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Sophie Wiesinger

Sophie Wiesinger

Sophie is the
Business Development & Marketing Manager at Museum of Illusions Vienna

  • Location: Vienna, Austria 

  • Corporate title: Business Development & Marketing Manager 

  • Company: Museum of Illusions Vienna 

  • Sector: Arts & Culture University degree: BA (Hons) Arts Management at London South Bank University

How does your usual day look like?

I start my day at 6:30 AM. Before doing anything else I enjoy a shot of strong Italian Espresso from our beloved ‘Magica’ Espresso machine. I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans and the sound the machine makes to deliver the yummy brownish golden liquid. It’s like a short meditation and kick starts the day for me. After that the whole family gets ready for school or work. I usually cycle to work whatever the weather as I love to do some exercise and to soak up some fresh air before the upcoming office day. I am at my desk by 8 AM - usually at the museum, but with full flexibility to work remotely. I enjoy the time before 10 AM a lot to go through emails and messages, check numbers and stats in peace and quiet before the hustle & bustle in the museum starts. On average I have about 2 - 3 meetings/calls a day with internal or external stakeholders. I always spend at least 30 min of the day directly in the museum and get in touch with visitors to get valuable feedback for sales and marketing initiatives and long term strategy. Due to a flat hierarchy, decision making processes are rather short and I am very flexible to set up new partnerships or collaborations. Always watching out for the latest trends in the arts and entertainment sector makes research quite a chunk of my daily routine.

As I start quite early I finish my day ideally around 5pm ish to have enough time for family time, cooking dinner, homework etc. , which I share 50/50 with my husband.

What are the things you like the most about your job?

It’s never boring. As we are a rather small team I wear many hats at the same time, so I jump into many different roles on the same day. I love the versatility and excitement about this. It gives me great pleasure to work in a place where we fill our visitors with happy moments and lasting memories.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day at work?

Communication, flexibility and collaboration are certainly the most important skills I use on a daily basis. We are a very international and diverse team so communication is key. Furthermore we have guests from all around the world which I love to chat to and interact with to get the best insight, how to develop the brand and product further to meet our customers needs and expectations.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

When we were able to re-open the museum after the first Covid lockdown (of course all precautions were in place) and you could see how happy and relieved people were to be able to enjoy some entertainment and fun again.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

Don’t think I had to take on yet. At least it never felt tough.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your work?

To embrace a challenge with open arms and to be able to learn and grow every day. For me this means to constantly expand my knowledge in terms of digital skills and IT, digital marketing and recently AI.

How did you get to become a Business Development and Marketing Manager?

I always loved to be around people and to interact with them plus was very interested in the arts & culture. So after finishing my degree in London I was lucky enough to secure a job at a London based tour operator, which led me to explore the tourism industry. This was love at first sight. So after returning from London to Vienna I stayed in this field for a couple of years and then coincidentally stumbled upon the news that Madame Tussauds was opening a branch in Vienna. So quite boldly I wrote to the London HQ that I would like to work for them in Vienna and really was lucky enough to secure a role as Marketing & Sales Manager. I was literally ‘Madame Tussauds Vienna’ from my laptop in my living room before we even had a site or office. It was a leap into the unknown but I rose to the challenge and will always be grateful for the trust and opportunity to Merlin Entertainments.

After many many years and the birth of our son the opportunity to work for Museum of Illusions Vienna - the fastest growing franchise in the entertainment industry - came up and I was so ready to take on this new role and challenge. I absolutely love my job and the people I work with. It’s always fun and never one day is like the day before.

What's the career advice to your younger self?

Strength lies in calmness. Never stop learning and always remain curious. And just try things out, the path will come when you look backwards, when things have fallen into place.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

I consider myself an authentic and honest person you can rely on to have your back. I am open minded and easy to talk to, always wearing the craziest BOLD earrings. This makes me #gracefullyBOLD.

How do you spend your weekend or downtimes?

I usually spend it with my husband and son preferably whilst travelling and looking out for the latest travel treasures or spending it outside hiking or skiing. I regularly enjoy exhibitions or art events to stay up to date and meet for dinner with family and friends.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

Routines and proper organisation is key to my life. I love to have a plan and be prepared. A couple of years ago I started meditating, which is a great tool to calm down. Furthermore I love my cycling to work habit and my high intensity interval training exercising routine - short and powerful to unwind.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

Probably a Geography teacher. I love maps and exploring the world.

What are you currently learning or what’s one of the last things you learnt?

Currently I started learning Italian on Duolingo and I enjoy an app called Yuno (you can try it with my referral code APCXW), where I listen to short audio stories and take quizzes after that. Great fun to improve general knowledge. Professionally I was invested a lot in digital marketing and social media tools.

Who is a (female) professional that inspired you along your career journey?

I have to refer to Suzy Kerr-Pertic, my course director at London South Bank University. Such an inspiring female leader who always managed to get the best out of us students and really paved the way for my future career. She had the right mix of challenges and being supportive. This gave me the confidence to try out different things and find the career which really suited me and my skill set.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Jumping out of a plane to skydive. BUT I am far too scared ;-)

What’s the one question we didn’t ask you, but you’d like to answer?

  • Question: What’s your favourite food?

  • Answer: Everything Italian but particularly any cooking by our friends Giancarlo and Aurelia from Le Marche region.

The previous interviewee left a question for you! “If you could work for any company in any role for a week, which company and role would that be? And what would you try to achieve throughout that week?”

Honestly, absolutely no idea as I always ‘stumbled upon’ my latest roles. But I have to say I am very inspired by Alexis Bowen of Elsewhere and would love to shadow her for a week and learn more about wildly unique experiences and impactful travel.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Making new connections

  • Favourite restaurant: Zur Herknerin and Mercerie, Vienna

  • Favourite fashion brand: Arthur Arbesser

  • Favourite beauty product: Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Highlighting Duo, and FOTOULTRA ISDIN Age Repair SPF 50 link

  • Favourite perfume: Amethyst by Lalique

  • Book recommendation: "Why has nobody told me this before" by Dr. Julie Smith

  • Next holiday destination: New York City, USA

  • Your hobby: Travelling, Reading, Skiing, Hiking

  • Favourite mantra: "Everything happens for a reason."

  • Who inspires you? My mother-in-law

  • Tea or Coffee: Coffee

  • Red wine or White wine: White

  • Morning bird or Night owl: None, but probably rather a night owl

  • Cat person or Dog person: Both, even though I have got 2 cats

Thank you Sophie for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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