A management role shaped by politics
Mette Feifer has been politically active since her teenage years on, and this shaped the first few years of her professional life. At some point, the real world became more attractive than the game behind Christiansborg’s thick walls, and today she is the marketing director at the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
There is room for disagreement and a rich culture of debate in a political party. At least in the party Mette Feifer once belonged to, and eventually she’d had enough. The commitment to society and the desire to bring about change gave more meaning in the real world than as Deputy Chair of a political party.
“I enjoyed the combination of politics, communication and leadership. But I missed having colleagues and working with them towards a common goal. In business, there is a focus on results and on execution. There’s a direction you have to follow and decisions are made in the real world. I like that.”
Like many other young politicians, Mette Feifer failed to finish her thesis, but she effectively completed her qualification in political science when she was employed by the business organisation that is today the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
Single mother with a career
“The freedom of method was enormous, provided results were created for the members. I showed initiative and was recognised by a number of good managers, so I gradually got more responsibility as first team leader and assistant manager, then as market director. Today I am one of ten vice directors under the two-person Executive Board.”
On the private front, life also evolved, and at one point Mette Feifer wanted to be a mother. She ended up alone, so there’s only her to take responsibility but fortunately good grandparents and a nanny help out with everyday life and during the evening events that the job entails.
“I never tried being one of two parents, so it’s my fate to be there for both joys and sorrows. I have good background support, but of course I also do a lot of prioritising. I don’t have much time for myself, so I don’t get as much exercise or fun with friends as I used to. But it all works out, and I’m fortunate to both have a career and be a mother.”
In fact, Mette’s career has only progressed even more positively since she became a mother. When she returned from maternity leave, she was given responsibility for yet another department, so today she has responsibility for around 30 employees. Good managers have helped Mette move forward, as she now does with others.
“I grew up with two parents who were involved in everything from the local waterworks to the peace movement, and it makes me happy to take part and accept responsibility.”
Her leadership skills were also shaped at an early stage. For example, it took some effort to get 30 young politicians with hangovers to clean up after a post-seminar party. From a professional point of view, Mette Feifer advises following your interests when you choose a qualification. But it’s more than the diploma that counts in the job market.
“When I recruit, I go for commitment. It’s a big plus to have been active in an association or in politics when you’re going to be employed in a business organisation where you have to take the initiative, step up and manage complex relationships with members, journalists and politicians.”