Women In Design feat. Greet Jans

Introducing Greet Jans, joint managing director of Future Platforms. From a small village upbringing to co-leading Future Platforms, she shares invaluable lessons in our latest ‘Women In Design’ blog.

The purpose of article series ‘Women In Design’ is to feature, showcase and share the reality of being a woman in design. We gather and showcase stories, career journeys, as well as advice and wisdom. 

Could you please introduce yourself as well as your background?

I’m Greet, a Belgian living in the UK. I grew up in a little village in a big family (I am the middle one of 5 girls). We are all unique (both in looks and in interests), so I grew up in an environment where we could all be ourselves and be successful in both personal and professional achievements. We were supported to become what we wanted. So, when I was 17, I decided to go to Antwerp to study Product Design, which was fine, as long as I promised to work hard. I liked that it combined creativity with science and that it continually evolved (I get easily bored).

In my first job, I was offered to move into UX & digital design, and the rest is history. Soon, Belgium became too small for me, so when I got the chance to work and live in London, I jumped on a one-way Eurostar with 2 suitcases (and no big life plan). I worked at Publicis Sapient & Digitas in the digital transformation part & advertising part of the business before taking a role at Future Platforms (an independent digital, Boutique agency) setting up a design branch from scratch. 2 years in, I was asked to co-lead the business (with Remy Brooks) and just finished the first year of running a business as a designer. Highly recommend it! I’ve also always engaged in giving back to the industry whilst mentoring, judging, and speaking (SXSW, D&AD, 3% conference to name a few).

In an attempt to capture some of the Wisdom you’ve gained as a woman in the design sector so far, what are 5 “stand-out things” you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to your peers as well as the future generation of talent within your sector?

  1. Keep pushing for more, never settle & keep learning (but know when to stop when only you see the difference).
  2. Surround yourself well (both personally and professionally) – joining Chief and having the luck to run the business with somebody I trust 100% was priceless.
  3. Create a win list (good to see how far you got & when you feel down or it feels hard it keeps you going).
  4. Dare to show up as you, remember it all both the good and the bad.
  5. I’ve only recently learned this from somebody really smart: When somebody shares something, ask if they want a hug or advice.

What is your take on the importance of role models?

It is super important – when I got my first female boss, I only realized how important it is, and that was only 5 years ago! I have been lucky enough for guys to be my mentor and fight in my corner. But the same can be said for everybody who was seen as atypical and showed me what is possible (e.g., somebody young in a leadership role showing age is irrelevant if the talent is there, somebody whose first language is not English, etc.). Seeing yourself and others in all possible ways, shapes, and forms is key to feeling like you can be yourself, but it becomes easier ‘the higher up you get’.

If you’re inspired by the stories and wisdom shared in our ‘Women In Design’ series and would like to contribute your own experiences, we’d love to hear from you. Creatives at all levels, please email Olivia and your story could be the next we feature.

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