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Nicola West: “I trust that at the end of every journey there is a group of people supporting and guiding me to make the best decision”
3 minute read
Celebrating the International Women’s Day we have asked some of the many strong and experienced women in Lantmännen Unibake to talk a bit about their job and career and share some of their advice with other women. Meet Anette Kalle from our Danish frozen business.
What is your area of responsibility in Unibake?
I work as the Managing Director of our Danish Frozen business so I will describe myself as the co-author of the new story about this business unit, since it is relatively new. I am co-creating a new beginning with my team heading a completely new management team, writing the strategy towards 2024 and managing the needed transformation of the business. In short, you can say that I am making decisions short term while building the future with the team. I feel responsible for releasing the potential of the organisation and identify potential, we did not know, we had.
Have you faced any barriers as a woman in becoming successful in your field?
A key barrier has been within myself, believing that I can actually do it and that I have been ready to take the steps I’ve taken out of my comfort zone. For example leaving the marketing field to head the finalisation and commercialisation of Unibake’s new anchor plant in Poland. It helped me to think “you are never alone” – and I am still not – not even as the MD. I have colleagues who have done the same before me. I have never felt too proud to ask for help or advice from those around me that I trust or to believe, that when a big opportunity opens for me, it must be because some people around believe in me. That trust helps me to perform at my best.
Another barrier is of course the considerations for what comes with my own ambition. Will it be too high a cost for my children and family? Do I really want to prioritise as I do? I have made compromises, but I have always listened to myself and to the good people around me. I have taken action; I have re-organised daily work and travelling to make it fit into my private life, I have set-up practical support at home, and focused on enjoying all the great moments in both my private and my professional life. Finally, I have always enjoyed the freedom to act and change things that did not work. I always sought to not be trapped or depend too much on the job.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to women thinking about their careers?
Go for the opportunities and seek them actively. Do not be afraid to be explicit about what you want – be it a specific job or potential stretch assignments. People around you cannot guess what you want. Be flexible and open to new opportunities those that are not completely, what you expected. It can take you to new and exciting places in your career. Trust your own judgment and the way you do things even though it is different from typical boardroom conversation.
What is your biggest influence and/or icon?
There are many contributing with bits and pieces in different ways. Michelle Obama is one, because she is intelligent, a great communicator and possess a natural and feminine charm. She managed to hold on to her core values and make her own path within a very settled institution. She made a difference for many people because she saw the opportunities in her role and used them.