Q: How did your upbringing prepare you for leadership as an adult?
A: I was given freedom and trust in my childhood. My parents were more concerned about developing character at an early age and being robust than striving for excellent grades. I was allowed to determine my own interests and was given responsibility at the age of 12 when I earned my first income picking strawberries and working for a local radio station. I was not introduced to the world of intellectuals, nor did I have expectations of how to define success. I have a working class background from the 1970s, where freedom and responsibility were key.
Q: It’s clear that you have a strong sense of style. What importance does self-presentation hold as you prepare for work each day?
A: Well, for almost 15 years I dressed in a classic, dark corporate outfit with glasses and a ponytail. I was never very interested in defining my own style; I went with practical and standard. I had been trained not to create attention to anything but content (it was strange enough being an outspoken woman in a male-dominated environment). After I turned 40, I decided it was time to explore a more personal style by using colors and letting my hair down (which is blond and long, and that in itself can be a hindrance to being taken seriously in a very conservative business environment). Now, I don’t care too much. I know my track record, and I understand that you will never get everyone to like you. I like to dress classically, comfortably and feminine. I have started to try out new fashion and design—especially from Norwegian designers.
Q: What destination in Norway would you recommend to visitors?
A: I would recommend all of Norway—from north to south and east to west! We can offer everything from sandy beaches in picturesque surroundings to year-round activities and sports in the mountains and fjords. We’re known for spectacular nature, but our biggest cities can also offer high quality entertainment, design, food and shopping. Small villages throughout our country boast unique, historical attractions and specialties. It all depends on what you, as a tourist, want to see, as we still have a variety of undiscovered destinations and experiences to offer.
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Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.