Masha Gurina

Strategic marketing professional and a dance artist


Masha Gurina is an all-around strategic marketing professional with over twenty years of global experience in brand strategy and integrated communications. She worked for some of the most prominent agencies in Europe and the US and participated first-hand in creation, development, and reinvention of brands for world-class companies and startups alike. She currently acts as a C-Level expert advisor, consulting, and coaching businesses on building brands, using brands as instruments of growth, and creating customer-centered cultures. Masha’s second life is that of a dance artist whose professional portfolio includes contemporary dance, Argentine tango, and movement direction. She directed her own full-length productions, created performances for stage, and worked as a guest choreographer for various dance and drama companies. Masha’s work was selected for multiple international festivals and won awards. Her performance credits include London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and various high-profile events around Europe. She teaches creative movement, partner work and Argentine tango internationally. As creativity coach for businesses and executives, Masha seamlessly merges the two worlds – business and art. Building on her unique combination of multidisciplinary experiences, she devised her own approach to coaching creativity which combines design thinking, improvisation theatre techniques and technology as a partner and collaborator. Masha holds MBA from IESE Business School (Barcelona), MA from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London) and is currently completing her professional certification in executive coaching with Henley Business School Germany in Berlin where she currently resides.


Human Creativity in the age of AI

In the Spotlight: Masha

What motivates you to present at the festival?

I had a pleasure to attend the first edition of the festival last year and moderate some of the sessions in the Festival Space track and was deeply impressed with the quality of the event – the speakers, the energy, the diversity, openness, and the boldness of it. It was also a great learning experience. As a speaker, I see it as a fantastic opportunity to share my ideas, get feedback and inspiration, and be part of a great community of professional women (and not only) in the field of AI. Also, given that AI is touching on every aspect of our lives, the theme of the festival is extremely current.

What is one person in your field of work that you admire and why?

Since I have multiple fields of work, I will choose one which is easier for me to answer: among creative people of all times and nations in the field of choreography, I admire Pina Bausch. Her work was visionary, it transcended the field originally appealing to a niche audience, developed her own version of the Tanztheater tradition which touched and moved the hearts of diverse audiences and remains relevant today.

Why would you recommend someone to join this field?

Not sure how to answer this, as I have several fields and they all have their benefits. If we are talking about performing arts or creative production in a broad sense, I would not necessarily recommend everyone to try to pursue a career in it, but participating in the audience is both enjoyable and educational.

What is the hottest topic/thing you have learned in the last few months, and why?

A so called 4D printing. While opportunities created by 3D printing technology is not a new topic, the idea of a 3D printed object transforming itself over time (thus, the 4th dimension) due to uses of ‘programmable’ materials which can take a different shape as if it were a living object, is fascinating.

Why did you choose to give a talk about "Human creativitiy in the age of AI" specifically?

The topic of creativity and creative process is close to my heart. I passionately pursued a career as a dance artist and found happiness in discovering my own creative capacity. The arrival of AI raised a lot of big questions about the role of technology, threats to traditional occupations and even the role of humans themselves. There is a lot of excitement, anxiety and even fear in the air. It is my deep conviction that creativity is not only a human ability but is fundamentally connected to what makes us human. We have full authority to either develop and cherish it in ourselves or relinquish and outsource it to AI (and the latter would be a sad but conscious choice…not an inevitable outcome though, as some people are trying to predict).

What’s there to learn for our attendees?

The session is not meant as a lecture. While I will share some of my insights and information which may be new, the idea is not so much to teach but rather to inspire, answer some of the questions and motivate to embark on a journey of a kind.

Who is your session for?

Human creativity is a broad topic, and I chose it intentionally. I like starting with a big picture, and therefore it is intended for a diverse audience: from those who have specific innovation and creative challenges as part of their jobs, those who perhaps don’t find enough creative opportunities in their professional or daily lives and crave some of it, to those who do not believe they possess any creative capacity and would rather have generative AI do the job (directing someone else’s creativity is a kind of creativity as well).