INTERVIEW WITH OUR COO ANN HOFVANDER
So far, your personal and professional life has brought you to different countries and even to different continents. Where did you find yourself most at home? And how often do you come back to Sweden, your country of origin?
Right now, I feel most at home in Prague – it is my home! My paradise is my house in Sweden, which I hide away in whenever I need a break. I try to go to Sweden 3 or 4 times a year.
Before Creative Dock, you worked for Vodafone as a vice president of sales & customer care. That brings a lot of responsibilities. How did you manage leading 1 200 people?
I had a great team, working with men – the secret to success is to always hire people who are smarter than you are, and things generally turn out okay.
What made you leave this position and join the startup business?
I left Vodafone to join Telenor in India. Telenor had just secured a telco licence there, and it was an opportunity for me to be part of building something from scratch in one of the biggest markets.
The workload of people here in CD sometimes changes quite dynamically. What is your main focus right now? How many projects have you participated in so far?
My main focus: keeping things running. So many projects, so many new things to investigate, so many new people. And how the hell do I make sure those people feel welcome. Help????!!!
What part of your work do you enjoy the most? Is it coming up with ideas, their execution, celebrating success? Or finding creative ways to deal with unexpected complications? 🙂
Hmm... So, I like every day. I enjoy making fun of Martin when he shows up for an overnight business trip with a suitcase that he has to check in (who does that?). And, as a side note, he was so late that we were paged in the airport to show up at our gate or we would be kicked off the flight). I enjoy helping people... and that is my main job, I think. I don’t make things happen – everyone who works here does and that’s my job, too. I enjoy the variety. I get up every day thinking that someone is going to make me smile with a ridiculous story. If you want one, ask me about the drones.
CD differentiates itself quite strongly from corporations. What does that mean for you specifically? Where do you feel the difference the most?
What’s your most precious work experience? Meaning, something you couldn’t have learnt at school and couldn’t have been prepared for at any training, but was still a crucial moment in your career?
India. It was the best experience in my life and also the worst. I had a range – from being in the most beautiful country, I met incredible people who are still my friends today, I was part of the Hash House Harriers (my code name was Call Girl – look it up), and saw more of the real world than I maybe wanted to. I was also threatened with being thrown in jail because I refused to pay bribes. All an experience.
Do you have any particular workrelated habits? Some people cannot function without coffee, CocaCola or other supporting substances. Do you have anything like that? Or any necessary work ritual that you repeat every day? 🙂
I cannot function without my paper notebook. I actually take notes manually. I make a list of what I have to do, and I record everything I do every day. My notebook is also very good for boredom relief... if you look at it, you will see I have extensive doodles and designs. I think visually, so I draw everything.
Do you remember what your first job was after you graduated from school?
I worked my way through school, so I have no vivid memory.
We have already met your furry buddy, Calvin. Do you have any other favorites from the animal world?
I have my fur baby, Calvin, but I also have two more. Wincent and Wizzard the horses. Wincent is a beautiful Swedish Warmblood that I brought with me, and he is pretty much Maxi Kone Wincent. Wizard is a Czech warmblood that I have taken on for training. I used to compete in show jumping, but one fall too many killed that. So, now I train in dressage and hope next year to be competing...
Wish me luck.