After graduating with an Engineering degree in Innovation Management, Dennis started his career at Novo Nordisk. A year later he realized how much he enjoyed optimization projects and joined NNE to utilize his pharma operations experience in our dynamic, project-centered environment.
Dennis first stepped into the pharmaceutical world with Novo Nordisk, working at one of their new facilities back in 2018. As the tasks slowly moved into operations, “I realized development and improvement projects were my thing, and with my pharmaceutical experience, NNE seemed like a great fit. I’m not a big fan of repetitive tasks and prefer project work – once you finish one thing, you get to start on something different”.
So, join NNE he did, starting as an IT consultant in the newly formed Manufacturing Intelligence department that focuses on optimizing pharma facility operations with data.
“I found improving processes and existing equipment was the most motivating thing for me in my former position. I also really like that NNE utilizes all kinds of technologies – such as cloud tech, Artificial Intelligence, and Internet of Things to improve efficiency. I’m an interdisciplinary person, not a specialist, and the work really aligned with my educational background.”
Dennis was soon involved in multiple projects, learning about IT systems and different pharma production contexts. In April 2021, he became an IT Project Manager with a plan to build up his IT competencies while also moving into a more generalist role that included the business side of NNE. “I’m somebody who can translate business objectives into innovative technical solutions. And I’ve also been told that I have the “consultant gene”. I like talking to customers and can translate complex hi-tech solutions to the world on the shop floor of the facility. Plus, there is the strategic side – helping our customers move in the right direction with Manufacturing Intelligence.”
Developing soft skills in NNE’s leadership training programme
Because of his new role, Dennis was invited to join the NNE LEAD programme, a 4-day training where participants strengthen their leadership skills through a combination of 1) practical training 2) giving and receiving feedback on leadership behavior and 3) an introduction to simple and effective models of leadership. For Dennis, it was a powerful growth journey.
“I’ve taken different management courses before and traditionally they are very academic and tool oriented – but the LEAD programme focuses on developing your softer skills and taking the lead for both project managers and from a technical perspective. Our CEO Jesper Kløve joined us and stayed overnight in the woods and we had an honest Q&A session next to the fireplace. That was really cool.”
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. LEAD pushes your limits to see how you respond in different situations, with two days spent outdoors.
“LEAD was fun to attend but also tough. You’re thrown into a project with people you have just met, and it’s quite a demanding schedule. But this helps you see how you act as a leader in different states of mind. We were also constantly receiving and giving feedback in the roles of both a project manager and a team member, and it was interesting to see how others perceive me. My perception of my leadership style was actually different from my teammate’s – luckily I prefer theirs!
Overall, I learned a lot about myself – how I motivate people, what works, what doesn’t, what I could do better. I was surprised, for example, that people perceive me as a highly energetic person. We had to push some wagons at one point, and I shouted, “Guys! Only 5 minutes left!” which immediately motivated them to move a bit faster. I also received a list of specific development points to focus on in the future and hope that will directly help my team going forward.”
Room to grow at NNE
Now, with the LEAD training under his belt, how does Dennis see his future at NNE? “Generally, I hope to deliver more successful projects to customers and steadily increase the size of projects I work with. I perceive myself as ambitious and want to progress along the career path. I’d like to have an impact on both core business objectives and on a strategic level for the direction of the company. It's great that NNE is big enough for this kind of progression and has a large portfolio of projects to work with. I can see a clear route and there is something to aim for.”
Dennis is also involved in many other initiatives, including a sustainability group where people from different departments come together to discuss new and interesting solutions for customers. With all that – he has a busy schedule – something he is comfortable with. “I love that I can take as much responsibility for my own tasks as I want (some would argue that I take on too much). We have a flex-time system, and at this stage in my life, I enjoy working more than contracted, as I can see how the extra work brings about more results. However, I like how we also respect each other’s time – it’s okay if you have other priorities.
I also like NNE’s purpose – my work eventually transforms into improved healthcare. And by integrating sustainability into our solutions, I like feeling as though we are improving the world in some sense – both societally and environmentally.”