Her career may not have begun in technology, but today she has the overall responsibility for the operation of Telenor Denmark’s entire network and IT systems, as well as the 100 employees who ensure that everything works like clockwork. She has always known that a leading position was where she belonged, and has worked her way up in the telco industry to get there. Being a woman in Tech has never been an issue for her and she adores working with IT colleagues: Meet Louise Haurum.

“My father was director of a steelwork and as a young child I witnessed him being an inspiring leader deeply appreciating the practical and technical skills of his workers – and them respecting him back for that appreciation. I think my interest in management was awakened already back then.”

‘My road to Technology has been
paved with chance and coincidence’

Louise Haurum’s way into telco was through the credit department in the former Danish mobile provider Sonofon, dealing with debt. It was a very different role from her current position in Telenor.

“My road to Technology has been paved with chance and coincidence. Originally trained as an accounting assistant I had never thought of heading in that direction. In 1996, Sonofon was progressive and exciting, and they were mass hiring. Several of my friends already worked there and when a vacancy within my field popped up, I applied and got the job.”

‘I always knew that I didn’t want to be a specialist
and that my strengths were within management’

A new challenge every other year

Accounting was never really Louise’s cup of tea; she knew management was where she belonged. And after just six months she got her first team leader position. She worked in Sonofon for ten years within different areas of customer service – every other year getting a new career challenge that took her career further.

“I always knew that I didn’t want to be a specialist and that my strengths were within management. I quit Sonofon and worked for a couple of years as a project manager for the internet provider Cybercity. After a couple of years the two companies merged and during the merger I applied for the job as manager of Service Management in the IT department – and my faith in Technology was sealed.”

After starting within Technology, Louise took up several different management positions in IT and since August, her present position has been as Director of Technology Service Operation.

‘I have a deeply rooted respect for nerds. I see
their introversion and focus as great strengths’

The blessing of working with nerds

“I’m sometimes asked if it’s hard working in a field with such a predominance of men. But being a woman in tech has never been an issue to me. I’ve never seen it as a disadvantage in any way or felt that I’ve been met with any kind of gender bias. I wouldn’t say ‘on the contrary’ either – it’s simply never been an issue to me.”

She loves working with technical and highly-qualified co-workers and she treasures the unique objectivity and devotion that she finds in Technology.

“I have a deeply rooted respect for ‘nerds’ and the somewhat more introverted types that you meet in tech, and I see their introversion and focus as great strengths with a charm of their own – quite different from the skills that I bring to Telenor. Together we make great things happen.”

‘In Telenor we have a very flexible work culture with an
keen understanding of the need of families to make
ends meet with both parents working full time’

Director and single mom

As a single parent, Louise is aware of the privileges of the Danish labour market, where hours spent at the workplace are considerably fewer than in many other countries. Still, being the Director of Technology Service Operations with the overall responsibility for Telenor Denmark’s entire network and IT could be a challenge to a healthy work-life balance, but not for Louise.

“Most days I spend 8 am to 4 pm at Telenor, and then I go to pick up my seven-year-old son from school. That would not be possible everywhere, but in Telenor we have a very flexible work culture with an extensive understanding of the need of families to make ends meet with both parents working full-time. I can then chip in with some extra hours in the evening or on weekends. You take a little and you give a little. The flexibility works both ways and I do not see the need for that flexibility as a particularly female issue. My male colleagues are just as ambitious about being parents as I am.”

She also appreciates, that the Danish executives do not portray themselves as super-humans working 24/7, but rather are devoted parents who sometimes leave early to pick up kids from kindergarten or attend a school meeting – just like everyone else.

‘Make sure that you always dream out loud’
– Louise’s advice to young ambitious women
wanting to move forward

Dreaming out loud

When asked to give a piece of advice to young, ambitious women wanting to move forward, Louise says:

“That would definitely be to make sure that you always dream out loud. To find out what you are truly good at and ask for the challenges and responsibilities that you dream of in your work life. Thinking back on my young self, I wasn’t particularly good at that. My luck has been that I have worked in a fast-moving industry with superiors who acknowledged my talents and helped me forward. That is also the reason why I strongly believe in mentor programs like the Telenor WIN program that I’m currently involved in. It is a great privilege witnessing young talents finding their path and two of my former mentees, who had never thought of working in Tech, are now my colleagues in Technology.”