»Learning how to overcome adversity is a possibility for growth«

Kirstine Sofie Keller on being a leader
Kirstine Sofie Keller joined Netcompany in 2013. Since then, she has been on a development journey. Both professionally and personally. She’s moved from Copenhagen to Odense, started a family, and transitioned from IT consultant to IT leader. Here, she reflects on her learnings and how the challenges she has encountered have made her grow.

When Kirstine started at Netcompany in 2013, she originally planned to stay for a few years. But then she was assigned to a project for Telmore, a Danish telecommunications company, where the entire company’s IT platform was about to be replaced. »At the project, I worked with some incredible people whom I still have a bond with today. A lot was happening, and we became ‘comrades in arms’«, Kirstine says.

On February 1, 2024, Kirstine celebrated that she had been at Netcompany for 11 years – A journey filled with growth and changes. Today, she’s been promoted to Principal, is engaged, lives in Odense, commutes weekly, and has a five-year-old daughter and three bonus children.

»I’ve high expectations of myself, and since becoming a parent, I had to prioritise ruthlessly. It has been something I’ve had to learn«

Finding the balance between career and family life

Becoming a parent brought a lot of joy, but it also brought many changes, and when Kirstine returned from her maternity leave in September 2019, she had to adapt to her new everyday life. Including figuring out what was expected of her on the job – as well as the expectations she had of herself.

»It’s always been important for me to advocate that it’s possible to focus on your career while having a family. That was one of the reasons I returned from my maternity leave early. But it’s not always been easy juggling being a mother, a leader, and a commuter. Especially when you are a part of a family where both parents prioritise their careers«.

That’s why Kirstine is committed to finding a good balance that makes everyday life run smoothly with work, children and a partner who often travels with his job.

»One example of how we’re managing to make it work is that we have hired a babysitter. It’s possible to find a good balance, but you have to accept that you cannot do it all. Because whenever you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. I also think that it’s important to remember that your priorities might change depending on where you’re at in your life – and that’s okay«.

»I want to meet customers where their every day begins«

The opportunity to try new things and a continued focus on learning are some things that Kirstine highlights as especially important to her – and why she has stayed at Netcompany for many years.

Kirstine’s motivation and eagerness to develop her competencies led to more responsibilities. And it didn’t take long before she got assigned to more managerial tasks.

In Kirstine’s role as a leader, the human aspect of the job is particularly important to her. This is evident in how she builds relationships – with customers and colleagues.

»I want to meet customers where their every day begins and build a relationship based on trust and fairness – thereby building a solid foundation to withstand conflicts and challenges. This requires a big commitment to achieve and often takes time«.

Throughout her career at Netcompany, Kirstine has been on several large-scale projects with various tasks and stakeholders. Most recently, she worked as a project manager on Digital Post. A project that has drawn a lot of public attention. »It’s been incredibly exciting to be part of such an important, societal-critical project, where we’re developing and operating a system that serves businesses, authorities, and all citizens in Denmark«.

However, being able to handle complex challenges is far from unfamiliar to Kirstine.

»My workplace became my anchor«

»Back in November 2017, I faced many major changes in my life. I was packing up my apartment, living out of moving boxes, and soon to be a commuter and bonus mother to three children. I could feel the stress symptoms piling up. I had just taken over the responsibility of a team with a soon-approaching deadline leading up to Christmas. Still, work was what got me through that period. Here, I knew what to do and what was expected of me – and I had people who supported me. My workplace became my anchor«.

After a successful move and with all the boxes unpacked, things slowly slowed down. But overcoming adversity is an experience Kirstine has taken into her professional life. Particularly in her role as a leader.

»I want to build a high level of trust in my projects, where people feel comfortable speaking openly about challenges or hardships. Whether the adversity they’re experiencing is in their professional or personal life«

»I have faced adversity myself. Both at work and outside of work. Learning how to overcome adversity and daring to face challenges without fully knowing what the outcome will be is a possibility for growth. I’ve often had to say to myself, ‘This might turn out great,’ when I start thinking about worst-case scenarios. As a leader, it’s a big priority for me to create an environment where people dare to face challenges and feel supported in overcoming obstacles constructively. Especially when they feel like they’re struggling«.