Name: Anne Dyrberg Rommer
Date of birth: September 21st 1975
Title: Financial Counsellor, Danish Embassy, Washington DC (on leave from the Danish Central Bank)
Company: Danmarks Nationalbank
Degree: Ph.D. in Economics
Fun fact: I never swim in the ocean in Summer, but this year I started winter bathing first Sunday after New Year’s Eve
Was there a specific moment when you realised you wanted to pursue a leadership (or STEM) career?
I always enjoyed Math and Social Science in school, and hence I thought that Economics would be the perfect degree for me to pursue. Also, I have always been very interested in developments in society. I thought that I could combine my interests with a degree in Economics.
What has been crucial to get you to where you are today?
I have learned a lot from my parents. My Dad – who has always played a lot of tennis – always told my sister and I, that there is always something you can practice. This means, if you get an opponent that is not as strong as you, you can just decide to practice your serve or rallying at the net (if this is what you want to improve), if you want to keep your development going. This also applies to your job. Challenging assignments bring development by the nature of them. However, if you have to do a task you think is not that challenging, you can train yourself to do it fast, you can try to improve the way the problem is typically solved within your company, or you may add new things to it that no one had thought of before. I think the advice of my father has helped my development because throughout my career, as I have always looked for development opportunities. My Mom taught me another great thing. If things are challenging, it helps breaking tasks into smaller pieces. So, if you must write a big report, and you don’t know where to start, then set a smaller goal and solve that, before you set the next. Also, it might help you to think that others were able to do it – so why wouldn’t you be?
At the beginning of my career, it was crucial to have good managers who helped my development along. They gave me opportunities. Also, they were able to see strengths and weaknesses and spur my development by giving me personal career advice. Your manager sets the tone at work and has a decisive impact on the problems you are allowed to work on. You grow by working and meeting challenges, and hence a good manger, that sees you and that you feel confident with, is really important. This also applies to situations where you might need a helping hand – here is a good manager is also invaluable.
Tell us about a female role model and the impact this person had on you – either personally or professionally?
I think there are many great female role models out there. I am amazed by Frida Kahlo – the Mexican artist. She had the ability to overcome physical disability, which shows persistence. Her paintings are so vibrant and colourful. To me they are small energy explosions. When I look at them, I feel the energy outburst and I get inspired. Another role model would be the former Secretary of State in the United States, Madeleine Albright. She speaks her mind. She changes the world. And she also has a great sense of humor. All traits I find inspiring.
What do you enjoy most about your work today?
As of August 1st, I have a new position as Financial Counsellor at the Danish Embassy in Washington DC. The job has an amazing mix to it. It consists of writing reports about current issues, e.g. inflation and the US debt ceiling. To do this, you need to find out the latest developments on the relevant issues by setting up meetings with the relevant persons here in DC. It could be the Fed, it could be the Treasury etc. Also, when there are delegations from Denmark, I would be the one organizing the meetings that the delegations will have. Visitors could be governors from The Central Bank of Denmark, the Minister of Finance or delegations from Danish institutions that want to learn more on a specific topic, e.g. tax or cyber security. Furthermore, you are a part of the everyday life at the Embassy, and you participate in meetings, speech writing etc. It is a great job. It has so much variety, some things are set for you to do, and at other times you are more “free” to pursue investigating topics because you find them important on the US agenda.
What does good leadership mean to you?
To me, the best leaders are leaders that both have people skills and leaders who can inspire and set the direction. People skills entail, for example, the ability of building trust-worthy relations. This is a pre-requisite for everything. Being inspirational and setting the direction is needed to ensure your team have ambitions goals and to ensure that everyone understands and works towards the same goals. Charismatic leaders can ignite their employees. To achieve all this, you need to understand, and cannot underestimate, the value of good communication and a lot of communication – it might be more communication compared to what one right away would think is necessary (seen from the leader’s perspective), but it is.
What did you imagine your life and career would be like when you were 25?
At 25, I had just finished my MsC in Economics at the University of Copenhagen and my MsC in Economics from the London School of Economics. I had started working at The Central Bank of Denmark, and I had just spent 4 months as a short-term consultant at the World Bank. I was actually in the US and in DC, when September 11 happened. This was just 14 days away from my birthday – turning 25. At that time, I was so excited about everything. I had started on my dream job at The Central Bank of Denmark, I had had the luck to meet a guy at a conference that wanted to hire me for a short-term position at the World Bank, and after four months in DC I was about to return to my Division at The Central Bank of Denmark knowing that very exciting tasks lay ahead. I was thrilled about everything and I thought that the track that was laid out could not be better. I actually did not imagine that I would ever want to change what I would be doing. And now – many years later – I am still at The Central Bank of Denmark, and I still feel and think the same way. It is so great that there are so many ways to develop personally and professionally once you are in the bank. This time it is in DC as a Financial Counsellor at the Danish Embassy in Washington DC. What more can you wish for?