Women tell Women

When to speak up?

— Natalie Candrian

Often, I find myself to be the only woman in the room. On top of that, I am not the loudest personality. This can result in fading into the background, silencing oneself out. Remember that you were brought into the team and a situation to do exactly that: speak up and share your thoughts. Diversity is not a visual effect. It is important to diversify the intellectual thinking pool of your team. Your ideas and opinions matter. They will help define the task and direction at hand! 

I remember joining men’s basketball footwear team at Adidas. I was straight out of school, with no experience in footwear and manufacturing. I grew up in Europe and was never exposed to the game and culture of basketball before. It was very intimidating. I kept wondering why I was brought in when I had no relevant experience to share. But that was exactly why my boss placed me there. My thinking was different. My ideas were different. What I had to learn was to speak up and not worry about what everyone else might think. My thoughts often triggered a different approach when it came to interpreting a brief or approaching a challenge. 

Remember to add value. Sometimes you might not have the answer, or you will need time to collect your thoughts & ideas. Let others speak. It is equally relevant to acknowledge someone else’s great idea and build on it. 

Natalie Candrian –

Natalie Candrian is a Swiss designer, living in Zurich, Switzerland. She is currently a Creative Design Director at fitness brand OMORPHO and an advisor to a footwear brand SAYSH. In 2022, she was named Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. She started her career at Adidas where she designed the signature TMAC 1, 2 and 3 basketball sneakers for Tracy McGrady. The model is still being reproduced. At Nike, she was working on designing innovative consumer & product experiences. Working closely with athletes, Natalie is the mind behind Maria Sharapova’s little black dress