We had the good fortune of connecting with Ulrike Kerber and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ulrike, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?

“We need braver leaders and more courageous cultures.” by Brene Brown

What do we need to learn to be more successful leaders in a complex, rapidly changing environment where we’re faced with seemingly intractable challenges, overstimulation and an insatiable demand for innovation.

What is courageous? I think for example giving honest and productive feedback while not avoiding tough conversations is an act of courage. And why is it so hard to be straight-forward and direct? I think especially girls are taught to be nice and “accommodating” but nice is not kind. Being “nice and polite” is sometimes leveraged as an excuse to avoid tough conversations.

Here is the deal: when you avoid tough conversations, you may experience:

1. Diminished trust and engagement;
2. Problematic behavior, including passive-aggressive behavior, talking behind people’s backs, pervasive backchannel communication (or “the meeting after the meeting”), gossip, the “dirty yes” (when I say yes to your face and then go behind your back); white lies, etc
3. Decreased performance due to a lack of clarity and shared purpose.

Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston says:
“Over the past several years, my team and I have learned something about clarity and the importance of hard conversations that has changed everything from the way we talk to each other to the way we negotiate with external partners. It’s simple but transformative: Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”

A book I highly recommend reading is “Cassandra Speaks” by Elisabeth Lesser. It’s about the power of storytelling in our conscious effort to build a truly equitable society. It’s about the relationship between gender and power and makes a case for deepening our love and connections and embracing our collective humanity.

What should our readers know about your business?
The lesson I learnt in my design career is

· to stay true to myself
· to focus on my strengths
· to find good people to collaborate with (that could possibly excel in the areas of my weaknesses)
· to do what I love and get better at it
· to work on clear communication with all of my family, friends and clients.

Due to my constant efforts to improve my communication skills and my EQ, Viva Design has a high degree of integrity. We shine in communication, collaboration, promoting dreams, refining and expressing core ideas. We make things “real” that existed previously only in the minds: big ideas and strategies, visuals and digital storytelling in form of websites, videos, branding.

I have multicultural mindset, and am able to hop into many different mindsets, to help my clients express themselves. Design, colors and art are my passions and I do it in my sleep.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

· ebike ride through town, from montecito by the Biltmore beach over the hill to the zoo, peddling by east beach all the way into town, for a coffee on Haley Street at Low pigeon Coffee Roasters or Caje Cafe

· renting a kayak or paddle board at the harbor
· lunch at Tyger Tyger in the Funk zone
· working on a cool art project at SBCAST on Garden Street
· sunset cruise with the double dolphin
· a healthy cocktail with dinner at Olivers on Coast Village Road

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Alan Macy and the people at SBCAST, Santa Barbara’s Center for Arts, Science and Technology. They are truly supportive arts hub, where ideas flow freely and everyone has a unique voice and expression. I have my office and art residence here and I never run to of ideas due to the constant stream of knowledge, skills and neural connections.

Website: www.vivadesign.com and Ulrikekerber.com

Instagram: @divadeviva

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vivadesign/

Youtube: youtube.com/vivakidstv

Other: for videos: vimeo.com/vivadesigndotcom “How to start the Branding Process” with Ulrike Kerber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKywSqWjMow&feature=youtu.be

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