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Maria, Head of Communication and Project Manager at Food Nation
"I believe that I am able to see things from many different perspectives and have a very holistic approach towards the food system in general because of my education."
What do you do?
I am the Head of Communication and Project Manager at Food Nation, a public-private partnership established by the Danish government and leading private organisations and companies. We are working as a branding consortium for the Danish agriculture and food sector, meaning that we create awareness internationally of Denmark as a frontrunner within innovative, sustainable and effective food production all linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We also work as a gateway for international stakeholders seeking information about Danish agriculture and food solutions.
In my day-to-day job, I have the overall responsibility for Food Nations global communication that we share through our webpage, social media channels, YouTube, podcasts etc. Furthermore, I work with planning and executing events with representatives from the Danish and international food scene. We also have a Visitor Centre in both Copenhagen and Aarhus where we receive delegations (public authorities, organisation, companies) who are eager to learn more about Denmark as a food nation or establish new partnerships.
How did you end up in your current job?
During my bachelor’s degree, I had two main internships. I had a clear vision of where I would like to do internships, as I had a big interest within organics and animal welfare. I got the first internships at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, where I worked with a project about the possibilities and challenges with the organic cuisine label in larger kitchens. The second internship I had at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council in the organic department, where I helped plan and execute on the event “Sofari”, where people can come visit an organic pig farm in Denmark.
The choice of the internships was very conscious, and I had a plan for what I would gain from being an intern at the different places.
After the second internship I was employed as a student at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council to continue the work and when I started my master’s degree, I got a new student position at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration in the department where I were during my first internship. The choice of the internships was very conscious, and I had a plan for what I would gain from being an intern at the different places. I thought a lot about the future possibilities and therefore chose some large organisations, where there are many different focus areas and thus work opportunities.
After my graduation and my two years as a student, I was offered a position at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration as a project manager continuing the work with the organic cuisine label among others. With time, I also worked with the Danish animal welfare label and ended up working with communication and large B2C and B2B campaigns across all the departments in the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. After working two years full-time at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, I got a job at Food Nation as a project manager. I took the job, as I wanted to broaden my knowledge more towards export, sales and marketing and to have a more international outreach.
Which academic skills do you use most in your work life?
100% project management and the ability to think creatively and innovative. From my studies, I have a very broad knowledge about the global agriculture and food systems and the challenges we are facing concerning climate change etc. I believe that I am able to see things from many different perspectives and have a very holistic approach towards the food system in general because of my education.
A good advice: What do you want to tell a prospective student?
I must say that a relevant student job is central. I very strongly believe that I would not be where I am today if I had not taken those choices of beings strategic with my internships and student jobs.
Figure out what you find interesting and then look for ways to works with this in practice.
Therefore, my best advice is to figure out what you find interesting and then look for ways to works with this in practice. It does not have to be in a student position but it could also be through an internship or volunteer work. The most important thing is to get out there and get some good contacts.