015: Member Interview: Doro Schwartzmann

Dear readers of this little dispatch,

this is the final issue of a mini-series of member interviews. During the past weeks, we've introduced the people behind Village One—one person at a time, in no particular order, giving you a little glimpse into who we are and why we founded this cooperative. Here is what Doro said when we asked her our questions:

Posted on May 12, 2023; updated on May 15, 2023

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, and what did you do before joining Village One?

Hi 👋, I am Doro. I was born and raised in Berlin, and I’m half French and half German.

Growing up, I didn’t like going to school very much. I was overwhelmed by it, and I found it restrictive and unfair. So after finally graduating, I was happy to decide for myself what I wanted to do. After two attempts, I entered the communication design program at HTW Berlin. I also spent one semester in London, studying Photographic Arts. Returning to Berlin, I co-founded a student society called “sehen und ernten” to support and enable students to their design profession. It was the first attempt to create a democratic work environment, and in retrospect, it feels very much like an early prototype of Village One. And this was 2012! 😅

After my studies, I joined “think moto” as a ux design intern. I grew into ux design and worked on information architecture, wireframes and branded interactions. Then, in 2017, I joined Goodpatch. Back then, Goodpatch was rather new to Berlin, and I earned a lot of trust and responsibility there. I worked in Paris for a few months, travelled a lot within Germany and became more of a ux strategy consultant, helping multidisciplinary teams to work together on digital products and lifting their team spirit.

In 2019 I had my first child and took parental leave. After returning to Goodpatch, I started working part-time, slowly increasing my hours and focusing on my internal role as a studio lead, supporting team members in finding their roles and establishing processes. In 2021, my second kid was born, and I used the time during parental leave to reboot and think about my next steps in my professional life.

2. What motivated you to co-found/join the Village One Co-op?

There are a million reasons why I felt the urgency to take this step.

I was fortunate at my previous job—I had a leading role, a great team, and the freedom to discover different areas of expertise and try out a lot of things. So when I reflected on what I liked and wanted more of in my next job, I knew I wanted to have even more freedom and, most notably, work within a company or team with a strong democratic foundation.

What if everyone’s voice is equal within the company? What if salaries are not solely decided by the market but by the people who do the work and by how much they think they’ll need for a living? What if people could change their roles within a team without the fear of earning less or having less say? Would it enable more collaboration instead of just advancing individual career paths? What if people could work during hours that fit their lifestyles and biorhythms, rather than from nine to five? These questions and ideas were so intriguing to me, as they would make workplaces much more democratic, humane and inclusive. Yet, most companies are not doing a lot of these things. So I asked myself the most radical question: Why not do it myself?

We have just ventured out to find some answers to some of these questions, and I’m optimistic that we will tackle more of them in the future, trying to unlearn all of the things we have simply accepted so far!

3. What does your work day usually look like?

Having two toddlers to care for means that our family’s schedule is very much planned around the kid’s day. My partner gets one kid ready in the morning, and I take care of the other one. We have breakfast together (if I am not running late, as I am pretty slow in the morning)! Afterwards, one of us brings the kids to the nursery, so that the other can start their work day (before the kids leave the house, we can’t start working 😅). You will find me in front of my laptop around 9 am.

I work until 12 or 1 pm, and then I’ll have a 1-hour lunch break with my partner. After that, I work until 3 pm. I often use this time to get some small tasks done.

Shortly after 3 pm, I leave the house by bike to pick up the kids from the nursery, but not before preparing a small snack for them—kids are always hungry! 😄 Then we go to the playground, public library, grocery shopping, or home.

After dinner it’s playtime again until 8 pm. We then try to put the kids to bed, which usually takes 1 to 2 hours. At 10 pm, we often try to finish some minor housekeeping; we might work a bit again and then go to bed. Phew, busy day!

4. What do you do when you’re not sitting in front of a computer screen?

Raising two small kids also means that my private life revolves very much around them. We spent a lot of time as a family outside, on playgrounds, in museums, or swimming. Besides that, I like to bake bread (sourdough, of course!), try new cooking recipes, take care of my plants and cuddle my two cats, Lilu and Loki.

Are you on social media? How can people reach out?

I’m currently not very active on social media, but you can find me on LinkedIn, and if you want, send me an email: doro@village.one

Stronger together: Come along for the ride!

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