NAME: Lena Kothgasser
ACTION/SECTOR: Business woa
POSITION: Business woman
ORGANISATION: KoCo Graphics, book design and photography
My Background and Career
As a child I had a great love of drawing, making crafts and writing. This has never changed and in a way these great loves of mine have now become my profession. Journalism was for many years my dream job. After doing my final exams in school and applying for a course in this area however, I received a rejection. This was a shock and it felt as though my dreams had been shattered. I was suddenly without a plan and had to think of something else to do. I eventually began studying "Information Design" at FH JOANNEUM in Graz. After that I did an internship with a Viennese documentary filmmaker and became involved in several film productions. At the same time, a close cooperation with my mum, Ursula Kothgasser developed. In 2009/2010 I started in her company "KoCo" as a graphic designer. The contracts, with which I was entrusted, were always wide reaching and today we work together as a team. In addition, I am currently undertaking the Master's program "Time-Based Media" at the Art University in Linz (completion in January 2016). What has become of my original dream? Over the last few years, our company has changed in many ways and both we personally and the contracts we receive have evolved. Through a number of projects, I have gotten the opportunity to write editorial texts. This is an exciting new challenge for me and something that I have always wanted to do. Although my path has been winding it has somehow led me back to my original passion.
My mother Ursula Kothgasser founded the company "KoCo"20 years ago. At the time I was eight years old. I've sort of grown up with the idea of self employment and have seen what it means to have your own company. This is probably one of the reasons why I now want to work just as independently today. Even though I also saw how challenging and difficult it can be – or maybe just because of this.
In retrospect, the rejection from the journalism course, as disappointed as I was at the time, was probably the best thing that could have happened to my career. I had to develop myself in a new direction which led me down different paths and presented me with new opportunities, without which I would not be where I am today.
The chance to participate in various film productions greatly enhanced my abilities. Much of what I learned there, I can apply in my current profession today.
By far the most important decision for me so far, was joining "KoCo" and helping to develop the business further. This is a path that would lead me and us together to many new intersections and objectives. But there were also some special challenges along the way: sometimes working artistically and being creative, means sharing some of your inner self. At first it was not easy for me to deal with criticism of my work and to be proud of my accomplishments, even today I sometimes still find this very hard. My professional self-confidence has greatly increased in recent years, but I hope that I will eventually grow a thicker skin. To find my own path and to follow it is probably still my biggest challenge.
The ability to be creative at the flick of a switch. The ability to have ideas is not just a gift; this is something that I have learned over time and during work.
I am an all-rounder, and have various different interests and talents. This versatility is particularly important for me and our company, because it allows us to take on a wide variety of projects. I also have an insight into different areas of the media world, both economic and artistic.