Jannicke Hoff-Sümer, Senior Client Lead, shares her career journey and what inclusion and belonging means to her.
Aside from part time jobs during my student years, and one year working for a publishing house after finishing my education, my career started as a Brand manager in Orkla - Norway’s largest manufacturer within FMCG products. I worked with several brands covering both food and beverages, across dry and frozen categories, for 6 years.
It’s always challenging to work closely with people when there are big differences in personality, culture, language and work style. Add to that on a personal level: having two small kids and not sleeping well at night, your’re bound to be up for some rough times. However, you probably learn something about yourself and come out of it stronger in the other end. I know I did.
Being honest and kind, and keeping my integrity. It builds trust, as well as relationships, both in my personal life and at work.
To me, inclusion means seeing everyone for who they are, accepting that people are different and brings different qualities to the team. It means helping and sharing, bringing people together whether it’s personal or professional, during work hours or after. Hopefully, a sense of belonging comes when you feel you are accepted by the people around you, when you know that you are valued, and that you have something to offer.
If you have a sense of belonging, chances are you feel safe and valued. I imagine that the barrier to raising both issues and ideas for improvement will be lower in this kind of environment. If you manage to create a work culture where the team starts to feel like family (although perhaps a slightly dysfunctional one), it will create an emotional barrier of changing jobs. After all, the people you work with makes up a huge part of the experience of a workplace.
To me, a feeling of belonging is inseparable from a good place to work. You can’t have one without the other.
I try to talk to everyone. As I am quite open and share stories from my personal life, I believe it’s easy to get to know me. In the end, hopefully, I come across as a friendly person who is easily approachable. Also, I try to reach out and offer my help when it’s appropriate and I see I can add value.
For the commercial team, I feel it’s important that we do things together as a group since we have jobs where we are alone with clients much of the time. Lately, I have been focussing on creating opportunities for us to socialise in a relevant setting, like a visit to the retailer Iceland that recently established their first stores in Norway. We ate our way through much of their assortment afterwards! Coming up in September is a visit to the food festival in Oslo where many of our clients are attending.
Binge watching Homeland beats any film any day
My Kindle, with a bag of chocolate strapped on to it!