Jumping into spring with International Leadership Forum



Aarhus and Eastern Jutland is home to many internationally-minded companies and organisations that all contribute to the internationalisation of this area. This month International Community gives the floor to its very own Tiny Maerschalk, living and working in Aarhus for Erhverv Aarhus.


Photograph: Unsplash

Text: International Community


Spring is in the air. Crocuses, snowdrops and erantis are emerging from the ground. The first rays of sunshine are peeking through the winter haze, and there is this unique type of freshness in the air, giving you an extra spring in your step. Spring is often associated with cleaning. Clearing, tidying up, getting rid of the old and worn when the cold days are over. You can do a thorough spring cleaning of your house, getting rid of the general dust and dirt. However, spring cleaning does not necessarily mean giving a place a thorough cleaning.


International Community has done a spring clean by revisiting its initiative International Leadership Forum. ILF was founded in 2018 with the support of the City of Aarhus to nourish the potential, experience, and opportunities that international leaders and talent bring to the Aarhus area. The International Leadership Forum helps internationally-minded, C-level executives lead and succeed in Danish companies.


The ILF members highly appreciated the behind-the-scenes visits to companies and cultural institutions, but it was time to turn it up a notch and give the forum’s networking activities that extra oomph.


Therefore the ILF has entered a partnership with Aarhus University’s School of Business and Social Sciences (BSS) to explore Danish leadership styles and how they function in international settings. The partnership marks a new chapter in developing the International Leadership Forum and will manifest in a series of ILF events hosted at Aarhus University.


“Our mission in ILF is to help executives who work in international environments become better leaders.” - ILF foreman Brian Woodward

“Our mission in ILF is to help executives who work in international environments become better leaders. These can be both expats who are recruited to Denmark but also Danes who work with international teams and organisations,” says ILF foreman Brian Woodward. “This partnership will mean that we can offer ILF members even deeper and more focused perspectives. I like to think of it as a ‘mini-MBA’ in Danish leadership.”


The International Leadership Forum is now open to both expat leaders and Danish citizens interested in international leadership and business issues. We want to strengthen the knowledge sharing across cultures and nationalities by inviting Danish leaders in.


“Through the pandemic, we haven’t really been able to meet, and so we chose to focus on finding ways to take deeper dive into international leadership issues and sharpen ILFs focus,” Woodward says. “Luckily, we have one of the best universities and business schools in Europe right in our back yard, and so it seemed like a natural fit. We want to take advantage of that to ensure that we can support and get the most out of the international talent that comes to Aarhus but also to discuss how we can turn the relative effectiveness of the Danish style of leadership into an asset that can benefit Danish companies across the globe.”


Did you know?

  • International Leadership Forum is a professional network open to both expat leaders and Danish citizens interested in international leadership and business issues.

  • Membership is by invitation only, and fees are up to 4,000 DKK annually, including 5-6 events.

  • To learn more about ILF, contact the head of the ILF secretariat, Jesper Theil, at jt@erhvervaarhus.dk

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