“The Oscars were the reason I wanted to become an event manager.”
Johanna Hollensteiner in the museum education room at the Zoological Museum, © LIB
Johanna Hollensteiner is responsible for events at the LIB in Hamburg. When she is not engrossed in planning here, she is drawn to travel the world. From Australia to the Philippines to Sweden – she always likes to discover new places. For this reason, too, the protection of the environment and ecosystems is very close to her heart. At LIB, she can combine her dream job and her love for nature.
How is the work at the LIB different from your previous experience?
For me, it is a challenge to realise our ideas and events in the best possible way within our possibilities: We have limited capacity when it comes to room sizes and have to try to make the most of what the Zoological Museum has to offer. The venue is of course designed for visitors to the exhibition – for events with catering and a larger audience, we have to make the best use of the space.
What brought you to the LIB?
The subject area of biodiversity. My mother studied biology and so I developed an affinity for the subject during my childhood. I wanted a change from my previous everyday life at an agency: instead of always selling things or being in contact with clients, I wanted to use my profession to get involved in education.
What does nature mean to you personally? Is there a favourite place in nature?
Ever since I can remember, we have been going to Sweden. Our family has a house there in the middle of the forest and close to the sea. I associate nature very strongly with my childhood – with the time I spent with my family. Öland is my absolute favourite spot in nature.
What are the highlights of your everyday work?
I find the collections totally exciting! As an employee at the LIB, I get an insight into the 10 million collection objects that I would never have had from the outside. I only started a few months ago and unfortunately I haven’t been able to see all the collections yet. But I have found this variety of specimens quite amazing so far – especially the fish and the deep-sea isopods.
Crabs, fish, butterflies: Who has your very personal affection and why?
My favourite animal is the octopus. Of course, also because it’s smart and super-flexible, but mainly because it’s the heraldic animal of our St. Pauli fan group – the cephalopods.
Budget doesn’t matter: Which dream event would you like to realise?
I love the Oscars. The big American film award was the reason why I became an event manager. So if money is not an issue and the laws of logic are otherwise suspended, then I would bring the Oscars to LIB and thus fulfil my childhood dream. To stay within the thematic framework, I would like to organise an open day for the LIB, where there are free offers that help to bring nature closer to the people. From morning to night, all people – no matter what age or background – would be allowed to explore biodiversity with us. From children’s activities in the morning to the silent headphone party at night, there is something going on all the time.
What would you have become if events hadn’t worked out?
My original plan was to become either a doctor or a teacher. When I finished school, there was no possibility to train as an event manager in northern Germany. Even then, I really wanted to work in the industry. Due to the lack of apprenticeships, I followed my parents’ advice to do something sensible and started studying to become a teacher. Later, I finally decided on the career I actually wanted to pursue. Because events are and were my real passion.
What advice would you give to young people at the beginning of their career?
To do what they love! Preferably to turn their “hobby into a profession”. Never do something that you absolutely don’t enjoy. It should be something that gives you pleasure again and again. Even within my own industry, there are things I would not like to do. For me personally, it is also important that I stand behind the issues I represent in the LIB in my private life. I am willing to work sometimes unusual hours when many of my colleagues are off work. I am happy to do this as long as I have the feeling that I am doing something good at the same time.
Which part of the LIB is particularly close to your heart?
I work at the LIB within the Centre for Knowledge Transfer. All the work of the Education and Outreach Department is very close to my heart. We work hard to strengthen the image of the LIB to the outside world and to create a positive perception in people’s minds. Be it on the website or in social networks, but also on site at the museum during guided tours or at events, we have the opportunity to bring the world of biodiversity to life.
Johanna Hollensteiner trained as an event manager and brings 14 years of experience from an agency environment to the LIB. Hockey is her hobby, FC St. Pauli her passion. Born in Lübeck, she has lived in Hamburg for 16 years.