CNC Graduate and Editor-in-Chief of Amsterdam-based lifestyle magazine Kek Mama will be speaking at the very first Women’s Visibility Week.
Women’s Visibility Week, that took place this week from 1st-5th March organised by BrandedU – a personal branding institute built for the acceleration of women in business – played host to a series of informative and insightful talks from leading female speakers. Condé Nast College alumni, Helene van Santen, joins the group of speakers during the event alongside other prominent leading ladies from organisations such as ABN AMRO and TOMTOM.
The event launches in line with International Women’s Day 2021 with the mission to make 20,000 women visible through celebrating women in business and their achievements. Van Santen is an award-winning editor who won the Mercur Editor-in-Chief of the Year 2020 with Kek Mama scooping up the Cross Media Brand of 2020 award. In light of her talk, the College caught up with van Santen to discuss the event and raising awareness around visibility in the workplace.
What message do you hope viewers take away from your talk?
That you can become anything you want to. With a true passion, the right amount of self-confidence, and a good network, you can achieve anything.
Which powerful women do you admire the most and why?
So many: American VP Kamala Harris, American entrepreneur and presenter Oprah Winfrey, British actress and activist Emma Watson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch talkshow host Eva Jinek, Dutch politician Sigrid Kaag (running for prime minister in the Netherlands – elections in two weeks). They all have two things in common: they are women supporting women, and they are fearlessly ambitious, and therefore a great role model for girls and women.
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Throughout the week, speakers are wrestling with the topic of visibility in the workplace. How do you hope to see changes in addressing this fundamental issue this year?
I hope that people will learn to see leadership as something that belongs to a woman as well as a man. I think nowadays, when you say the word “leader”, many people still see a white man. I hope companies will become more inclusive, especially in their leadership positions.
What advice would you give younger women wanting to pursue their passion in the fashion industry?
Go for it! Educate yourself, surround yourself with women who are supportive, get a mentor, build a strong network, and never give up on your dream.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Winning the Cross Media Brand of 2020 award with the entire team of Kek Mama. And winning the Editor-in-chief of the Year 2020 award at the Mercurs, the ‘Oscars of the magazine industry’ in the Netherlands.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I’ve always dreamed of working in the magazine business.
If you could say anything to your younger self what would it be?
Be more self-confident and assured, you will achieve everything you secretly dream of…