Name: Hanne Storm Edlefsen
Date of birth: 19th of May 1978
Title: Director of Energy Islands
Degree: Master’s degree in Political Science, University of Copenhagen
Fun fact: Every Tuesday night, I am a cub scout leader for some of the smallest kids in the local scout association.
What do you find most interesting about your career and your leadership position?
I simply love working on complex issues and pioneering projects in the intersection between technology and politics, which is a great part of my work. It is so exciting to be involved in doing something new for the first time; exploring unknown territory, where the solutions are not exactly lined up and experience that “Hey! We also managed that task”. Before I became a manager, I thought that having a seat at the decision-making table and having influence would mean the most to me. Today, I am most excited about getting the best out of my colleagues, watching them develop and shine.
What has been crucial to get you to where you are today?
I believe in good old fashioned hard work. To do my absolute best, to meet well prepared and last but not least: to be dedicated. I have put both hours and my heart into my career, which has been crucial to where I am today. In addition, I have never been afraid to speak my mind.
Tell us about a female role model and the impact they had on you – either personally or professionally?
It is difficult to point to one person who has had a particular influence on me. Throughout my career it has been quite clear that there are few female leaders. Instead, I have turned to my friends and female colleagues, with whom I have shared my dreams and ambitions. I have also had several male bosses who have had a positive influence on me and who have shown what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
What advice would you give young female students today?
The most important thing is to dedicate yourself properly to what you do and at the same time be aware of what you bring to the table as a person. Being true to yourself is crucial, not being afraid of showing the world who you are, speaking up, admitting your mistakes but also letting your strengths shine. Your unique qualities make you interesting, so don’t be afraid of showing it.
Looking into the future, what role do you think STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics) education will have?
I honestly believe that STEM educations will be key in solving some of the most important challenges we face now and in the future. This applies to everything from climate change to economic inequality, which are challenges we share with the rest of the world. This place greater demands on our ability to collaborate across disciplines and national borders in a constantly changing world. This makes STEM educations even more relevant in the future.