Describe briefly your job at Telenor
I am a section leader at Telenor Open Mind. Open Mind is a two-year training programme aimed at people with physical disabilities. It helps people with physical disabilities to find jobs by bringing them into an ordinary working environment. The participants get to work in different Telenor units and gain valuable experience.
It is my job to oversee our administrative staff, as well as our job consultants who coach and support the Open Mind participants. I am also an ‘ambassador’ for the programme, and work with promotion – both internally and externally.
Why did you join Telenor?
As a matter of fact, I started my career as a participant in the Open Mind programme. It is almost ten years ago – in 1999 to be precise. After an accident in which the nerves in my back were damaged, I became dependent on a wheelchair, so I had to leave my former job with a security firm. I wanted to start working again, but I did not know where to begin or what to do. A friend of mine told me about the Open Mind project, so I applied and was accepted. I received training in network administration and solved people’s computer problems for a while. I did not like it very much, though, so I was pleased when I was given the chance to move on to an administrative position.
What has your career at Telenor been like so far?
In 2001, after I had completed the Open Mind programme, I was offered a permanent position with the programme. I started as a consultant and was promoted to Section Leader in 2006.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like working with people. It is very important to me. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can actually help people at a challenging phase of their lives. I can change their perspectives and hopefully – tear down some negative barriers. It is great to see how people respond when they realise it is possible to have an enjoyable working life, even after an accident or serious injury. You don’t have to be excluded from a ‘normal’ life as such. You shouldn’t be.
I also like meeting people, and giving presentations to promote the programme and the Telenor vision.
How would you describe the work environment at Telenor?
It is good. We have an open-plan office where we can communicate freely. As a manager, I like to be close to my team. I feel that it makes cooperation easier. We are quite flexible in my department, and often hold meetings on the beach at Fornebu, in cafés or other areas out of the office. It is refreshing to have a change from the standard meeting rooms.
If you had to choose one word to describe Telenor, what would it be?
Amazing – truly an amazing employer. I know this might sound a bit over the top but for my part I can not find anything negative to say about Telenor. The work environment, my colleagues, the company atmosphere – overall – I feel this is a very good place to work.
Can you describe a special event at work that you particularly enjoyed?
Through Telenor I had the opportunity to take a course and qualify as a professional coach. It was rewarding, and it gave me many new tools which I can use to help the participants in the Open Mind Programme. It gave me new and valuable insights.
What are your professional goals?
My goal was to become section manager in my department, and I have achieved this. In the future, I would like to continue developing my skills as a manager. You can never say you have learned it all; there is always room for improvement. It would be interesting to work even more with people management. Perhaps one day I’ll take on a position in the Human Resources department.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
One of my great interests is sledge hockey. It is basically ice hockey, but we move around on a sledge instead of using ice skates. I have been part of the Norwegian national team since 1996, and we have won one gold and two silver medals in the Paralympics. This hobby requires a lot of training and travelling, though. So without the flexibility of my employer and support of my family, it would not have been possible to keep doing it.
I am also an active supporter of the Norwegian Vålerenga football team. Apart from that I try to spend as much time as possible with my family.
What would you show a visitor to your home town?
I would like to show them Vålerenga. It is the area where I live, in the eastern part of Oslo. It is a place with a lot of history and a special atmosphere. People live and breathe for this area.
The Royal Palace, Akershus Fortress and our City Hall are all monumental buildings I would love to show any visitor.