Hi. I’m John Heaven and I do digital auf Deutsch. I am from Birmingham, UK, but have now settled in Hamburg, Germany. I am the Social Media Manager at comm-press, a company with 18 employees (and counting) that builds great websites using Drupal.
I am well connected in Hamburg, the UK and internationally, speak fluent German. Before starting at comm-press in March 2013 I was part of the organising team for the Social Media Week Hamburg. Along with 11 other cities worldwide, Hamburg took part in this week of social media events, discussions, conversations and information exchange. 18th – 22nd February 2013 was be a very busy week for me and the rest of the team.
I started my career working for Birmingham City Council as a graduate trainee. I landed this exciting job straight after gaining my Master’s in International Studies and it allowed me to work in many different areas of Europe’s largest local authority: I spent time at the very top of the organisation, working alongside councillors and top officials in Birmingham’s historic 19th century Council House, but also enjoyed spending time with ordinary citizens and learning about the problems they face day-to-day. All of this informed my work on the Social Media working group, which was chaired by the Director of Communications and resulted in a set of guidelines that I co-authored.
When I moved to Hamburg in March 2010 I worked for TuTech Innovation GmbH, a company that belongs to the Hamburg Technical University. Here I was involved in a variety of online projects relating to citizen participation via the internet. I was chiefly responsible for international projects within the Department of Social Media and Open Innovation.
As an unpaid member of the Kultwerk West team, I designed and built the website (kultwerkwest.de) and am responsible for social media strategy. Through Kultwerk West I have built up a strong network in Hamburg and quickly become familiar with the topics that are important to the city. Speaking German fluently has made this possible.
Between 2001 and 2007 I gained degrees in Law (a Bachelor in Exeter and Master in Saarbrücken) and in International Studies (Master from Exeter). Before embarking upon my Master’s in International Studies I worked for a year teaching English in large companies across Saarland.
During my studies I was Chairman of Exeter Student Action for Refugees (part of the STAR network), a regular participant on a political talkshow on student radio, and played in the Exeter University Jazz Orchestra.