Women in Business – 4 successful stories from Vienna

Women in Business – 4 successful stories from Vienna


By Fati Gorezi

Barbara Flasch-Breulmann , Asetila Köstinger ,  Katharina Plange and Ela Lair are four amazing women from Vienna. They are all entrepreneurs who are passionate about creating positive change through high impact communication. In this article they share their stories to help inspire others to stay motivated and to take action in their lives.
 

Barbara Flasch-Breulmann

The Magic of Thinking Big

Barbara Flasch-Breulmann has been an entrepreneur and marketer since she finished her international studies at the end of the 90s. Barbara had originally worked as a consultant for more than 300 international and global players and over the last 15 years she developed strategies and campaigns for service orientated financial stock listed companies. She has successfully conducted consultancy assignments for companies from family owned businesses, Ferrero, Stabilo etc. up to Fortune 500 Companies such as Coca Cola, Nestlé, and Estée Lauder.


Can you tell us more about your business and how you developed it?
‘Fluu.io’ is an influencer and brand portal that connects brands with relevant influencers around the globe. The uniqueness of this platform Is the algorithm that matches brands with the influencers on qualitative and quantitative criteria. It was founded as a spin-off of a multi-unit Marketing and Communication agency to create a link between professional brand marketing strategy and people with a relevant audience.


How will you take your business from Vienna to a global level?
It was launched from the very first moment as a global business. Our ambition is to address distributors of international niche products throughout the world and to connect them with the right audience in a foreign market.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a businesswoman in Vienna?
Connecting with other women that are business owners on a global level has not so been easy.


What skills would you recommend for other women to advance in their careers?
Be patient, be curious, be tough, be open minded and be straight. Tell your story to everyone even your best friends. Don’t take thing personally. Keep on moving as long as you know your next step.
 

Katharina Plange

Behind the mask, being who you are

Katharina is a world-class ‘de-masking’ Coach that brings people ́s lives to the next level so that they can live a life without limits. Over the years, Katharina has accompanied many individuals, who were willing to change their lives and who wanted to become who they really are. During her coaching, she experienced that many of her clients suffered from the inheritance of war generation related traumas which, in reality, they barely knew.


Can you tell us more about your business and how it was developed?
I specialise in the coaching of people who only function to win the daily rat race rather than living the life they want and deserve. They play the game of life but do not enjoy it. What does that mean? In today´s world, we were raised to meet the rules and expectations of others, we learned to adjust ourselves. Very often, our inner feelings do not correspond with our outer expression. We have been taught that showing emotions is a weakness rather than a strength so therefore we have learned to put on our daily masks. We learned to hold a solid poker face, a success mask.

I too was a specialist in wearing success masks up to the day I suffered a half-body paralysis. Today I know that this was a great gift that changed my life completely. Now I inspire others with my story and as a de-masking coach I help people to become who they really are and to take control over their life.


How will you take your business from Vienna to a global level?
Well I did more or less the reverse. I think it is easier to be known internationally and then you will be recognised in your home country. Besides having several coaches in Austria, I hired international coaches, got global speaking engagements and started coaching in other countries and building an international network to get testimonials and be branded. Now is the time to start business in Austria.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a businesswoman in Vienna?
When I wanted to open my business, I did not know that Austria is the only country in the world where coaching is regulated for convincing reasons. My foreign certificates were not accepted. The state does not make it easy for you to become self-employed. It was time consuming and expensive, but it was a great learning experience as I stayed focused and walked the path until the end.

One of my beliefs is – when you have a passion and a goal, go for it, no matter how big the obstacles that come your way.


What skills would you recommend for other woman to advance in their own business?
The most important thing is to understand yourself, be yourself and be self-aware. Do not try to imitate others and, as a woman, do not try and copy men. Be authentic, listen to your heart call and get rid of anything that holds you back. If your inside is negative, then change it to positive and the outside will then change too. Create your own story and enjoy it. Take my personal success formula and incorporate it:

‘Authenticity + Integrity + Passion = Fulfilled Success’

This is the solid foundation you need in order to live your life to the fullest. You only have one life.
 

Ela Lair

 Mind Power for Success

Ela Lair is a hands-on professional with over 16 years of applied work experience in dissecting thought patterns, belief structures, attitudes and emotions that often hamper our career development.  She has the talent to simplify complex thinking patterns thus helping people to find the reason for their recurring thoughts and also creating an understanding to help them raise self-awareness regarding the causes of their problems. Ela holds a diploma in ‘Mental Training’ a certificate for communication and business management, as well as for ‘Human Resources’.


Can you tell us more about your business and how it was developed?
Learning how the mind works and using this knowledge to self-determine life is one of my biggest passions. Sharing this discovery with others, thus teaching and helping people to know more about the power of self-determination has become my profession. it gives me satisfaction to be able to influence people’s lives to an extent where it’s possible for them to become an active player rather than being the played one.

Until now, I’ve been a one-woman-show, but with my goal to expand, I’ll be looking for professionals, like IT specialists, book-keeping and branding experts, a ‘virtual assistant’ and support with public relations. Hiring the best coaches so far, I’ve come to understand how important it is to aim high when you want to become outstanding and achieve excellent results. That’s my philosophy and I follow this very strictly.


How will you take your business from Vienna to a global level?
The question should be turned around, as I have already received international recognition by giving several speeches on the principles of how to use the mind. I also have an international track record for supporting people by transforming their thought patterns, attitudes and belief structures. Thus, I actually came back to Europe and I now hope to influence the German speaking market as this knowledge is not as popular here yet. I can already see the big picture of a great community striving for the best.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a businesswoman in Vienna?
just recently, my dear friend reminded me that German speaking people are different when it comes to adapting to new ideas. Pretty much everything seems to be different with them regarding this topic. It basically means that it just takes more time for new ideas to be accepted. Once they understand, see the need and learn the benefits, nothing holds them back – and this momentum must be built for a thriving community in my home region. I just know that the people here will soon be very excited about this topic and will want to learn more as it can be used to achieve anything one desires. And German speaking people are indeed very ambitious, creative and well educated to understand the benefits.


What skills would you recommend for other women to advance in their careers?
I am thrilled to be able to share these three steps that I discovered to change my life:
I had to become fully aware of what I was doing to myself on the inside
I had to release all my pains and hurts
I had to transform my harmful beliefs into beneficial ones

The ‘empowerment’ only started after I had accomplished these three steps, and this is the key to living a self-determined life.
 

Asetila Köstinger

Be the Best You

Asetila Köstinger is an Austrian International Consultant and award-winning Business Trainer. She is also founder of ‘KulturenReich’ – a social enterprise that empowers foreign-born women by combining the most successful elements out of Intercultural Management, Personal Development, Branding and Public Relations.


Can you tell us more about your business and how you developed it?
I was born in Albania in the Western Balkans. I never intended to leave my country, but I came to Austria in 2006 for love. I already had a career and a lot of valuable skills when I arrived here and I thought I could use them in my new home country. But he opposite was the case. Everything I had done before in my life was as ‘written on the sea shore’. Suddenly a ‘new wave’ came and wiped it all away. I realised that I had two options: I could sit there and cry and play the victim or take a new canvas and design my new life from scratch. I choose the latter. I learned German, studied International Business and a developed a new ‘Me’ after a lot of effort and consistency. After ‘Sunshine’ was born I started meeting other mothers from his kindergarden or from the playground. I noticed that a lot of foreign-born women were trapped between these same two choices. And most of them didn’t have the strength or the motivation to see any way out.

That’s when I decided, with two other friends, to found ‘KulturenReich’ (which means ‘Rich in Culture’ or ‘Culturally Rich’). We believe that if you educate and empower a migrant man you educate and empower a man. But if you educate and empower a migrant woman you educate and empower the whole family. That was one of our thoughts when we founded ‘KulturenReich’. Today we empower foreign born women in Vienna to be the best version of themselves, by encouraging them to dare to dream. Our main goal is to help them be financially independent and professionally successful.
We encourage them to think as an added value to their host country and to grow professionally and inter-culturally. We encourage them to dream big BUT of course to back it up with meaningful action in order to create results. Nothing comes from nothing! BUT when nothing is sure, everything is possible!


How will you take your business from Vienna to a global level?
Our international strategy is very simple: We will work with local partners in all European countries that believe in our mission and vision and would like to run our business model. Our vision is to become the leading European Migrant Women Social Enterprise. The whole European idea is based on internationalism, as Europe itself is so culturally rich (28 States, 24 languages). As we co-operate on an international basis there is more ‘added value’ and we see the European Union as a great opportunity with 500m wealthy customers.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a businesswoman?
I see that even in 2018 women in business, and especially women and ‘MOMpreneurs’ don’t have it easy. And I don’t mean it only professionally. More at the personal-familiar level.

Working internationally, as the word says, doesn’t involve just speaking more languages but it also involves traveling to meeting clients and partners overseas. The biggest challenge for me and my family is to balance family and work. My international engagements couldn’t ever have been possible without the great support of my husband who also has a full-time challenging job. So, at home, we have a great team understanding and a very rigorous travel schedule between us.

Do you know what people ask me all the time? ‘What about your child?’ ‘Where is your child when you travel?’ But when my husband travels for work nobody ever asks him this same question. So, I joke about it and say. ‘Does it mean that our society has accepted women professionals but can’t cope yet with the idea that man alone can care about families on their own?  Lol!


What skills would you recommend for other women to advance in their careers?
Firstly, see your migrant background as a strength that can enrich businesses – especially today.

I always saw my multi-cultural layered background – or call it my ‘migrant background’ if you want – as a strength. My attitude is to adapt to new situations quickly, assimilate new circumstances, and turn them into strengths. This attitude gave me an opportunity to understand new situations I had never experienced before. A new language is no hurdle for me and I see it as a chance that opens up a new window to learn new things in a new dimension. Appreciating the differences and blending them with the newly acquired host country practices became my vision. People like me are an added value to any European Enterprise not just because of the languages we speak but because of the cultures we understand.

Secondly, ‘find your niche’. If you are looking for any job you will find no job! Try to find out which of your skills are unique and which companies are looking for your skills. Try to understand the companies that refused you and ask why did they refuse you? Be willing to learn new skills in order to be more competitive and widen your portfolio and to sharpen your niche. If you find it difficult to evaluate yourself and to find your niche, then ask for help. There are many great experts out there that can help you. Or contact us at ‘KulturenReich’. We speak many languages and understand many attitudes.

Thirdly, have no losers alibi. “A loser’s alibi is a justification that helps one always blame other people for its own failures” (cit. Asetila Köstinger)

Let me give you a short example: think of Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770 – 1827) life path. He came to Vienna when he was 21 years old and stayed forever. How difficult would it have been for him to make a name for himself after Mozart (1756 – 1791), Haydn (1732 – 1809) and others??? And thinking that his hearing began to deteriorate in his late twenties and by the last decade of his life he was probably completely deaf. Many of his most admired works come from these last 15 years of his life. What if he had thought: ‘I can’t do this in Vienna after Mozart. The Viennese are so demanding!’ What if he had all these excuses that others are guilty for not letting him succeed? Then we would never have enjoyed “Für Elise” and all the other jewels of his symphonies. It’s because Beethoven didn’t have a ‘loser’s alibi’ and that’s why he became the greatest composer of all times.

Lastly – ‘Be a bumblebee!’

Don’t just look for jobs! Think of creating value by building your own business and becoming an Entrepreneur, a MOMpreneur or an EntreprenESS. Don’t be scared to fly, because ONLY if you try, will you know how far you can fly! Think of the bumblebee! Scientists say that a bumblebee is aerodynamically and scientifically unable to fly because of its body features. But the bumblebee, being unaware of, or ignoring these scientific facts, flies anyway.

You are a Bumblebee! And at ‘KulturenReich’ we are all 

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