Whoever thinks creativity can’t be found in numbers hasn’t met Afra Stöhr, a tax lawyer for technology startups in the Web 3.0 space. Only in Berlin will you come across a tax lawyer with such a unique upbringing. Raised by parents who were both full-time artists, Afra had the creative seed planted within her from a young age. And although she may not be an artist by profession today, she is one by heart — so let’s hear her story.
Being raised in an artistic family, why did you make the decision to work in finance?
Actually right after school, I started working in fashion and even took sewing classes. I thought the next step would be to study fashion design, but I’d also dreamt of being financially independent and having a family. Back then I thought that it wouldn’t be possible to live from art in Germany. So instead of building a career in fashion, I decided to study either business law or real estate. I flipped a coin and the business law side won, leading me to where I am today.
You moved to Berlin when you were three years old. How has your relationship with the city evolved?
My first impression of Berlin was very dark as my father lived in an occupied house called “squat”. Most people who lived there fought against the system. Surrounded by this environment, I didn’t get the impression that it’s possible to build something in this world. This completely changed as I grew up, after seeing so many people fulfill their dreams and have a positive impact on the city and society.
As someone who has lived in Berlin for most of your life, what do you think still attracts so many people to the city?
The city has the power to be super ugly, but also extremely beautiful. You can kind of lose yourself here when you rush with things too much. But when you slow down a little bit, the city opens up to you in full colors.
Berlin has many different communities, but which one would you say is the most special for you?
The community of working single moms is among the best in Berlin. The support I get from them is incredible! Thanks to them it’s possible to raise a child and grow your business at the same time. I hear a lot from people who live in other cities or in the countryside that they miss this support. Lots of people in Berlin have children and a career, so it’s nice to have this network of support.
Who would you define as your Woman Author of Achievement?
My answer would have actually been drastically different if you had asked me a few months ago. I used to think a role model should always be the definition of success. Now I don’t look so much at visible success, but about happiness in life. One woman I want to mention is Fränzi Kühne who founded one of the first social media agencies in Germany called TLGG. She is also the youngest member of The German Supervisory Board, and also wrote a book, where she confronted men with the questions that she was often asked in her career.
What was your favorite episode on the WAA Podcast?
I really loved the episode with Delphine Mousseau (E.02). She made having five children sound so easy, and I enjoyed getting to know her insights on working as a board member.