Anne Howanietz – On why you need to be open for change: Transformation isn’t easy, but it is worth it
By Fatima Gorezi
With her warm smile and calm appearance, Anne Howanietz makes her presence known in a modest way whenever she’s around large gatherings of people. As soon as you get the chance to talk to her, you can’t help but admire her and be spellbound by the way she narrates her experiences. She is a vision-oriented strategist that has a passion for storytelling and using stories to help her clients shape their brand. She grabbed Global Woman magazine’s attention back in October 2018 when she spoke at the launch event for Global Woman Club Frankfurt. Anne speaks with a passion, vibrancy and energy that mesmerises her audience wherever she speaks.
What are a few of your success stories regarding your journey as an entrepreneur?
At one of the events I met Maike and Lilli and our friendship developed from that day. They both subsequently became directors of the first German Global Woman Club and they invited me to speak at the opening in Frankfurt, which was such an amazing experience I couldn’t turn down. I spent a lot of time thinking about what to say and how to act on stage. In the end, I decided to just be myself. While it wasn’t the first time, I’ve ever given a speech, it was the first time I didn’t do it for someone else: I just did it for me. It was a turning point in the way I saw myself and felt I could really express myself and my passion for what I do. That was an incredible feeling and the beginning of an amazing journey.
With greater clarity and confidence to talk about what I do, I found I could support people in my network with their branding and identity. We would be talking about their product/service and it became easier to help them understand how they could use storytelling to showcase the value they offer their customers. I also helped them to find the right words to use to increase the chances of reaching their target group directly.
Tell us a bit about your professional background?
While I was studying Business Administration at university in Frankfurt, I worked for a consulting company offering database management systems and portal solutions. Before I finished my degree, I secured a permanent position there and, after one year, I was promoted to team leader. I became responsible for the business department, managed the planning of the business strategies and monitored the departments’ budget of €2.5 million. During this time, we grew our business from around 10 clients to 200, transforming from a start-up-type business to a settled one. I led and supported a wide range of projects and was responsible for system improvements as well as transforming workflows throughout the department to become more efficient.
Why is it important that your business operates in an agile way?
Everybody is different and every business has something unique to offer. Sometimes you need a fresh, innovative perspective to find a way to communicate the essence of a brand and what they are trying to achieve. This means I have to be flexible – agile – when I work with my clients. If I was too rigid in the way I worked, I wouldn’t build a good rapport with my clients and it would be much harder – if not impossible – to get them to express themselves in the right way, with words that resonate with their clients and customers.
People are always talking about business transformation – what does that mean?
There is a saying: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.“ If you want to take the next step and grow your business further, you have to believe in yourself and in the possibility of reaching where you want to be. You have to have a clear vision and allow yourself space for growth.
Transformation isn’t always easy but you must be open for change otherwise it has the potential to become a negative process. With clear business goals and sheer determination to achieve them, I’ve found it’s always worth it.
What inspires you in everyday life?
I love to try something new, something I’ve never experienced before, whether that’s travelling to a foreign country to take a cooking class or redesigning a Kimono. New experiences broaden my horizons to the world and to different cultures and this has always been a game changer for me. Regular communication with others also brings me so much inspiration and motivation, both from a personal and business perspective.
What does financial freedom mean to you?
Having the opportunity to follow my passion from anywhere I want, whenever I want.
What is the mindset that leaders require in order to actually succeed in a digital world?
For me it is always a question of flexibility and communication. You must be aware of the changes that are coming your way and not see them as a barrier but as a chance to grow yourself and your business. If you can reach out to your network and team, working hand in hand with them instead of merely using them, you will build up a more powerful community that will take you even further. That is not necessarily the case when you just let someone solve a single problem you told them to.
Do you have a favourite quote regarding business/entrepreneurship that you would like to share with our readers?
Go for whatever makes you happy.
Can you tell us more about your experience with Global Woman Club?
The Global Woman Club offered me a network where I can connect with like-minded women in many different countries. I have got to know amazing and inspiring women that really support each other. There are many opportunities waiting for me, and I am ready to catch them!