Interview with Lucy Navas – Advisory Board Member at Career Club DK (Alumna)

Lucy was one of the first members of Career Club DK, and she joined the Advisory Board as soon as it was created in October 2020. She is all about strategy, innovation, and design thinking and we learned a lot from her!

Where do you come from and what motivated you to come to Denmark?

I am from London. In a way, Denmark and I found each other by happenstance as I was recruited from abroad to move to Copenhagen for a brand-new role. Being a globally-minded person, I was on the lookout for international opportunities so I couldn’t say no to the possibility of experiencing a new country and a new culture. At the same time, I already had a slight insight into Denmark through old-established friends who I met abroad, plus the things you get to learn from the outside around Danish design, quality of life and Danish pastries! (My guilty pleasure whenever I am around them).


I moved one May, and while it was not autumn or winter, it sure felt like it. It was very cold, very windy and rainy throughout the month. And yes, more than in London!

You are an experienced Strategy and Innovation Manager, what inspired you to choose this career path?

During my studies, I became fascinated in the way companies operate on a local and global scale and how culture intertwines into the mix. I always enjoyed reading about and solving different business cases to later apply analytical and strategic thinking skills to real-life scenarios within each of my roles. I see myself as a creative problem-solver that takes on a holistic approach to finding new and different ways to tackle complex business issues, and who always puts insight and people (i.e., customers) at the heart of decision making. I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo and I am known for constructively challenging others to think beyond traditional ways of doing things.

 

I am very passionate about my field, and as a life-long learner, I am always keen to learn and expand my knowledge. I’m equally passionate about sharing my knowledge to empower and support others which I have been doing so for many years as a mentor and as a business coach, in parallel to my work. So, if you are ever on the lookout for a business advisor or talk all things entrepreneurship, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Tell us about your experience in building a career in Denmark?

I was lucky to join a Danish company with English as the official business language, which made it easy to connect and be able to have humorous exchanges with my colleagues. But despite loving languages and genuinely wanting to learn the local language, I have been struggling to learn Danish at the same speed that I have learnt my other 4.5 languages and a bit of others. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience, but it is also so easy to fall into using English.

 

From a social perspective, I felt at home immediately in Copenhagen by being able to enjoy the many cultural events and activities that the city has to offer at different times of the year. And as a foodie, there are so many places to delight your taste buds. In general, I find Danes to be friendly and funny to be around. Of course, and like for everyone else, things became tricky when the pandemic hit, which made it difficult to build new connections and live life to the fullest in a new country. I am grateful for the people who I met before the pandemic and who have stuck around during and after it. 

How do you find the working culture in Denmark compared to your own?

As someone who speaks-up and who takes an honest and open approach, I felt I fitted well with Danes’ direct way of speaking vs. the more British reserved way. I also enjoy the communal breakfast sessions at the company canteen and the Danes emphasis on work-life balance. I also first encountered the Danes’ immense love for their flag at a team gathering, when suddenly little flags appeared on pizzas; and flag-printed napkins and paper plates were everywhere. I thought it was a national day. Nope. Just used for decoration.

 

When it comes to summer holidays, however, it was shocking at first to see the entire office like a ghost town as Danish colleagues suddenly disappeared all at once. Personally, I enjoy taking multiple trips throughout the year and would rather not have to use up my annual leave squeezed into one section of the year. Other than that, I think Danes and Brits eat as much office cake as one another, and any excuse is a good excuse for cake!

What is your advice to all women building a career in Denmark?

I would say, as a foreigner in a new working culture, I think it is important to get to know as quickly as possible what the cultural codes are, like Janteloven. Something that you hear a lot as well is ‘network, network, network’! The latter often seems to be the only way to secure a job. So, if you are job hunting, don’t despair and put some work into your networking, too. Also, find your own style, your own voice when doing so. Networking can seem scary for some, especially if you are an introvert. I think that a community like Career Club DK can help to navigate these two crucial elements. Plus give learning Danish a go!

What does Career Club DK mean to you and how it can help other aspiring women?

To me Career Club DK is about women supporting women. I joined Career Club DK because I was attracted to the opportunity of being part of a like-minded set of wonderful Advisory Board Members dedicated to creating a welcoming, supportive and empowering community for career-minded women. Particularly in helping them navigate the cultural codes, expand their network, jointly celebrate our successes and overcome barriers; or simply not feel alone.

Is there anything else you are passionate about at the moment?

I am passionate about many things which makes it difficult to choose. Something that I have been expanding my knowledge in is sustainability and circular design.

 

Outside of work, one of my biggest passions is exploring new cultures through travel, food and visual arts. I have also been rekindling my love of photography. While I’m always open to meeting new people and finding ‘partners in crime’ for cultural events, café-hopping, brunch, walks, etc.

Lucy Navas is a Career Club DK Advisory Board Member & Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Specialist

Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn

Author

Nischa Don Maak

Founder of Career Club DK
Career Coach
Website www.careercatwalk.dk

Connect with Nischa on LinkedIn!

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