"Journalism was not what I wanted to do in the long run"

Career path: Heidi Finskas, KLP's vice president corporate responsibility, started out by studying journalism at university, but an interest in sustainability issues drew her towards CSR.
KLP's Heidi Finskas | Photo: KLP/PR
KLP's Heidi Finskas | Photo: KLP/PR

Which career path did you envision for yourself when you were younger?

As a teenager I wanted to become a journalist and that's also what I studied my first year of university.

What drew you to journalism?

It was mainly my interest in people, society and news in general that drew me to the profession. I always read the newspaper growing up and I thought ­ that's what I want to do. And I actually worked as a journalist during my years at university, as my interest in society and business increased.

When did you decide to make the move from journalism to CSR?

I started out by studying journalism, but within my first year at university I realised that it was not what I wanted to do in the long run. It was a wonderful experience and I got the chance to learn about so many different things, but on the other hand I didn’t get the chance to lead and I realised that I wanted to dig deeper. I also wanted to work with international issues, so those were a few of the reasons why I wanted to change direction. So I started studying political science and business, and took my masters degree in political science.

When did you decide on the career path that you're on today?

It was during my masters degree that I decided I wanted to work with businesses and more specifically with sustainability issues. That was during a time when there wasn't that many positions in that field, not to mention classes or studies on that topic at university. But still, the discussion was ongoing and I decided to go in that direction. So I was happy when I saw that there was a position available where I could work with all the things that interested me. And I was even happier when I got the job!

Have you been able to use some of the things you learnt while studying journalism in your job today?

I think it’s very useful to have an understanding of how journalists work, because communication is also a big part of my job today.

Which part of your education has been most useful in your career?

I'm not working directly with what I was studying, and that's not unique for me — it goes for a lot of us, but on the other hand, it has all been useful to build up an understanding of different processes. What has been most useful is probably the more theoretical level, for example to have learnt the analytical approaches and applying theories and models to real life issues.

Which part of your CV represents the most drastic change in your career path?

I still consider myself fairly young and I haven't made that many changes in my career path yet, so any major changes are probably still ahead of me. I have no idea what those will be, but there are so many interesting sectors and initiatives that will be interesting to work with, so we'll have to see.

Which leader in the industry has inspired you the most career-wise?

There is not one specific person in the industry, but I'm always inspired by the people I'm working with. I try to learn from their individual strengths and I feel privileged to be able to work with so many good and talented people.

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