The people behind Essence

Grischa Bender

born in 1968, is a software consultant and musician. For the last 15 years he has worked as a business development manager, for different technology vendors in the field of data-driven consumer engagement. This remote job allows him to continue being creative as a singer-songwriter, playing live in clubs with his band and releasing songs and albums on a regular basis.

“The idea for Essence is several years old. In the beginning, it was my personal desire for engaging and focused conversations about everyday problems. The right words at the right moment or just someone that really listens – that can be so helpful! However, not every topic is suitable for sharing it with your partner or friends and sometimes we just cannot find the time.

That is why important things often remain unspoken and just keep carrying them around. I did not want to accept that, especially since I learned from many conversations that almost everyone feels the need to speak things out, to let it all go, and everyone is happy to receive sympathetic support. Therefore, I simply started organizing regular discussion groups among my friends. The overall response was so encouraging that, together with Nicola, I started to further expand our project.“

portrait grischa bender

Nicola Sczersputowski

Nicola Sczersputowski, born in 1969, is a trained art therapist, painter and make-up artist. Nicola has worked for several years in a cultural therapy facility for addicts. As a painter, she has done exhibitions in Chicago and Berlin. Currently Nicola is working mostly as a freelance makeup artist and does hair/makeup for several Netflix series.

”Grischa approached me and just asked if I would like to be part of a discussion group about our everyday issues and hardships. At first I was a bit hesitant, because I thought I wouldn’t need it, but then I joined in and it felt great! It was such a simple concept and, most importantly; it worked out! I got really engaged and fell in love with the idea of further improving this unique opportunity for exchange and conversation. This is how we kept on organizing virtual and purely audio-based discussion groups consisting of anonymous-only participants. In these last years of experience we have learned a lot about the positive dynamics and outcome, but also the challenges presented in the overall organization.“