Workflow with Cathryn van der Walt, Director of 12Worlds

In this edition of Workflow, we have Cathryn van der Walt, Director of 12Worlds, talking about launching a new business and her love for Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music.

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Describe what you do: I’m the director of 12 Worlds which I launched in 2000 to provide expert senior communications and marketing consultancy services for organisations wanting to produce greater business-2-business outcomes.

12 Worlds delivers integrated branding, content and strategic programmes with a strong creative influence for brands of all sizes, helping them reach their target audiences and navigate the changing dynamics of audience engagement.

I work really closely with a stable of creative and marketing partners to meet the changing needs and demands for public relations, investor relations and marketing communications outcomes. I am really glad I love technology so much because it is really re-shaping and changing how I work.

I’m also in the process of launching a new business in a completely different market – which I am funding myself. It is very much one of those personal dream journeys and I am balancing this with my day job.

How do you like your coffee: My coffee of choice is a small cappuccino when I wake up and maybe a large cappuccino from my local café during the day. But this is a treat these days.

Device(s) you use: PC for my desk, Microsoft Surface for travel and mobile work, Mac for creative work and editing, iPad Pro for recording calls, editing video, photos, iPhone X for just about everything, Alldock charging station, Airpods (I love them so much!) and my personal WIFI network my IT guy put in for me years ago. Keeps us all in the air wherever we are at home. And my old iPhone 5 and UE Boom combo for music plays all day.

Describe your working style in one sentence: I start and end the day with news – I scan local and international business outlets, gauge the mood on social networks and this helps me understand the pace I may need to be prepared for. There is nothing worse than walking in my office without the right mindset. I run a tight ship for myself in terms of diarising and prioritising work to be as productive as I can everyday within a certain timeframe. I have 3 children and it’s a busy household – it’s fun but chaotic if it gets off the rails.

What does your workspace look like: My workspace is comfy and is a reflection of all of the things I love – clean working spaces, surrounded by photos and momentoes of all of the wonderful places I have visited. The photo wall behind me is somewhere I can lose myself and it always reminds me why I am in there – working to live and not the other way round which is hard when you work for yourself. There is always a cat or dog in the mix too.

How does your workspace affect your creative process: I think it has a huge impact. I find I really need calm and quiet to be creative – somewhere I can turn off the phone and emails and just work or collaborate with my wider creative network.

I love having everything set up just for me – the more personal the better – family pics, pot plants and an anti-stress station on my desk. I have essential room spray, hand cream and a candle at hand to help me re-charge. It’s a big reason why I have worked at home for the past 20 years and delivered some of my most creative output and managed the balance of family and work.

Do you have a favourite playlist for work: Absolutely – I have a selection of them actually. When I am writing I have my handy go to focus instrumental music and this rotates around a really long list of jazz and my go to Ryuichi Sakamoto – I just adore his music.

I can’t write with other people’s words in my head so it’s always instrumental. But for the rest of the time I have a really eclectic playlist in Spotify that I dip in and out of. It always has jazz, blues, classical, soul and keeps growing all the time.

Who would you like to nominate for the next workflow interview: Sascha Moore, my creative and marketing partner in crime who heads up a dynamo agency, Create Design & Marketing.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.