How has your career developed at Chr. Hansen?
PhD as a stepping stone
After graduating my Master’s in Dairy Science and Technology at KU FOOD in 2008, I was given the opportunity to write a PhD project in collaboration with Chr. Hansen. I spent the following three years on researching how to use Chr. Hansen’s lactic acid bacteria and coagulants to mitigate the negative impact on flavor and texture development from decreasing the amount of salt added to cheddar cheese.
This research gave me the opportunity to play around with our core ingredients in new and exciting contexts. It provided a solid scientific and technical foundation and was the stepping stone to my first role in Chr. Hansen, as Culture Development Scientist, compounding our single strain bacteria into new cultures, typically destined to work in a well-defined cheese or fresh dairy application. A close collaboration with our target customers was key to securing that we developed the innovative, high quality products they expect.
A commercial perspective
After a couple of years, I was keen to learn about the commercial perspective of the business. Through my next role as Global Marketing Manager with commercial responsibility for our cheddar and grana culture portfolios, I gained vast experience into several core business functions as well as into how they interlink the Chr. Hansen value chain and ultimately translate into value for customers. In this role as “business enabler”, I valued the opportunity to network both internally and externally.
Back to science
Another four years down the road, I felt an urge to return to the technical application of our core dairy ingredients. In my current role as Global Application Manager, my key area of responsibility is to test and validate new cultures for the cheddar cheese segment. I continue to enjoy the close collaboration with our customers and to be in a position to strengthen the science behind our solutions.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to open doors and explore new territory, and I have always appreciated the mobility within Chr. Hansen.
What attracted you to Chr. Hansen after you graduated?
At the time, former Chr. Hansen Chief Scientist, Karsten Bruun Qvist, was one of my professional role models, and he was my entry point to the company. I also had a positive image of Chr. Hansen with its strong historical track record of bioscience pioneering and firm anchoring in the dairy industry.
In the fleeting world of today, it adds another layer of meaning to work for a deeply rooted company where the pioneering spirit transcends history.
What made you stay at Chr. Hansen after your PhD?
The continued opportunity to learn, the fact that we do well in what we do and because Chr. Hansen is a responsible company. In addition, I consider the confidence in the ability and creativity of the individual to be of great importance. I also value the flexibility Chr. Hansen offers to meet personal needs during different phases of life.
What are you most proud of having achieved during your time at Chr. Hansen?
I am proud of a number of very different achievements over the years. Anything from successful product and method development in collaboration with technically challenging customers to well thought out strategic initiatives, scientific publications and patents. If I were to mention one common denominator in my Chr. Hansen career, it would be my contribution to our long-haul mission of converting customers from using bulk starters to Chr. Hansen cultures. Every time we succeed, it feels like having completed a marathon!
What part of your work brings you most joy?
Over the years I have developed many rewarding colleague and customer relationships, which all add a color dimension to the hard work I put in every day and motivate me to keep walking the extra mile.
Since you are a cheese expert, I have to ask: Do you have a favorite cheese?
Cheese as of today is of course very much a commodity type food product, yet it is still so much more than that! Cheese is just as much a cultural food that suits almost any meal occasion, so I would have a favorite breakfast, salad, sandwich, pasta, barbecue and red wine cheese.