Aarhus supporting international leadership



Photograph: iStock

Text: International Community Aarhus


Aarhus and Eastern Jutland is home to many internationally-minded companies and organisations that all contribute to the internationalisation of the area. International Community will take you by the hand and show you the diverse scene on which internationalisation is built. This month we give the floor to one of our own networks –

The International Leadership Forum.


Erhverv Aarhus and International Community interviewed executives in 2018 and identified the ability to attract and retain foreign international executives as one of their significant challenges. International executives are in high demand in Danish companies and boards.


The International Leadership Forum was founded to address precisely that issue; how to create an environment in Business Region Aarhus that helped put the region on the map not only for Internationals but international leaders and executives. The charter for The International Leadership Forum is to support the needs of international executives in the Aarhus region and the unique challenges that come along with their roles. The International Leadership Forum provides a network for those senior international leaders and executives to share experience, inspiration and learn from each other in the challenges and opportunities leading in Denmark. The forum welcomes both executives coming to Denmark for the first time as well as returning Danish executives after a period abroad. Events are held exclusively in English and often at noteworthy cultural venues and inspiring companies in and around Aarhus.


"Being a member of The International Leadership Forum has benefited me both on a professional and social level. It has helped me feel more connected to not only Aarhus but a group of likeminded people to discuss cross-cultural modern leadership issues." - Tanya Hené, Vice President Operations, Arla Foods Ingredients

Aarhus Municipality was supportive from the start. Erhverv Aarhus and International Community formed a steering committee that is focused on the growth of the group and the needs of the members. Formed in 2019 the group has over 45 members and meets every quarter. The International leadership Forum provides a network for senior leaders and executives to help them feel more integrated into the area. It is often difficult for internationals to settle and establish connections – this forum provides that connection.


Internationalisation is a key initiative for the Aarhus Municipality and the broader Business Region Aarhus. This network also provides hiring companies with an advantage by offering an independent network that helps newly-arrived international leaders and executives a forum to connect and grow.


"The International Leadership forum is unique in Denmark. We have identified a gap in the internationalisation of the area and are seeking to fill it. Our members are more engaged and feel more strongly connected to Aarhus. In time we hope to offer input and advice on international policy that affects the International Community here in Aarhus." - Ken Cordes, International Leadership Committee Chair and Managing Director, Emerson

Company profile

Erhverv Aarhus (Business Network Aarhus) founded The International Leadership Forum (ILF) in 2018 with the support of the City of Aarhus to nourish the potential, experience and opportunities that international leaders bring to the Aarhus area. The forum aims to make Danish business, political and cultural life more accessible and understandable for internationally-minded leaders.


The steering committee is made up of Arnold Boon (Aarhus University), Tanya Hene (Arla), Brian Woodward (BOA Consult) and Ken Cordes (Emerson / Erhverv Aarhus).


Membership is by invitation only. ILF holds open events regularly that give interested executives and developing leaders chance to meet current members and experience an ILF event firsthand.