It is time for a new interview series with our advisory board members! As Annett serve as the President for the whole organisation, we had a chat to hear about her thoughts on the past year and future.
Why and how did you get involved with the NBCC? How long have you been involved?
I got involved with NBCC approximately four and a half years ago upon the recommendation of my friend Agnes Bamford, who was a member of the NBCC council board at the time. For me, it was an opportunity to become more engaged with the Norwegian community in the UK, as I have been living in London for 23 years and felt the desire to connect with my roots. A few months after becoming a member, I was asked if I would like to take on the role of President, which I accepted and have held for the past four years.
In addition to my personal reasons for joining NBCC, the experience I have accumulated over the years in business has been useful in my role. As someone with significant business experience in London, I have been able to bring valuable insights to the table.
Which events and happenings from the past year do you want to highlight?
In 2022, we slowly transitioned back into our pre-Covid lives, marking a welcome move for our networking organization as we could resume hosting events for our members. Notably, we celebrated our 115th anniversary in March 2022 with a well-attended event. It was wonderful to see our members again, network with each other, and indulge in the amazing cuisine prepared by Michelin Starred chef, Daniel Galmiche, sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council.
I would also like to highlight our event in November featuring Nicolai Tangen, CEO of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, who answered questions from the audience, including two of our NBCC interns. The event was hosted by Equinor and attended by about 150 people. This event held a special significance for me as in my previous career in banking, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund was my biggest client while I worked in equity sales at Citigroup.
Besides our events, I am very happy with the increase in our membership base and our cooperation with other Norwegian Organisations such as the teamwork in Team Norway.
What are you looking forward to for the next year?
NBCC is currently experiencing a significant surge in momentum. In the past three years, we have more than doubled our membership base, reflecting the success of our efforts in other areas. More members are attending our events, which is enhancing the quality of the network and community we strive to provide at NBCC. We are particularly excited about two upcoming events, namely “Collaboration in Action: A Pre-Event Warmup to Nor-Shipping 2023” and the “NBCC Summer Reception,” both of which are nearly fully booked.
Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce the re-establishment of NBCC YP, a group specifically designed for young professionals. This group has become increasingly active and plays a vital role in the NBCC network.
What is needed for the NBCC as a member organisation to evolve to the next level?
As a non-profit membership organization, we are entirely self-funded and do not receive any government funding or subsidies. Many people are surprised to learn this fact.
Our primary source of funding is membership fees. In order to continue providing high-quality services to our members, we require additional financial support. The most effective way to achieve this is by increasing the number of partner and premium partner members – “hint-hint” 😉. Last year, we increased our membership base, enabling us to offer events and services on a larger scale, making it a great example of our progress.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between Norway and the UK going forward? What could need improvement?
Norway and the UK have a unique historical and economic relationship that spans over a century. The NBCC has played an essential role in strengthening this bond by promoting trade, investment, cultural exchange, and collaboration between the two countries. Looking ahead, I am confident that this excellent relationship between the UK and Norway will continue to thrive on all levels.
However, there is always room for improvement, and one concern we often hear from our members relates to the consequences of Brexit. Companies in the UK who want to bring people to the country are facing challenges, including excessive paperwork and high expenses. Simplifying these processes could enhance the relationship between the two nations.
Do you have any advice for people who work with the Norwegian – British Companies?
Although Norwegian and British cultures have similarities, it’s important to recognize and not underestimate their differences. What constitutes a successful company in Norway may not necessarily translate to success in the UK, and it’s crucial to exercise patience in finding the right path for business growth and evolution.
In this regard, NBCC can provide valuable assistance, as one of our core objectives is to serve as a “bridge over the the North Sea.” By engaging with our chamber, members can connect with others who have faced similar challenges and gained invaluable experience. We are always delighted to facilitate such connections and foster a supportive community for our members.
And finally, some quick funny questions!
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring three items, what would they be?
Music, water and chocolate
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
ChatGPT AI and how it can be used to my benefit!
Which song can you not get out of your mind these days?
“Hero” by Alan Walker
What plans do you have for the summer?
Going to Norway to spend time with family and friends, and I am particularly excited that both of my two adult sons are coming which I do not take for granted!