Name: Janne Villadsen
Current occupation: Program & Development Director at Heartland festival
What did you dream about as a child?
As a child, I just wanted to be a veterinarian. But then, as a teenager, I discovered that as a journalist, you could ask all the questions you wanted – and with my curiosity, I thought it sounded like a dream.
So, when I graduated from high school and had to choose my field of study, I was sure I wanted to be either a foreign correspondent or a culture editor – at Politiken, of course. So, I applied to both political science and art history. Coincidentally, it was political science that I got into for my bachelor's degree. But after completing my master's in journalism, I ended up as neither – nor at Politiken either – but rather at DR. First at Deadline and the Christiansborg editorial office, and later as editor of a cultural programme on DR2.
However, I soon found that I found producing culture much more fun than communicating it. So, I went to the "other side" and have been working on major cultural initiatives for over a decade now. That said, I haven't completely given up on the idea of one day becoming a culture editor somewhere.
What key experience impacted you to move in the direction you are moving today?
Right around the time I turned 30, my then-boyfriend and I broke up after being together for most of my 20s. I think that event has primarily shaped the path I've taken career-wise.
I had just landed my first management job in a significant organisation and being on my own gave me the space to feel how rewarding and fun I thought work could be and, more importantly, what I found most fun to work with. It created the foundation for how I have developed throughout my career.
A foundation I continue to stand on. So today, when I have a small family, my work is still as important a part of my life and personality as it was then – and that was undoubtedly cemented in my time alone in my early 30s.
What choice you’ve made in your life are you most proud of, and why?
My choice of partner, my choice of friends and my choice to work with culture that I believe can make a difference to the society we are all part of. And having written that, my partner and friends have chosen me too, making me even prouder.
What choice has been the easiest, and why?
To say yes to helping people I care about if they have asked for help.
What has been the hardest choice you’ve taken, and why?
To opt out of jobs, directions, or people because they made me sad. I have a solid built-in belief that anything can succeed if you fight hard enough for it. That's why I've sometimes fought too long, for the wrong thing, at my own and sometimes others' expense.
"I thrive best on thin ice – where I stand a little precariously. Then I make more of an effort and go the extra mile that I expect it will take to achieve a goal."
How do you find inspiration and confidence to step out of your comfort zone?
I thrive best on thin ice – where I stand a little precariously. Then I make more of an effort and go the extra mile that I expect it will take to achieve a goal. I am inspired by the people I interact with and enjoy being with people who have different knowledge, energy, attributes, or attitudes to me – it is in these encounters I find the spirit to develop myself.
What personal characteristics do people most often use to describe you
Outgoing, big-voiced, and energetic.
How do you feel these unique characteristics have impacted your way in life?
For better or worse, they have been the traits that have helped me get to where I am and paved the way for the opportunities I have had/have.
But I certainly didn't always take it as a positive when I was younger – when I was told I talked a lot or was too energetic. But as I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate my idiosyncrasies and rein them in. Indeed, being wait-and-see and having less arm movement brings many good things too.
“But most importantly, which is advice I've been given myself; try not to be anyone but yourself. That will get you the furthest”
What is your best advice to others who would like to feel more comfortable about making personal choices?
Don't be afraid to do what you feel is right. You're more likely to regret not doing something than doing something. But most importantly, which is advice I've been given myself; try not to be anyone but yourself. That will get you the furthest.
Follow Janne on Instagram @jannevilladsen and @heartlandfestivaldk.