At which time do you wake up in the morning?
I’m an early bird, so I usually get up before six o’clock. I have a bit of a commute to the office, about 1,5 hours, but work from home a couple of days a week. I still get up early though, and head out for a power walk. It is my “thinking time” which is important to me.
What is the first thing you do?
I check the news flashes on my phone. This is an old occupational habit; I have started my day by checking the overnight news ever since I was a journalist in the pre mobile phone era.
Which news sites do you read (if any) in the morning?
The BBC, CNN, Zelenskiy on Telegram and several Finnish and Swedish news outlets. Part of my work is about geopolitical foresighting, so for me this is both work and a lifestyle.
At which time do you go into the office (or start working remotely)?
I usually get in at around 8.30, if my commute goes as planned. In any case I want to be on location well in time for my first meeting. I need my coffee and a minute to focus before heading into meetings.
How many times a day do you check emails?
All the time. Some people would probably argue that it’s not a good idea, but again, the old news editor in me wants to be on top of the latest information.
When is your first meeting?
On a normal day around 9.30, but since I work with markets across the globe this varies depending on time zones.
How do you plan your meetings across the week?
Currently meetings are spread out over the week with slightly more bookings at the start of the week. I try to keep Friday afternoons meeting free but if I’m successful in that really depends on the situation across our markets.
How do you follow news development between meetings?
News flashes are always turned on, in order to also be able to serve our clients with fast and relevant information and analysis.
How do you organize your calendar?
I prioritize based on the needs of clients and colleagues and adapt my calendar to that.
How do you take notes?
On paper always. I wish I could say that I’m super organized but I’m not… When working from home I usually end up with too many separate pieces of paper with notes on. However, I never toss them until the task is completed.
What is your relationship to Excel?
Not a very loving one. Generally speaking, I prefer words to numbers.
Where do you keep up to date on Public Affairs?
I’m currently fortunate enough, and have been so for the past few years, to work in a big international organization with an impressive, accumulated P.A. knowledge. This gives me valuable insights from across the globe daily. One of the biggest take aways for me is probably that there is no single definition of what public affairs is or how it should be practiced.
What is your best tip for managing work/life balance?
Earlier in my career I had a mentor, Marco Beemsterboer, who told me he had never worked on a Sunday in his entire career. He followed up that question with one asking me if I thought he was successful in his profession as a CEO. He is obviously both successful and managing his time well, so I try to follow his advice.
What do you do to unwind?
I take power walks, rain or shine. Movement and fresh air are good for both my body and mind. I also find that friends that work in other industries are a wonderful way of stepping out of the P.A. world.
How does your desk look?
In the office it’s very minimalistic, since I do not have a set workplace. At home it’s more messy although I try to clean it up at the end of the week.
Do you answer emails on your phone?
Both, when you commute by train it’s a good way of using the time.
Name a PA pro in the industry you respect and why
I’ll mention two; Peter Steere in Stockholm was one of the first public affairs pros that I worked with for a longer time. He has an exceptional analytical capacity as well as being a great person to be around and work with. We used to have wonderful discussions on geopolitics. The other one is Matt Maguire, P.A. lead for Ikea in the U.K. Matt has wit, a sharp intellect and an amazing sense of humor which made working with him so much fun. Needless to say, both are absolute top public affairs practitioners.
When you go on vacation, do you still answer emails?
Yes and no, i.e., only the urgent ones. I have chosen a career where one is expected to be reachable around the clock for urgent matters, and that is fine with me.
Who is your idol?
I do not really have idols, but I tend to admire fact driven people. One of them is the author of the book “Factfulness” Professor Hans Rosling.
Which book did you read recently or are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading “Det fallna imperiet – Ryssland och vast under Vladimir Putin” (“The fallen empire – Russia and the west under Vladimir Putin”) by the Swedish researcher and deputy director of the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies Martin Kragh.
Do you read anything before you go to bed?
I have given up trying, when I get into bed I tend to fall into deep sleep within seconds. I do most of my spare time reading on Sunday afternoons.
Which time do you go to bed?
Around 10 p.m. I need my 8 hours and prefer to get up early.
Do you use LinkedIn and/or Twitter for work?
Yes and no. I probably should be active on my twitter account, but if you want to be part of the ongoing discussion you must prioritize it time wise. LinkedIn is a format that works better for me, as a way of sharing my thoughts on current affairs and leadership. Many companies use LinkedIn as a commercial billboard which I’m not in favor of. Especially when half the company puts out the exact same posting written by the social media team. Even on social media quantity does not always bring quality.
How big is your PA department (PA employees)t?
I’m part of the global public affairs team at H+K Strategies which is a very small team. In addition to this we have approximately 200+ individuals in our global network of PA consultants.
Where is the PA departments placed in your organization?
As an integrated strategic communications agency, we take a 360-degree approach to tackling client challenges. The focus is on impact rather than specialisms, so client teams often bring together experts from PA, PR and other areas of expertise. This is essential to delivering the breadth and depth of client service that we aim for.
The idea of the blog is to invite a new Public Affairs pro each week to answer a battery of questions about their daily tasks, habits, routines etc. and thereby provide readers with a more realistic view of what Public Affairs is really about: honest and hard work! So with this blog we want to learn from all the good or bad habits from our peers in the industry. Small things, as well as bigger things.
The guest bloggers are chosen because they are the best in the industry and they each day contribute to make our discipline better.
If you are interested in contributing to this section, feel free to reach out.
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