Lone Kolind-Hansen is a former CEO of three different companies – AC Nielsen, Mindshare and Clear Channel – in Peru. Currently retired, Hansen started as a trainee at Coca-Cola. She has led over 30 years of corporate experience, mostly in tech. As she goes on to reflect on the Peruvian business culture, Hansen proves that anything is possible, despite economic status. Her key approach was to take on any work that came along with high motivation. Hansen went with what opportunities came along and it is her great determination that makes her one of the few Peruvian business women at the top within companies. And even her journey did not cease at retirement; she goes on to now aid new startups with their own journey to success.
How did it feel to hold the CEO position several times in Peruvian Business? And what did you come to enjoy about your leadership experiences?
It was fun! I was excited about the everyday endless possibilities of growth, the hiring process, the design of the company, and the client networking that I was able to grow.
But not everything was roses and butterflies. There was a huge deal of responsibility and certain people to deal with. For every individual employee, of course, there was a family connected to them outside of work, and the more successful a company, the better the company employees would be cared for, along with their families. You always have to make sure your decisions are made right.
Today there are many more jobs available for women and many more women occupying higher-level positions.
In your career in Peruvian business, what is it like as a woman?
I have worked with many women but from what I have seen, I have been one of the very few among them who have sat at board meetings to meet the clients or held top positions. The advertising industry has more women than in the tech industry, but the growth of women in the workplace is, indeed, growing every day. I never felt any discrimination towards me as a person just because I am a woman.
How has the business environment changed over time in Peru in regard to women’s role in it?
Today there are many more jobs available for women and many more women occupying higher-level positions. There is no doubt that women can study and work. However, there is still a gap between salaries with many women earning less money (or really, depending on the company) than men, who occupy the same position as them.
How have you learned to manage the balance between your work and personal life?
Finding a balance between both is always difficult. However, I made a point of not accepting invitations to many events so that I could spend more nights and evenings with my family, and always be home for dinner with my family. Finding a balance was key. I had to opt-out and stop attending many meetings and events to be able to be at dinner almost every night with my kids and husband. It was not always easy, but I made it work as much as I could. I would take my laptop everywhere so when everyone was napping, I would work on some company presentations. It’s all about commitment and desire and with those two, anything is possible.
Can you describe a typical day in the office for you?
I always get coffee first! I would drink maybe eight cups of coffee a day. After, I would pragmatically check my emails, organize what had to be done during the week, and get things ready for the meetings, while making presentations for clients, and more coffee all day long!
Looking back, do you feel satisfied with all you have achieved and why?
Yes. I was able to help many people and companies along the way to achieve their full potential, and I am proud of it. I am also happy to have worked with talented people and seeing them grow as a person and in their career of choice. Today, many of the talents I had under my arm are now occupying important positions in the market. I would do it all again if I could.
Is this all for now or do you have any plans in store for the future?
Not at all! I still have energy and many ideas of my own for the near future. Currently, I am helping a healthy food startup and I am thrilled about the challenge and direction that this new company is headed in.
What would you say to young women in Peru who are just thinking about of starting their own business?
I would tell them to never let them say you will not make it! Also, do it online as much as possible. Just look around you and you will find many opportunities.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Never be afraid to stop working for others and work for yourself.
This story on a look into Peruvian Business is credited to Anneke Strobach, a volunteer writer of Female Founder Space, who is based from her home in Peru. If you are interested in more inspiring female founders, please check out our Online Magazine.