Nata Agafonova is Amsterdam based a Digital Transformation Designer.
What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Digital Transformation Designer is a new term and I love shaping it to fit me rather than trying to fit in a title. I am a designer, I am a facilitator, I am an active listener and a future-oriented applied researcher, I am driven by questions and not by answers, and I don’t see why I cannot combine all these skills in one profession.
What is my idea of happiness?
Ever since I was little I have always enjoyed creating societies. I even imagined animal toys as humans, created their inner worlds and interactions between those. To this day I take my greatest pleasure in studying human nature and helping people grow, give them tools to feel better. Sparkling eyes of other people is the fulfilment I wake up for in the mornings.
What is my greatest fear?
People are my greatest drive in life, which naturally leads to loneliness and uselessness for society — my fear. This being said, I am an introvert, so regular alone-time is a must.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
How should I answer this question? Should I be funny or sensitive? What if my joke won’t be funny? What if my honesty will be misinterpreted? What if I make a mistake?.. Yep, for sure worrying too much is last in the list of my 18,5 great-ish traits.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
My teachers and mentors, Sebastian Campos being the number 1 in this list, because they have had much more real impact on me than any of the world wide famous people ever did. However, I would like to point out Irma Boom as an exception because she showed that a woman can become a super successful book designer despite all the ‘book is dead’ discussions happing for the past ~60 years. And even more importantly, she replied with a very human email when I reached out to her once, showing me that success does not necessarily turn people into statues, they are real, and many of them are actually nice.
What is my greatest extravagance?
I like and know a lot about physical books and real people in times when it’s much more common to be obsessed with big data jumps on your iPhone screen. Big data is cool though when it’s analysed and turned to serve humanity instead of being blindly followed… Also, I am known to be a mischievous trickster 😉
On what occasion would I lie?
Stopped doing that because when I am not telling the truth I am not honest with myself and it does not help my peace. I believe that the problem is often not with the truth but with the way some choose to convey it, so I study the art of feedback, for instance, to tell the truth, the way people will appreciate hearing it. And if we are not on the same page, I prefer to learn it early.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
When a client picks a designer, the choice is rarely based on actual qualities of work and a person producing it. It is a market of smart attention-seeking tricks. Which can be fun, but it’s another profession. I feel the lack of personal connection in the whole networking scene, and I wish it was different.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
I am 18 and I coach teenagers a couple of years younger than me to find their way in design, photography, and movie-making. We live in a camp for a month deep diving into their passions for visual arts and we grow together as creators and as people.
I am 21 and I am working on my graduation project ‘Books about Books’. I absolutely love studying physicality of books and I find my first big topic to explore in my future body of work.
I am 24 and I am participating in ‘Augmented Printing’ applied research project. I am surrounded by inspiring peers and coaches from all over the globe who taught me that I can do more than I have ever imagined, for example how to bridge my interests in intentional technology use and in the physical world.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I’d get some psychic powers maybe or shapeshifting… nothing of truly useful stuff.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
Finding the deeper root of a problem I am trying to solve with my designs is always the key to success and therefore getting there is the greatest pleasure. It takes courage to do what you believe is best for your client instead of blindly following the instructions. Always rewarding to add a bit of turbulence, sit in the unknown for long enough to leave that space like a hot sauna jumping in the snow of fresh relevant ideas. Going through this process with the client involves mindset rebirth for them which is often even more significant than the outcome.
Where would I most like to live?
In a city, no doubt. I am born and raised in Moscow, so I love the excitement of the big street with a lot of light from the cars flashing by, I love the concrete jungle.
What is my most treasured possession?
If I were to take one object out of a fire in the house, I ‘d grab my passport. If I were to show you around my house, I’d show you my library.
What is my most marked characteristic?
Empathy & intelligence packed in a Happy Meal box.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
In Moscow it’s the city centre in the summer walked through on foot. I have not built the same level of connection with Amsterdam yet, so here inspiration is wherever my friends and I meet.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I love eating outside, so whatever the city, the answer is — a summer terrace.
What books influenced my life and how?
In Russia studying literature is a part of the high school course and I happened to have an amazing teacher who taught me to analyse fiction, to debate about it, and find my own truth in between the pages. So I think every couple of years I have a new most influential book. The latest one was ‘The Doomed City’ by the Strugatsky brothers: it made me think about the future through the lens of history and got me interested in preferable futures as a practical approach to speculative design.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
If I were lucky enough to die among people I love, I’d listen to their beautiful voices. But most likely it’s gonna be peeping of some medical machine, so I better start liking alternative music before I die.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
I enjoy watching ambiguous, imperfect characters develop because it feels more real to me but I would not be able to call them heroes of mine. Jester from Critical Role and Harry Potter, Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn all stand on one line of human beings with very real experiences who made choices and mistakes in the situations life had presented them with.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
My loved ones as I see them overcome their struggles daily. I know the most about their inner demons and their joyful moments so I know best how hard it is for them to be the people that they are.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
If a movie cannot be rewatched multiple times, it’s probably not a very good movie.
What role plays art in my life and work?
There are three topics that humanity has always tried to find answers to: what is right, what is good, and what is beautiful. Respecting the difference of perspectives I am content with my subjective view on the first two. So I naturally dedicate my time searching for my personal answer on the third question. Thus, art plays the role of a philosophical search.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
You are not always in control of the situation but you always can choose what you are going to learn from it and, subsequently, how you’ll tell yourself what happened in the future.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, a partner in crime?
My parents and my partner are the three pillars of my existence, for whose unconditional support I am eternally grateful.
Which people or companies would I like to work within 2020?
Butterflyworks, Shapers, Kaliber, Mischief Makers
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2020?
Emily Hinks, Katharina Jacobi, Theo Ploeg, Niels Floor, Diana Chapman, Laura Visco, Jenny Theolin
What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
I am currently working on a book of applied research for Digital Society School which will be a kick-ass publication about young and passionate professionals changing the world little by little.
Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
Contact me and maybe you’ll see me across your table in a cafe having coffee with you. My work can always be found here: https://nata.talkingpaper.nl/
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
It’s the future of our generation. The pension system is collapsing, so we better be doing what we love because we might have to work until we die. Plus, I hate gardening, so I better have something else to do when I am in my 70s.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Elizaveta Burina, Ilaria Zonda, Natalia Savicheva, Hillary Jaap
How can you contact me?
My Portfolio: https://nata.talkingpaper.nl/
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nata-agafonova-talking-paper/
Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey
Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?
Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.
IS THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY COACHING FOR YOU?
You are a creative leader or creative professional who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.
You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.
You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.
You are curious and want to engage in online learning.
You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).
WHAT’S YOUR COACHING QUESTION?
The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.
These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:
How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?
How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?
How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?
What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?
How can I manage my time and energy better?
How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?
How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project, a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.
The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.
Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?
Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.
Should I choose 1:1 coaching?
Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.
If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.
What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?
Can I buy coaching for my organization?
Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.
Can I bring my own topics?
Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.
Are coaching sessions confidential?
Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.
Where will the coaching sessions take place?
Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.
How do I sign up?
Send Peter a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to start booking your coaching sessions.
How do I pay?
After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.
How do I book and reschedule sessions?
Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.
What is your cancellation policy?
Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.