used to work in remote constellations before, but this level of freedom is new. And that’s a great learning from the – in other ways horrifying pandemic.

And one more observation: Virtual collaboration has created a new level of authenticity. Strangely enough, to some of the colleagues I work with virtually I feel more connected than I did before, when we went to the office. We see each other through a small window on the computer, but we also look into private rooms, into living rooms, join workations, see children running through the screen or dogs and cats. All this makes us work together with more humanity.

As Director Technology at Ketchum Germany you search for new ideas – constantly. What do you need to be creative?

For me, it is super important to get input from diverse directions. The stranger and wilder, the better. In my job, most of the time, I am into tech topics. Of course, I keep myself up to date with research, conferences, trend reports and much more. But beside all this, I need to connect with people who come from completely different areas. Privately, too. My circle of friends is colourful and diverse. 

The best ideas come through people who do very different things to my routines. They help me come up with unusual solutions. So my tip: choose your circle of friends and your networks wisely – these people are the sparks for your ideas.

We live in challenging times. And each of us is called upon to care. What is your contribution making the world a little bit better?

This question touches me very much. In the past I used to be very active. I was an activist with amnesty international and fought for political prisoners. During the time when immigration was a controversially discussed in society, I became involved in human rights education in schools. Today my engagement has become less - or I must say: it has changed.

Today I see it as my duty to make the world a little bit better through my work. Specifically, within the teams I am responsible for, as well as with the clients I work for.

I´d like to contribute to a working environment that puts people in the center. In which everyone can grow, feels heard and is inspired to create. Where you can make mistakes, learn, show emotions, and where problems are heard. 

I try to react flexibe to personal challenges of teammates and so does the agency. This includes trust-based working hours, flexible work models, workation options, mental health offers, distributed responsibility, co-leadership approaches, and most importantly, lots of mutual backing. 

A small example of how we implement this in virtual collaboration may sound a bit silly, but it´s super effective: a team member suggested to introduce a format we call "Love-Showers". This is feedback for colleagues who have achieved outstanding things, or colleagues who are currently in a difficult situation. We “shower” them in positive feedback and recognition. 

Give it a try. You will see a fantastic effect. On both sides. To the one who gets the "love", the positive feedback. And to those who give offer positive words.

Also with my customers, I am aware I can make a difference to the world. In many  projects we consult on, we identify opportunities for committed action to have a social or environmental impact. I´ll try to take every opportunity to address the challenges of our time with clients and advise so they exploit their potential for solutions. 

And I'm particularly passionate about working with startups that are tinkering with new solutions for the future, and like to get involved in accelerator or incubator programs. And there are so many ideas out there worth to be heard.

About #100K
The communications network Ketchum celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. This makes it probably the oldest communications agency in the world. As I, Petra Sammer, worked more than 25 years at Ketchum, learned so much at this agency and thankfull,  take this as an opportunity to meet old Ketchum-colleagues and friends. And ask them some fundamental questions. Thanks to Gesine and Martin Dambacher

Most Popular Blogposts

Kontakt zu Petra Sammer


Email *

Message *