Natascha Chamuleau is not afraid of a challenge. In fact, Natascha welcomes the objections and obstacles that stretch her beliefs and help her grow. Embracing challenges as growth opportunities has helped proactively and positively shape her career. Now, as Chief Advertising Officer (CAO) for WeTransfer, Natascha is encouraging all women in marketing to see possibilities in every challenge.
A global executive with vast expertise in business, digital marketing and technology, Natascha has held senior positions at high-growth technology platforms, including eBay, Classifieds and Facebook/Instagram. In her new position as CAO, she is responsible for establishing WeTransfer as the leading brand-building platform in the creative community.
Empowering Leadership Starts With Embracing & Advocating For Change
Natascha is a leader who knows how to effectively drive change. She is highly skilled at confidently and diligently tackling tough decisions and accelerating growth through empowering the leadership of her international teams across Amsterdam (HQ), Los Angeles, New York and London.
“Over the last few years, I started to realize how much of my day is based on things I learned from others. I quote and re-quote insights and I draw and redraw powerful models.” Natascha noted that many of the principles and practices which have helped her to achieve success were inspired by the actions of those around her. She encourages other women to embrace the practice of constantly learning from others as a key strategy for their career journeys.
She also challenges her team and colleagues to share their beliefs, opinions and ideas. Natascha firmly believes a commitment to collaboration has helped her not only learn more about herself, but also form the ideas and solutions that ultimately benefited others. She stresses that without the free exchange of diverse ideas and opinions, many of her most successful projects and initiatives would not have come to fruition.
As a result of her love of working alongside others, Natascha became an early advocate for internal diversity and inclusion efforts. Natascha firmly believes in the direct impact a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion has on company culture. In addition to playing a key role in driving initiatives to empower women in her past role at Facebook Dublin, she also worked with TRC Media to boost board-level representation of women in digital roles and recently discussed hiring for diversity in a panel at the Rise and Lead summit. Natascha is a passionate mentor for the women around her and is an experienced event speaker who has presented countless sessions on the importance of diversity and inclusion to other industry professionals.
Learning From Failure & Creating Opportunity
Failure may be inevitable, but it is not the end. Natascha says, “We all failed at some point,” but she notes that her best learning experiences came from failure.
“While you learn from observing and talking with others, you probably learn more from setbacks and failures.” Natascha describes the many moments when encountering obstacles and errors in her career taught her helpful lessons for the future. She said, “I remember the time I only noticed we would significantly miss the quarter’s goal the last week of the quarter and when we had to roll back within 30 minutes of launching a new product because I overlooked the critical detail that took the whole site down. More importantly, I remember the instances of slow or incorrect actions I took and did not take which led to toxic people being part of the team way too long.”
Natascha believes it is impossible to attain her level of success without a few missteps, errors and self-doubt. However, Natascha knows failure kept her hungry and humble and led to motivation and inspiration.
Natascha described the importance of discussing your failures as a way to overcome repeating mistakes in the future and gaining useful knowledge and experience from them. She notes that, for a leader, learning to take responsibility and be open with your teams is essential for career development and personal growth. She urges female leaders at all levels to be comfortable talking about difficulties, challenges and setbacks, even when they are afraid to admit they missed the mark.
“[It is] important to talk about failures, [with] yourself and others, and explain the why, what you learned and which actions you are taking to mitigate the mess. [There is] nothing worse than a company or leader that shuns difficult conversations.”
Take Action & Give Power To Choice Over Chance
Natascha notes that it was deliberate choice, not chance, that shaped many of the pivotal moments in her career.
“I have been very lucky and have been given opportunities not everyone gets, including talking with many amazing mentors who challenged and believed in me. However, opportunities do not just come by, you need to create them and grab them. You need to be focused, take initiatives, push yourself outside your comfort zone and be super confident (or at least, come across as being so).”
Visualize Future Success, Then Plan For It
When asked the common question, “Where do you see yourself in X years,” Natascha admits she struggles with this question – like many of us do.
“I had never planned to move to Denmark for two out of my seven years at eBay Classified, never dreamed about moving my family again shortly after for a career at Facebook Dublin and then back to the Netherlands three years later and get carte blanche to reset the advertising part at WeTransfer.”
Although the “where do you see yourself” question is a struggle, Natascha has a unique way of envisioning her goals and reaching for the next level. Vision statements have helped Natascha detail her plans at the moments she is ready to make a change.
“When I know I want to take the next step in my life or career, I write a personal vision statement. While I know some people who write these [personal vision statements] every year, I do it when I want [to make a] change but am struggling to push myself to make it happen.” Natascha’s vision statements are short but detailed plans that usually focus on one significant step. In addition, Natascha stresses that each of her vision statements must have an accompanying deadline or key date.
“Essentially, I treat vision statements as if I am writing a letter to myself, dated in the future, written in the past tense, like [the success] already happened.” Visualization has helped Natascha remain committed to her goals and accountable to herself.