Navigating Art in the Corporate World
Founder and CEO
Imagine going to a museum with a vast collection of art, and you get a prompt on an app from your phone that reads, “How do you feel about this?” “What topics are on your mind?” and more as you go through the museum. Now imagine that based on these responses, the app prepares a personalised visit for you by presenting artwork based on your chosen responses. Due to this, you’ll be given a different art experience that helps you see stories and art in a way that thoroughly interests you. This is the vision of Laura Orlic, the founder and CEO of Artivist, whose dream is to connect people with art.
Artistic Roots and Early Life
Just like an artist who starts with a blank canvas, the story of Laura Orlic is one with a clear vision and a whirlwind of possibilities. Her story is full of transformations, as she blended the hues of corporate experiences and her love for art; Laura’s journey to becoming the CEO of Artivist requires innovative brushstrokes.
Coming from Croatia, Laura was born into a family of artists; her father was a sculptor, and her mother was a painter. Her older brother is also a painter and a restorer. Unlike other children her age, who grew up playing in playgrounds and parks, Laura grew up in museums, galleries, churches, and art studios; she had an overload of exposure to art. She took up classical ballet as her art form and began spending a lot of time in the theatre. With an overwhelming exposure to art from such a young age, there came a time when Laura lost interest in it and began studying economics.
Corporate Journey and Rediscovery of Art
Entering the world of economics, she discovered she liked the field of organisational development management. She became the first person in her family of artists to work for a for-profit company, the biggest bank in Croatia. She had abundant growth opportunities and thoroughly enjoyed her work. However, she promised herself that when she entered her forties, she would leave the corporate world and work on projects that made her soul happy.
When the bank gave her the opportunity to go international, she decided to go abroad to Torino, Italy, where she joined leadership development at UniCredit. The goal was to foster a corporate community with over five thousand top employees. In this situation, art swept back into Laura’s life as the company started incorporating it into their projects. While art had a profound impact on Laura again, it didn’t do the same for her friends, who said they could not understand or enjoy it. As her experience became more beautiful and inspiring, she knew she wanted her friends to be able to enjoy it as well. “I have to do something to help others connect more with art.”
The Birth of Artivist
In 2020, when she finally left banking, she decided to bring her idea of connecting people with art to life. She wanted to develop the idea of creating personalised museum visits for people-powered by storytelling; this became the birth of Artivist. Laura grew up in museums and had a corporate background, so she believed she was the right person to bring this vision to reality. Her focus is more on the experience of the visitor and how to industrialise it.
“We are not entering the domain of art history. We are helping it make more impact and become more relevant in people's lives.”
The storytelling aspect pushed Laura towards her activist endeavour. The personal stories and circumstances of people were vital; this was also useful to her when she started people developing at an individual, team and organisational level. Laura was working with the Head of Central and Eastern Europe HR, Carlo Vivaldi; together, they began to address the challenge of preparing potential candidates for management board positions with international experience. To do this, they created a process where CEOs would meet quarterly and interact with a group of potential successors. This allowed candidates to showcase their strengths and unique qualities in a low-pressure environment, leading to more informed CEO decisions when choosing future leaders.
A Fusion of Art and Innovation
The positive outcomes of this initiative include the fast movement of talent between countries and the strengthening of the succession pipeline. The transfer of experiences among individuals moving between different markets contributed significantly to their growth, and years later, many of these individuals have become CEOs or deputy CEOs in their respective countries.
Laura aspires to continue working for several museums every year. Her passion is to transform the role of museums by using her organisational development skills to engage in the community. She wants to create campaigns for co-creating new stories with citizens. She also wants people to free themselves from classroom-style representations of art history; her solution is a channel that will launch in two months. Along with her passion for art, she has also been working in the field of gender balance and helping women grow and find fulfilment in their careers. She is working on a project for senior women in Italy. From her experience growing up, she noticed that women working alongside men in the workforce were expected; however, in some other parts of the world, like Italy, it wasn’t that common.
“I was always helping women grow, and this is something I love and enjoy doing, and I will for sure be doing it for the rest of my days.”
Laura Orlic’s is one of pushing boundaries and rediscovering our passions. Her fusion of art, corporate strategy, and innovative thinking inspires all those who want to think outside of traditional industries. Her journey demonstrates that we can accomplish our goals by combining our love for art and unwavering determination.