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Founder of UPWARD Creative


With a Master’s degree in Psychology, Vannina started her career in a C-level executive search firm in Paris before specializing in Creative Top Management roles in New York at Martens & Heads, then at The Jonas Group. Back in Paris in 2011, she joined Sterling International and to work on global recruitments in France and abroad for many Creative Directors and Senior executive roles in Marketing, Image and Communication for prestigious Fashion & Luxury brands, as well as major players in the High-street, Beauty and Lifestyle industries. In 2018, she joins the Upward Group as Director and creates Upward Creative, dedicated exclusively to Creative, Image and Marketing Management roles.

“When executive-search best practices meet start-up culture”.

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A few words on your career path ?

After my Master’s degree in Psychology I started a PhD and soon realized that University research was not a fit for me, so I began a “classic recruitment path” as a Recruiter for a small Direct-Marketing company and was recruited 3 years after as a generalist Researcher for a C-level executive search firm in Paris. Passionate about Fashion and Creation “at large” I was soon convinced that a strong specialization combined to an international vision was the key for succeeding in a Consultant role.

I had the chance to be recruited by one of the biggest players in the international Fashion and Luxury goods recruitment industry and moved to New York to join Maxine Martens and her team at MARTENS & HEADS. Then I joined John Jonas at THE JONAS GROUP as an International Research Consultant focused on C-level creative and senior executive in the FRLG sector for almost 3 years, prior to come back to Paris in 2011.

I was actually approached by a Global Fashion & Luxury search firm, to work for its Creative Pole for their four offices, Paris-New York-Milan and Brussels. This 7 years adventure led me to launch the UPWARD CREATIVE project.

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Why create a search firm dedicated to creative functions ?

Image and Creative talents require a truly specific expertise when it comes to approaching, recruiting and projecting them into their next professional adventure. A talent that makes a powerful impact in a studio or in image management role could be doing much less so in another culture. Many parameters must be taken into account, which sometimes seem rather imprecise and cannot really be read on a CV.

These talents have personalities who are often more sensitive, their approach and expectations are different from the more “classic” functions, you have to gain their confidence by understanding their references, their worlds, their expectations and their potential.

Knowing how to understand/analyze a portfolio, a communication plan, grasping the often intangible, getting the cultural keys of references/influences, the history and DNAs of fashion and beauty houses, making the right bets on the arrival of a talent to the strategy of the brand image or its collections; all this cannot be improvised, and is not done without a strong passion.

This is why, for almost 15 years, I have specialized in Design, Communication and Marketing because I am convinced that strong expertise is the key to the major challenges of talent acquisition in an era where the exposure of brands is now global, uber-digital and where the image and the product must constantly reinvent themselves to continue to exist.

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Why joining the UPWARD GROUP ?

I am convinced that the classical executive-search model did not manage to adapt to the different overturning and transformations of the Fashion industry in the past few years.

The Creative world is moving very quickly and is in constant evolution. We need to be adaptive and out of-the-box thinkers! I truly believe that it is possible to combine an “excellence-of-execution” offer using best practices while keeping an open-mind, creativity, agility and sharpness to deliver a “sur-mesure” solution adapted to the NOW Fashion environment.  Be it for young labels, established Fashion houses, Beauty, Luxury and Lifestyle players so, I have chosen to launch Upward Creative partnering with a start-up culture group.

My meetings with Michael OBADIA and our discussions on our shared values -which defines the UPWARD GROUP culture, have really been decisive, as I am convinced that listening, caring, guiding and keeping a permanent balance between the Talents and Clients’ interest are basics.

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What objectives for UPWARD CREATIVE ?

To continue to grow and confirm our legitimacy as a reference player in the recruitment of Creative, Communication & Marketing Management roles. Our objective is to provide long-term support and to maintain the same trust from our Clients as we already benefit from the many talents we have been able to support in France and abroad up to now.

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