Name: Anna Lyster-Clausen
Title: Advanced Research Lead
Degree: MSc in Techno-Anthropology
- Introduce yourself, and share a fun fact that makes you unique!
My name is Anna (Last name: Lyster-Clausen). I am 34 years old. I have a BA in midwifery and a MSc in Techno-Anthropology. This combo has led me to work within innovation for the past 7 years, and since October 2021 in VELUX.
I am a mom of two, live near Vejle and some fun facts about me – I love Coldplay and Formula 1. If I could redo my sabbatical years between high school and university I would definitely go for a couple of years as a roadie for F1.
- What does a day in your life look like as an Advanced Research Lead at VELUX?
I have been part of early-stage innovation in VELUX since October 2021, first as a concept developer in Front End Innovation and now as Advanced Research Lead in a team, that is setting out to cultivate our radical innovation effort. I think this shows quite well that being part of innovation, in VELUX as well as in general, includes change, adaptability and variations. I don’t really see there is a recipe for a typical day, when being in early innovation. One should thrive with high energy and pace, manoeuvring uncertainties, being co-creational and inclusive – great new things are not created by one person.
- What motivates and excites you the most about your career path and the leadership position you hold?
To me it is exciting, that my future has unknowns and is not set in stone. I have several opportunities for further development and changes.
- Share with us the biggest lessons you learned on your journey to where you are today.
A great lesson I learned is that changes and transformations, and rather big ones, are possible. Even though you might feel labelled by a specific education, there are still good options for applying it in an entirely different setting or industry, and realise value from it.
Today, I absolutely still generate value from my midwifery education and career, despite being part of an entirely different industry.
- Tell us about a (female) role model who inspired you to become the leader you are today, and how (s)he impacted you personally or professionally.
Those who have inspired me most along the way are without a doubt, those who first and foremost are leaders, and not ‘just’ managers. Those who inspire and motivate with empathy and insight to humans.
- If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, or to other young female students today, what would it be?
If I were to give a piece of advice for my younger self, it would be to be curious and open, now and always. You don’t need to know it all or act as if, even though you land expert roles. First of all, it is inhuman to put that pressure upon yourself and second, people are much more inclined to help you, if you ask and if you are open to it. And the result of your work will be so much more informed and qualified by involving others.
- How do you see STEM education shaping the future?
This question regarding STEM tempts me to be a bit blunt and dramatic – no STEM no future for humans on this planet.
To elaborate a bit, we face quite many crises in the future, first and foremost the crises relating to our climate and multiple planetary boundaries being crossed. If we should hope to turn around the very dark forecast, we heavily rely on STEM competencies. Which is also the case in facing other crises.
- Why is it important for you to promote diversity and inclusion within STEM?
Diversity informs, qualifies, and challenges innovation, and this is needed in order to create the best and most valuable future solutions – for the people and the planet.
- What steps has your company taken to promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and which one has been the most effective?
At this point, we have been laying the foundation and identified and initiated the steps we need to take to improve the important work of DEI in VELUX. We are proud of the initial steps we have taken, and at the same time we are looking forward to the many actions ahead of us that are needed for us to more fully foster DEI.
-Establishing our DEI Policy
-Including DEI as part of global onboarding
-Partnering with Develop Diverse to reduce bias in our job-adds
-Producing guidance for hiring managers to Reduce Bias in Hiring; training recruitment partners and HR business partners
-Mandatory unconscious bias training for all managers in 2023
-DEI integration in our VELUX Leadership Framework
-Inclusion of DEI topics in the Global Employee Survey (enabling employee-informed further steps toward inclusion)
-Connecting executive compensation to progress on our DEI target for women in management
-Expanding gender self-identification options within our HR information system, to include non-binary and prefer not to disclose; and enabling employees to include pronouns on their profile card in Outlook and Teams
-(The 2022 Sustainability Report includes additional information on pages 41-44, including a case exploration of equity in VELUX: Read how we are leading change in our sustainability report (velux.com))
It is difficult to say which one step has been most effective, because all of these steps and more are needed – they build and support each other.
The development of our DEI Policy was an effective foundational step because it establishes our DEI mission, key terms (including the addition of “E” for equity), reiterates our DEI targets, and -critically- assigns accountability for DEI progress with our executive leaders.
In terms of being able to move forward strategically, the inclusion of DEI topics in the Global Employee Survey has been a crucial step because it enables us to implement targeted initiatives and make data-informed decisions. While we are just now moving forward in discussing and sharing results, we foresee effective momentum and ongoing progress forward in part due to this.