Who has been your role model?
My mother is a great woman. Both of my parents were physicists, and my mother both created a business career and became a manager while looking after a family with two children and always putting others before herself. My sister and I both have master’s degrees in physics as well as PhDs in climate modelling. She became a professor at Yale University and I came to Vestas.
How do you choose your career path?
You have to concentrate on what interests you, because then you become good at what you do, and then you get the best opportunities. That is my most important career advice for young people.
Is there anything you wish you had known?
It took me a long time to discover that you can easily be good at several things. As a young person, you often think it is necessary to be good at one thing, but you can go off on a new tangent and come back again. You can also specialise and, at the same time, become a good manager.
Are women less brave than men?
I think we women are bad at daring not to be 100 per cent prepared. We are so eager to create value that we don’t want to “sell” what we create until it’s almost finished. Here, it seems that men have more courage. But I think there is a change coming. The young women that get into Vestas are much more self-confident than I remember we others were. They are really great and conscious of their worth.
Have you been paid a salary that you deserved?
My primary motivation factor is not salary, and because it is not the most important thing to me, I have experienced getting less than others at the same level during my career – and even below me. It has not annoyed me, but rather surprised me. But in the long run, it has ended up being an advantage for me.
It has put my manager – always male – in an uncomfortable situation when it has become evident that, as a team leader, I have been paid less than a former team leader, or if I have been paid less than an employee in the team under me. Then my manager has had to adjust my salary, and I feel I have made myself stronger for future negotiations.
Because I didn’t feel embarrassed or put myself in the role of a victim; I ended up standing out as a winner. My results have spoken for themselves in relation to my salary.
I am well aware that many of my male colleagues are better at negotiating salary – probably because they often have a personality structure where it means more to them than it does to me. As a woman, there is so much you can wonder about in a male-dominated world, but it’s important to see it all as a challenge and turn it to your advantage.
If you have a boss who doesn’t seem to notice you, don’t feel like a victim. Help solve the problems you see your manager facing, because that’s how you become visible and then indispensable. And for that, you will be rewarded and gain influence.
What is a good manager to you?
It is one that can carry a key idea from the employee to the company’s strategy so that everyone feels acknowledged and important for the company to fulfil its vision. And here, I actually think women have an advantage. With our empathy and ability to handle complexity, we are good at seeing the individual in the big picture and so we get the team to move in a common direction.