‘If you don’t challenge yourself sometimes, you don’t develop as a person

What are you thinking about right now?
It’s Friday so it has to be the weekend! I’m going to a concert tonight to watch a couple of very famous Danish pop singers: Thomas Helmig and Steffen Brandt. I’m also going to the ballet tomorrow, so they are two very opposite things but very interesting and I’m looking forward to both.

Helle Friberg

Helle Friberg

What is your greatest fear?
I don’t like public speaking. But I do it anyway because I like to challenge myself. If you don’t challenge yourself sometimes, you don’t develop as a person.

What is your most treasured possession?
My two boys – although strictly speaking they’re not my ‘possessions’ of course. They are 23 and 18. I’m very proud of them and love them very much.

Who is your greatest hero?
Anthony Robbins, the American self-help and motivational speaker. He has advised all sorts of people, including Bill Clinton. He holds courses where he gets people to think positively and forget what’s holding them back in life. He’s inspiring and it’s vital to set goals and make the most out of your life.

What is your greatest achievement?
Apart from the kids … it’s the department that I have today and the work we do implementing risk management in the Hempel Group. Considering the time and the resources available, we’ve done very well.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt?
I’ve learnt how important it is to talk and to listen to people; that instead of charging ahead with my ideas, it’s important to consult others to find the best solution for the company or individual project. I’m an Aries, who are meant to be stubborn, but I have learnt and am still learning not to be so stubborn.

What makes you happy?
Success in my achievements. For example, if I’ve been working on a project for a long time or when I’ve presented something to an audience and it goes well, I’m ecstatic!

What makes you unhappy?
I don’t like it when I’m misunderstood at work, but fortunately that doesn’t happen a lot. If it happens though, I try to rectify it straight away and make sure that I’m understood much better.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
I worked one night at a discotheque when I was 18 or 19. All the patrons knew each other and all the bar staff and they didn’t want the new girl to serve them. I just stood there until 5am. It was terrible. I didn’t go back.

Tell us a secret
Once a year, in Denmark, we have Fastelavn – where kids dress up. I always dressed up as Pippi Longstocking – a Swedish fictional character who is very strong, with odd clothes, a horse and a monkey. At tea parties, my mother always made me sing the Pippi Longstocking song and dance. It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Helle Friberg, group risk and insurance manager, Hempel Group

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