Interview with Silvia Pirola – Advisory Board Member At Career Club DK

Silvia Pirola is a Career Club DK Advisory Board Member and a People Operations Manager with 7 years of experience from three international companies. Silvia completed her Ph.D. in Aarhus, and she has international experience from Norway, Costa Rica, Australia, and Italy, where she was born and raised.

 

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

I originally come from the North of Italy, close to Como Lake. A small town that was always too small for me (even though I love it and miss it). So, I left as soon as I had the possibility! After several wonderful experiences in Italy and abroad, I landed in Aarhus to take a master’s degree (I applied and was accepted also in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, but I chose Aarhus because of the quality of the program and to give a try to the Danish life). The plan was to stay for a short time, but after 13 years, I have no intention of leaving!

I love Denmark and I think it is the best place for my children to grow up!

What is your professional background and what inspired you?

After my MA, I was accepted for a Ph.D. My ambition was to become an Academic, but I soon realized it was not the right path for me. I completed my degree (not without challenges!), because I finish what I start, but I then turned to the private sector and to something that passionate me: people. Sometimes people management seems more about administration than about helping employees, but I think that through establishing and standardizing processes, I provide a good service and a better environment for my colleagues. I enjoy working with different legislations, collective agreement and I love that every day is different and there is always a new and special challenge to solve or to handle! Moreover, I love to be part of building a positive and healthy working culture and working environment in the places where I work!

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

About the career: I think that in Denmark the work environment is more fluid (and less hierarchic) as in other countries (including my own). Anyway, building a career requires time, patience, resilience and persistency (and sometimes a good helping hand from a professional as well!). And also, self- confidence and a “trust-in-the-process” attitude (which are two things I am personally not particularly good at). Now that I have a job that I love, it is very easy for me to say this, but as most people I have been through an awful amount of rejections and jobs were I was not treated fairly or with a bad working culture.

 

About the network: when I first came to Copenhagen from Aarhus, it was a bit difficult both for the professional and personal network. In Aarhus I used to study, so it was easier to make friends and get to know people. I came to Copenhagen with a full-time job and a two-year-old (thus little time). But once again: trust the process! Get out there as much as you can, try to connect, attend event and be yourself! Maybe it will take a little time, but it will pay off!

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

As said above it is less hierarchic, colleagues are more friendly, boss are more helpful. The attitude is

more “we are here to work together, let ́s make the best out of it!” rather than “I am paying you, so you are MY employee, and you do what you are told!”. There is room for dialogue and constructive criticism. In many companies there are also many possibilities of growth and development, and managers are genuinely interested in the well being of their employees and colleagues both during and after working ours. Some companies also have social activities after working hours. On the contrary, sometimes, some Dane can set a clear boundary between private and work life. But that is very personal, and I think that it can happen in any country.

Work-life balance is normally a must and I think that it is one of the best countries where to work if you have a family with small children. In many companies, it is accepted to leave early to pick them up and in general, it is valued that you have a life outside of work!

Your best career advice from woman to woman?

”Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you”. Empowered women can empower

women, we have this amazing superpower! But there are also “little” women who steps on

other women ́s feet, they try to “steal” form others, and generally do not behave

well/according to common society rules. I have heard WAY TOO MANY horrible stories! And

I also have my fair deal to share! Doing bad to others, does not do good to you, both in the

short and the long run and both professionally and personally. Respect, support and

appreciate others and think about the consequences of your actions!

What does Career Club mean to you and how have we helped you?

I joined career club to meet other internationally minded professional women to empower and inspire each other. I got to know Nischa because she helped me in my job hunt, and I thought participating in the group could help me also to “give back” some of the support I received.

I also think that is great to know more about other people, their stories, their paths, and their struggles as well as their victories!

Interviewee

Silvia-Pirola-Career-Club-DK-Advisory-Board-Member

Silvia Pirola

Advisory Board Member at Career Club DK 

People Operations Manager

Connect with Silvia on LinkedIn!

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