Kirstine Sofie Keller, Manager, Denmark
I suppose I’ve always seen opportunities as opposed to limitations
Kirstine has a special gift for seeing what is exciting about most things, in everything from Celtic patterns to computer science. She also just became a mother, is in a relationship with Jimmy and stepmother of three. She recently moved to Odense, commutes to Copenhagen every day and works as a Manager on the taxation system project at Netcompany. In 2019, she was chosen as one of the 100 most talented young professionals by the Danish newspaper, Berlingske and her ambitions remain high – amongst other things, she wishes to develop the next generation of talented IT consultants in Netcompany.When Kirstine joined Netcompany in 2013, she thought she would stay for no more than two years. But then she joined Netcompany’s Telmore project, where the company’s entire IT platform was to be replaced. “On that project, I met some super fun and lovely people that I still meet up with to this day. We became comrades because we really had to give it our all,” Kirstine says. Today she’s been at Netcompany for nearly seven years and has no plans of leaving any time soon.
A lot has happened since Kristine first joined Netcompany. Kirstine lived at Frederiksberg, played volley and worked at Netcompany’s office in Copenhagen when about five years ago, she met Jimmy at a beach volley tournament. Today she lives in Odense, commutes to Copenhagen on a daily basis and has three stepchildren in addition to her one-year-old daughter Klara. However, one thing that has not changed for Kirstine is her ambitions.
When Kirstine returned from maternity leave, she had to sense what was expected of her and perhaps even more in relation to what expectations she had of herself. “I have probably always been quite ambitious when it comes to my job, well maybe when it comes to all other things as well,” says Kirstine, who alongside her career has played volley at quite a high level and sung in some of the best choirs in Denmark. “When I returned from maternity leave, I could feel that those high career ambitions – I still got them!”
From sharp deadlines to seeing the bigger picture
This is also why she is currently trying to find the right balance between work life and life as a mum and commuter. Creating a good work/life balance is difficult with work, children, a boyfriend who often travels for work and a weekly volley session.
Before Kirstine went on maternity leave, she was Team Lead on the taxation system project for about 1.5 years. She took over the responsibility for a team of 35-40 people with a sharp deadline up to Christmas that seemed nearly impossible to meet. “That was the task I was given. With all the support I needed. And we succeeded!” Next step was the responsibility for an entire area of the project and four teams.
”Suddenly I had become really good at what I do”
And that is exactly what has kept Kirstine motivated at Netcompany: the possibility of constantly developing and trying new things. “On the Telmore project I really got to know the solution to the core. I was the go-to-person on everything and that gave me a massive boost of confidence. Suddenly I had become really good at what I do,” Kirstine says and laughs. This was also why she had to have a go at a new project.
Kirstine has always been a fan of the big and multi-faceted projects and enjoys dealing with different tasks and being in contact with many different people and being involved in the technical as well as the strategic aspect of a project. That is also the direction Kirstine’s career is moving in at the moment. She is back on the taxation system project and in 2020, she will be responsible for a number of teams in a coaching role. Aside from that, she will be more involved in the strategic collaboration with the client. “And then I will also have time to do even more interviews with aspiring talents, which is really exciting!”
You must see opportunities, not limitations
Whether it is with potential candidates for a position at Netcompany or existing colleagues, good conversations about skills and work life has always been important to Kirstine.
”It is a huge privilege to get to know people, to have this conversations about what skills they have, what they wish to strengthen, what gives their lives meaning right now and how they manage to balance work and spare time…” This is also why she is a mentor for less experienced colleagues at Netcompany. A role she feels she learns just as much from as her mentee hopefully does. “It is not always that you find the answer in the most obvious place, but as long as you get wiser as to where to look, you have come a step closer.”
Kirstine also points out that at Netcompany, it expected that you are serious about your own development. “Some have already learned to do so at university, others must learn to understand that what you don’t know how to do is not necessarily a limitation, it’s rather an opportunity for development.”
When you write java you cannot also write c#
Opportunities are exactly what Kirstine has seen a lot of. In everything from Celtic patterns and jewelry to geology, theology and Indo-European languages. And then she has taken classes in classical singing for 17 years. This is why one may wonder why she chose to study mathematics and later on computer science. “Well mathematics is slightly the same. There are some fundamental rules like in language and music. Computer languages are semantics too. When you write java, you cannot also write c#. They each have their own semantics, but also similarities; you must understand the fundamental structure in order to master each of them.”
Kirstine points out that she has probably always been good at seeing what is exciting about many things. At Netcompany she has been around most technical aspects: setup, framework, deployment, databases… Today it is the strategy that calls to her to a higher extent. “That feeling of being so deeply acquainted with something, you know what to do to solve this and that… I do miss that sometimes. But as Manager I am met with issues everyday where I can draw on the foundation I have built, which means I can say: Ah, that doesn’t sound right – and then find a solution!”