Experience Design Director, Magdalena Paluchand Lead Strategic Designer, Katharina Seeger, reflect on the discussion that took place at  the very first DV Women Berlin event: NO GUTS NO GLORY | Episode #1: Transition – How to embrace the unknown in pursuit of personal growth

The DV Women’s Initiative  recently kicked-off the NO GUTS NO GLORY speaker series in Berlin with the goal of exchanging perspectives on leadership, collaboration, diversity, and transformation in our personal and professional lives.

Led by Olivia Graham, an Engineer from our Berlin Center, the discussion featured special guests Dovile Hann (CFO, Hive Learning), and Debbie Forster (CEO, Tech Talent Charter). Two of Graham’s personal ‘Chief Encouragement Officers,’ Hann and Forster covered a broad spectrum of topics with the audience, including how to face personal fears, navigating transitions and career planning.

One very important question that came up: Why are we afraid to step into the unknown? According to Hann, one of the reasons we struggle, or at least hesitate to push for change in our lives, is a socio-historical one.

“It’s because we’re rooted in tribes. We’ve learned that it’s safe to stay with the tribe. We’re not coded to want to step outside of that realm and into the unknown,” said Hann.

Another topic that resonated with the audience was the inability to recognize one’s own accomplishments, otherwise known as ‘Imposter Syndrome.’ Inspired by, by Hann and Forster, audience members shared their own personal experiences and strategies dealing with this issue. From her own experience, Forster believes that the best way to fight one’s own Imposter Syndrome is through awareness.

“Being aware of your inner critic is the first step. Once you’ve identified that, you can manage it and make sure you’re in control,” said Forster.

The conversation also covered the importance of having a mentor (and how to find  one), as well as  the topic of diversity (or lack thereof) in technology fields. The evening closed with a powerful reminder from Forster:

“We, especially women, tend to say ‘I was lucky …’ that’s nonsense. You did the work. Be grateful not lucky. Be grateful and move on.”

The event drew a large and diverse crowd, including many from DV, as well as guests from other firms across industry verticals who left feeling  inspired and positive.

We will continue to hold this event on a quarterly basis to grow our internal and external network of inspiring female CEOs – both Chief Executive and Chief Encouragement Officers – and learn from one another.

A special thanks to Dovile Hann and Debbie Forster  and to everyone else who contributed to make this event a success.

The  next installation of the  NO GUTS NO GLORY series  will take place  on March 8, International Women’s Day, at the DV Berlin Center. RSVP here to join us for a casual (and fun!) evening filled with inspiring speakers, and some great food and drink. 


Debbie Forster (CEO, Tech Talent Charter) and Dovile Hann (CFO, Hive Learning)