Anne Ditmeyer G'11 on Nonlinear Careers and Becoming French

On March 10, 2020, Anne Ditmeyer G’11, a graduate of AUP’s MA in Global Communications, made her return to AUP’s campus to shed light on becoming French, becoming an entrepreneur and becoming the best version of yourself. Her talk, “How I Became FRENCH,” drew students, faculty and staff alike, and followed the ups and downs of her international career – one that AUP community members could easily relate to.

Anne’s career has required her to wear many different hats. She admitted to audience members that when someone asks her what her job is, she struggles to find just one title: she is a UX designer, an educator, a writer, a blogger, a consultant and a creative coach. But the label she gravitates toward most is “guide.” After navigating the infamous twists and turns of earning French nationality, Anne delights in helping others find their way in their chosen fields. She has leant her expertise to companies such as Adobe, Airbnb, Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. She continues to work as a teacher for small businesses and independent learners on platforms like Skillshare. She even designed AUP’s 50th anniversary logo, which was later adapted into the current logo for the 55th anniversary.

Her biggest piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs? Success is not linear. Anne shared with attendees a creative map of her career. The map distilled her path down to a single hand-drawn line that moved from point A to point B, but in the most tangled, nonlinear way possible. Reaching your goals, she explained, never feels straightforward or easy, and sometimes things need to get messy before you reach a moment of clarity. She shared that her peers who have “made it” (with high-paying contracts or millions of followers) still feel like they haven’t figured out everything. Despite having a healthy following on Instagram herself, where she posts as @pretavoyager, Anne views the edited world of social media as misrepresenting the pathway to success. “It’s not about the likes,” she said, but rather staying true to your vision and finding the audience that’s interested in what you do.

For those who feel lost on their career map, Anne recommended staying flexible and working with what they have, even if it isn’t much: “Don’t be afraid to pivot when new opportunities arise.” She highlighted many of her own job opportunities that appeared through networking and chance meetings, as well as her willingness to learn new skills along the way.

Many AUP students go on to work in countries all over the world, carving out their careers in uniquely global contexts. “How I Became FRENCH!” was the ideal space for students to ask Anne questions and receive frank, encouraging answers about how entrepreneurs can design their lives after graduation. Many thanks to Anne for sharing her experiences with the AUP community.

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