Photo: Stine Heilman
ABOUT KATJA IVERSEN
Under EXPERTISE you can read about Katja Iversen’s work, competencies, track record and accomplishments. Here are some more personal insights into who Katja is, where she comes from, as well as what she thinks and stands for.
Katja Iversen grew up as the oldest daughter of two primary school teachers in a small village in rural Denmark. Her parents’ work to get their community a swimming pool, sports facilities, and a foreign friendship town taught her valuable lessons about resilience, collaboration for a common good, and how a “no” can be the start of a negotiation – learnings she carries with her to this day.
Over the years, Katja Iversen has worked in many different sectors, having been a factory worker, a lifeguard, nanny, waitress, cleaning lady, consultant, travel writer, press advisor, campaign coordinator, as well as trainer of Fortune 500 executives and an accomplished leader in both the civil society and the United Nations. She has worked with children and adults; activists and advocates; corporates CEOs and entrepreneurs; parliamentarians, ministers, and heads of state – and everybody in between.
Katja Iversen speaks a handful of languages, and she connects easily with people from all walks of life, whether in the halls of power, on Main Street, or in the villages in remote areas. With an educational background in business and management; politics and international relations; negotiations, communications and campaigning, she is good at connecting dots and people – and use it to make change happen.
From childhood it was instilled in Katja Iversen that the world is big and beautiful and that a stranger is a friend, you have not yet met. Her grandparents spoke Esperanto and in their home came people from all over the world. Katja Iversen has herself worked, lived or travelled in almost 100 countries, and she sees her opportunity to experiencing new cultures, as well as learning and interacting with all kinds of people as a true joy and privilege.
What Characterizes Katja Iversen
Katja Iversen has been called “the networking queen par excellence”, and even published a book on networking. It is her efforts to build, nurture, and use networks and to create win-wins that has brought her from the rural village to some of the world’s most prominent stages as a moderator and a speaker, and in connection with some of the most powerful people. In Katja’s optics networking is not only about professional connections, but also about human ones, and one of Katja’s strengths are that titles don’t impress, nor scare her. She sees and talks to the person, not the title, and has over the years built a network that spans the globe, as well as multiple sectors and issues.
Purpose and power dynamics have for many years been two interest areas for Katja Iversen. She today does keynote speeches on these and works with companies and leaders on defining and driving their purpose.
Research shows, that purpose driven companies grow faster, are more profitable, and have higher workforce and customer satisfaction. At the same time, individuals with a strong sense of purpose tend to live longer, have healthier hearts, be more resilient, efficient, better at delegating – and even have less symptoms of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s be more efficient and delegate better. Having purpose and working for something greater than oneself is a power booster for companies and individuals alike, and should not be ignored, as Katja Iversen often points out.
When Katja Iversen is not working, you can find her listening to music in one of New York’s many jazz joints, tending to the olive grove in Italy, enjoying a morning swim, or cooking up a storm with friends and family somewhere on the globe.
Katja Iversen has three main role models
Pippi Longstocking, who challenges conventions and is strong, brave, inventive, generous, and loyal to her friends. Katja’s favourite Pippi quotes are: ‘If you are very strong, you must also be very kind’, and ‘I’ve never done that before, so I’m sure I can do it!’.
Nelson Mandela, who fought against apartheid, and who despite 27 years in prison did not turn bitter but continued to pay tribute to democracy, civil rights, and reconciliation. Katja knows many of his statements by heart, including: ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead’.
Her maternal grandmother, Valborg Jonasen, who’s work for women’s rights and reproductive health inspired Katja, and instilled in her a strong gender lens and sense of justice, which has followed her throughout her life. Her grandmother saved Katja Iversen’s life when Katja was born a month too early, and Katja was by her grandmothers side, when she died many years later. You can read about Katja Iversen’s grandmother here.
– Katja Iversen