Support is essential
Although Anne Nørklit Lønborg as Vice President at Tryg is sitting at the top, she remembers the path towards it. From the outset, she has received support, and she believes that everyone benefits from this, particularly from both their family and their managers throughout their career.
“It’s particularly important when it comes to choosing qualifications, because it gives young people a feeling of security from the start. I acknowledge what my daughters are good at. But I also try to get them interested in technology, because that’s where the exciting jobs of the future lie.”
Aged 19 and 22, her daughters, think that, with her master’s degree in mathematics and physics, their mother is a bit of a nerd – and don’t think they should go in the same direction. But they listen to her advice. The eldest has invested her humanistic skills in studying techno-anthropology. The youngest is more analytical and is currently investigating many options.
“It’s good to listen to your parents, but as a young person you also have to reach out and explore the opportunities offered by different study programmes. Educational institutions are also happy to provide young people with guidance to help them make a more confident choice.”
Challenge leads to evolution
For young Anne herself, the choice of qualification was simple, as her father was a high school teacher of mathematics and physics. Being a girl between two brothers in a competitive family led to a certain amount of recklessness, and her leadership skills became evident when she captained the handball team at the age of 10.
“I like to make decisions and set a direction. This was noticed in my very first job, I was offered a place on a management course. I didn’t seek to become a manager but I’ve always looked for what seemed exciting, and it just developed naturally from there.
Shaped by a family of teachers, Anne thought she would be a teacher. Freshly graduated, she applied for a job as a high school teacher while submitting an application to IBM. She was offered both, but after strong encouragement from her husband, she threw herself into the unknown IT world and learned how to program.
But her talents quickly proved to lie in managing projects and people, and her career took this route with IBM and later as development director at ATP and now at Tryg.
“I have brought my personal and sporting preferences into my professional life and have always enjoyed team sports. When I achieve results with my employees, it gives me the same feeling of joy and accomplishment as winning a match with my team.”
Say what you want
After 18 years at IBM, Anne moved on and is today Vice President at Tryg. Here, her technical insights and talent for change management are used to create digital transformation. She has been comfortable in a management role for a long time and looks back at her journey with the eye of experience.
“At first, I just thought I was lucky. But along the way I learned that I was rising because I was good. I didn’t say out loud what I wanted and what ambitions I had. I’ve only started to do that in the last 10 years. Now I think I could have started to do that much earlier.”
But Anne Nørklit Lønborg has never experienced a glass ceiling or seen her gender as a challenge. On the contrary, she feels it’s a strength on the scientific path. During her studies there were few other women, and her many years at IBM were also primarily dominated by men. Being blonde and wearing a skirt aren’t a problem when you’re highly professional.
Equality is important
“As a sister between two brothers, I have always been very aware of equality. I’ve never signalled that anyone could put me in a secretarial role, and it’s important to mark your boundaries and know your worth.
It’s not just in the workplace that equality is important. For almost 25 years, both Anne and her husband’s lives and work have been given equal priority, although their ambitions are very different. The tough years with young children were tackled with humour and quarterly “steering group meetings” on the home front, at which the couple planned the practical details.
“You have to choose your husband carefully. Christian has always backed me up and believed that I could do more than I saw myself. It has been a joint project to keep the family running smoothly, and I have been able to give myself 100 percent to the job because I’ve always had support in the background.”