Torben Nielsen is regional ambassador in the US. He has been headhunted, recommended, pushed and supported to get to where he is today. Read Torben Nielsen’s story about how he has used and is still using his network to add value to his career.
Having a network (still) makes sense and adds a lot of value, and there are numerous examples of why and how you should spend time and effort nurturing your network. One example is Torben Nielsen, who holds an MA in International Business Communication from Aarhus BSS and an MBA from Oregon State.
Torben Nielsen is senior vice president of the American pharmaceutical company HealthSparq. Four years ago, he was one of the co-founders of the company. Today, it has 200 employees and was named the third fastest growing private company in Oregon with a growth rate of over 1100 per cent.
Taking the challenge
Torben Nielsen has often been recommended for specific assignments and jobs by his colleagues, managers and people in his network. These recommendations have had a significant influence on his career. However, to be recommended you need to be skilled and capable of creating relations - and it also involves being responsible.
“Every time someone encourages me to do something and has recommended me to others, I think about whether I’m up for the job. I’m very aware that people are excepting something of me. But I think it’s important that it doesn’t scare you. Instead, you should accept the pat on the back and take the leap,” says Torben Nielsen.
Business or pleasure
For Torben Nielsen, being Danish has been an advantage. Americans find being from Denmark exotic. This creates a good starting point for a dialogue and a relation. But where do you draw the line between friendship and network?
“Sometimes people from one’s network gradually turn into more personal relations. With others you maintain a relation for more business-related reasons. And networking and having a mentor definitely involve you on a personal level. But I think it’s important to consider how to brand yourself and find out what values and competences you want to be known for in your network.
The value of having a mentor today
A good network and mentor schemes are not just important at the start of your career. Even today, and with his title as senior vice president, Torben Nielsen makes use of the people around him.
“I find it enriching to meet up with people after work and share experiences. And it’s very important to me to have a set of mentors who have been in the same situation as I am in. For example in connection with starting up HealthSparq. This process has been incredibly exciting -but also tough. That’s why it’s been really nice having someone to tell you that what you are going through right now is perfectly normal, and that it will pass,” concludes Torben Nielsen.