The Heroine’s Journey of Renee Vaughan Sutherland

What is the thing that I most love about my work? My creativity has many strands and that is what I love. From filming, hand processing and editing a 16mm film, leading a team of creatives on ideation for a big brand campaign through to interviewing people for my podcast Greater than 11% – there is energy in the diversity of process and application.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Being in my studio and so focused on what I’m doing that I lose track of time. Being in the flow is trancelike and euphoric.

What is my greatest fear? I would surmise that my greatest fear is ‘running out of time’, which I guess is ultimately a fear of death.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Being overly self-critical – it isn’t helpful on any level. I’ve got better at being kinder to myself, but it is still a work in progress.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? 

Anna Valdez Hanks is a fantastic cinematographer and having the opportunity to work with her on a handful of occasions was such an honour and privilege.

Penny Woolcock, an incredible polymath. An artist, filmmaker, TV director, opera director – I’m in awe of her talents and generosity.

Someone I have only recently discovered is Chief Creative Offier, Karin Onsager-Birch. She has led on many campaigns for global brands that are intelligent, sensitive and culturally relevant.

I love the artist Tacita Dean’s work – a combination of admiration and practical curiosity.

Kara Walker is a fantastic artist doing incredible work that gets into your bones and and that you carry around for days after experiencing it. It has the ability to draw you back to want to see it again and again.

What is my greatest extravagance? Eating out with friends and enjoying a good bottle of wine… or two!

On what occasion would I lie? I think we all lie, often to protect those we love. I would lie if it was inconsequential but protected someone from feeling upset or hurt. I’m a terrible liar – I much prefer being upfront and honest, and then dealing with the consequences.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Sticking to the notion of being kinder to myself, I’m not going to answer this question.

When and where was I the happiest in my work? I remember being completely in the zone when making one of my films, Evil Eye. Working with the crew and contributors produced a powerful creative energy in the camaraderie of a shared outcome. I’ve had equal moments of happiness being alone in my studio editing, working on a collage or developing an idea.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Being a little more balanced. I’m constantly splitting time between my multiple projects, so being able to switch off and do something unrelated to my work I think would be a positive (and an achievable) change.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Every day is a great achievement. I wouldn’t have given that answer a year ago but recently it struck me that living a creative life is a daily practice and that is a great achievement. Yes there are some high points, such as exhibitions or winning an award, but to have a persistent focus on weaving creativity into your day, plus the ability to pay your bills, in addition to being healthy, is what it is all about.

Where would I most like to live? In a house that was literally on the beach, with huge windows along the front that look out onto the white sand and the waves rolling in.

What is my most treasured possession? My artistic work. It is housed in film cans, on drives and in paper and photographic form. Having no record of it would feel as though a part of me was lost.

What is my most marked characteristic? I’m very purpose-driven. If a purpose aligns with my values I get a huge amount of energy and focus to drive it forward.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The Thames Estuary is an incredibly beautiful landscape and in constant flux with the tide coming in and out. I never tire of it. Walks along the seafront are simultaneously meditative and energising.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Vino Vero, a small wine shop that also has a few tables where you can share a fabulous bottle of wine and cheese platter.

What books influenced my life and how? 

I definitely had an epiphany when reading John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. I literally felt I had the scales cast from my eyes.

Cassandra by Christa Wolf is a book I still carry with me and is first to mind when I think of a novel that really got my neurones firing.

The Battle of Troy told from a female perspective – that premise alone had me.

Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood. Such a sharp and cleverly crafted observation of the way in which capitalism has evolved and exists. It wrapped language around what I was feeling.

Derek Jarman’s diaries. I’m a huge fan of Jarman, his film work, activism and writing. He is my self-appointed godfather and reading his diaries and reflecting on his passion, hopes and vulnerabilities always makes me feel close to him.

Post-structuralist theory expounded by French Feminists definitely influenced my life! Reading work especially by Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva made me feel like I’d come home. It feels apt to insert a Cixous quote here: ‘Writeyour self. Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth. Our naphtha will spread, throughout the world, without dollars – black or gold – nonassessed values that will change the rules of the old game.’ (French Feminist Theory, Dani Cavallaro pg. 122)

Who are my favourite writers? There are a lot, but off the top of my head: Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and a recent discovery, Jackie Ryan.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day? A whole day would mean quite a lot of music. A combination of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Beyonce, Janelle Monáe, Shannon Shaw, Grace Jones with the final track being Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers version of We’ve Got Tonight (who needs tomorrow right?).

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? As a child it was Wonder Woman, and actually after seeing the 2017 film she holds up.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? 

Maria Bamford has become a recent heroine of mine. She humorously and intelligently unpacks the structures and systems in which we all exist. She is incredibly brave.

The collective: Salty. They are challenging mainstream notions of just about everything and give a voice and visibility to those often ignored and marginalised.

My friends Louise & Steve Dovey who quietly do so much for animal welfare and the community.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Theo Angelopoulos’s Ulysses’ Gaze. This film is visually sublime.

What role does art play in my life and work? It is my life and work.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Pascalle Burton is an amazing experimental poet, an incredibly generous human and my biggest cheerleader. We have been best friends for nearly 30 years and her support and belief is definitely something I value and am forever grateful for.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019/2020? 

I’m currently developing a film / installation situated on the Thames Estuary working with the tides. There are a number of collaborators: – a choreographer, lightning designer and a cinematographer whom I would like to work with, but as it is still in the concept phase I’ve yet to approach them so it is a case of ‘to be announced!’

In 2020 I am aiming to build a creative collective agency whose founding objective will be to improve diversity within the creative industries. I have had early discussions with the super-talented art director and illustrator Flavia Amaral, delightfully rambunctious creative designer Tania Conrad and brilliant copy writer Christina Olympia and am excited to see where future conversations lead.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019/2020? How anyone narrows this down from a never-ending list I don’t know? Top three for 2020 as follows:
I’d love to chat to the director Gurinder Chadha about her work and how she constructs the visual language in her films. I’d be keen to have a mentoring session with Professor Heather McGregor – she is bloody brilliant. It’d be fantastic to finally have dinner with artist Kate Durbin (it is long overdue).

What project, in 2019/2020, am I looking forward to working on? Series 2 of Greater than 11% kicks off in December 2019. I’m super excited as the format has changed slightly to include two wonderful co-hosts: Ursie Downes and Crystal Eisinger. We are being sponsored in kind by Unit and Factory and it’s amazing to be able to work with two prestigious London production houses. We have a number of incredible guests lined up. What’s not to look forward to?!

Where can you see me or my work in 2019/2020? You can find my artistic work on my website You can subscribe and listen to Greater than 11% on Itunes, Spotify and most podcast platforms. You can find my creative direction / agency work on my Dots profile.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? The drive and need to create fuels passion. You could say that the creative energy lives on in what we produce and put out in the world, and therefore it doesn’t end.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 

Sahdaish Pall is an incredibly creative woman. She is an author, a board game creator (two to date!), Domestic Violence Service Manager and cofounder in S.W.A.N, a Community Interest Group whose aim is to develop positive change in the community and to inspire, develop and empower women to live confident and fulfilled lives.

An incredible artist and teacher Marilyn Ford – her work with children is inspirational.

Hannah Taylor, an artist who also runs The Delicate Rebellion, is creating beautiful art and connecting people.

How can you contact me? You can contact me via my website, on Instagram @greaterthaneleven or on LinkedIn or The Dots.

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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