Fun to improve society
As one of nine members of the Danish Chamber of Commerce’s management team, with her own focus areas and responsibility for 20 employees, Stine Pilegaard gets to set her mark on society and labour market conditions.
It wasn’t a dream of becoming manager that drove Stine Pilegaard, but the desire to engage with society and make a difference. She does this today at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, with responsibility for advice and political interest in the labour market, education, work environment, HR and management as well as CSR.
“My independent family has taught me to always do my best and use my skills to the best of my ability. An inspirational social science teacher in high school aroused my interest in politics and social affairs, so political science was the right fit for me. If you want a leadership role, it makes sense to choose an qualification that makes this more likely.”
Promotion after maternity leave
Although Stine has had three children since beginning her career, this hasn’t stopped her ascent in the system. Quite the opposite. Every time she returned from maternity leave, she was offered a better job with more responsibility and greater challenges – and she’s accepted the challenge.
“I’ve had a management team that has believed in my abilities and competencies. It has been a choice to accept that trust. I thought “if they believed I can do it, then I can”. And I’ve succeeded, so for me having children hasn’t been an obstacle to becoming and remaining a manager.”
But those years with very young children were tougher than today. Full support from her spouse and an equal distribution of practical tasks have been crucial. They have also prioritised and outsourced those practical tasks. This is something that Stine Pilegaard believes is important to provide better opportunities for purely structural things.
Tax deductions on domestic service tasks
“In Denmark, we don’t have the optimal framework for outsourcing domestic tasks, so women often take them on. For example, by increasing tax deductions on domestic service, we would probably get both more female managers and more people on the fringe of the labour market into work.”
With a professional focus on creating an optimal framework for the future labour market, Stine juggles integration of immigrants, the structure of the education system and gender equality policy. And in her view it pays to think creatively and laterally.
“If it was easier to get cleaning and childcare services, this would benefit families with children and provide jobs for people like refugees, immigrants and other groups on the fringe of the labour market.”
Make others shine
Stine Pilegaard hasn’t regretted the leap to becoming a manager, because she enjoys setting a direction and making her mark. One of the more difficult parts is having to part with people when necessary – because management is mostly about people.
“My employees take on a lot of responsibility, so they use me as a sparring partner. It’s important to me that they grow and shine in their respective fields. As a manager, you have to be aware that it is a bit lonely, because you don’t have an equal collegial relationship with your employees.”
For Stine Pilegaard herself, it is the close relationships and time with friends and family that provide energy, but she is aware that it may be something else for others. So part of the leadership role also involves recognising the needs of others and helping them meet their goals.