At which time do you wake up in the morning?
My alarm clock rings every morning at 6.15, but like the rest of my family, I am a hardcore B-person so it may take up to half an hour for me to get out of bed.
What is the first thing you do?
I try to wake up my kids, and then I go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunch boxes. My wife leaves early for work, so most days I am in charge of the morning routines and getting our kids ready for school and kindergarten.
Which news sites do you read (if any) in the morning?
I receive a media overview from Roche every morning and typically also look through MedWatch, Altinget, Finans, LinkedIn and Twitter on my way to work.
At which time do you go into the office (or start working remotely)?
I take the train at 8.19 am after dropping off my kids. From Copenhagen Central Station I ride my bike down Istedgade to reach Roche’s office site in Carlsbergbyen around 9.00 am. Before moving out of the city, I lived in Vesterbro, and I have a special bond to Istedgade, which to me is the most charming street in Copenhagen. Getting a small piece of the special Vesterbro morning vibe, while riding my bike with music in my ears is a great start to my mornings.
How many times a day do you check emails?
I turned off notifications years ago, but I still check my mails frequently throughout most of the day from morning to evening. I like to have a reasonably tidy inbox, so if time allows it, I try to reply or archive emails, as I receive them. I also put in slots in my calendar to make sure I have time to process my inbox during the week.
When is your first meeting?
9 or 9.30
How do you plan your meetings across the week?
In general, I try to spread meetings out during the week to avoid back-to-back meeting days and ensure time for planning, administration and execution. I have a few fixed meeting slots most weeks, where I check in with my CEO, my public affairs colleagues or the enterprise enablement team I am a part of. My colleagues also book me for both internal and external meetings during the week, when my calendar allows it.
What is the split between internal and external meetings?
On an average, I would say a 50/50 split. I strive to be more externally focused, but being part of a very large global organization, I do acknowledge and respect the importance and value of good internal coordination and alignment.
How do you follow news development between meetings?
I do not have much time to follow news between meetings, but I receive emails with news alerts and sometimes look through LinkedIn or Twitter during the day.
How do you organize your calendar?
It might sound stupid, but I have learned that I need to put in an effort, if I want to stay in control of my own calendar. So I book time slots to make sure I have dedicated time for processing tasks and emails. I am usually good at planning ahead, which is essential to avoid back-to-back meeting days. As I often pick up my kids in the afternoon, I normally do not schedule meetings late in the afternoon. I work in the evening when it is needed instead. I highly value the flexibility I have, which is essential for me to get all ends to meet.
How do you take notes?
I am really not very good at taking notes. My handwriting can be difficult to read even for me, so I normally either use notes on my phone, Google docs or send myself emails. I built up a rather comprehensive inbox structure that works as an effective filing system.
What is your relationship to Excel?
I have a reasonable relationship to excel. I am no expert, but I can manage the basics.
What is your favorite app & why?
Spotify. I listen to music as often as possible during the day. Makes me concentrate and relax. I use Jungle for staying updated on the Copenhagen food scene. Great insights from local chefs on where to go out.
How many external lunches do you have a week?
I usually have a couple of external lunches and informal coffee meetings a month. When I go out, I prefer to visit one of the many excellent open sandwich restaurants in Copenhagen. Alternatively, I have lunch at Roche’s office, where we have a great view of Carlsbergbyen, or at the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Denmark (Lif).
Which time do you go to bed?
Between 11-12 pm. I enjoy my late evenings, where I normally have a couple of hours to relax and do nothing before I go to bed.
Where do you keep up to date on Public Affairs?
There are many really talented and experienced public affairs people in the life science industry and in the different industry organizations. We tend to meet often, as we either go to the same meetings or collaborate closely on many different agendas. There is an increasing amount of cross-industry public affairs collaboration, which to me is a very inspirational way of staying on top of the public affairs scene and at the same time strengthen my professional network. I also try to learn from other sectors and industries and follow a lot of interesting PA professionals on LinkedIn.
What is your best tip for managing work/life balance?
It is an individual thing and depends on where you are in your career and life. I have not had many difficulties balancing my time, nevertheless, over the years, I guess I have learned to accept that I do not need to catch every single opportunity I get, and that focus and priority are fundamental to consider both at home and at work. Being able to share and pass on leadership, responsibility and opportunities to colleagues is probably also something that has helped me keep a good balance.
What do you do to unwind?
I am a middle-aged middle manager, so I play padel tennis once a week with other middle-aged middle managers. Besides that, I try to go to the gym during the week, and occasionally I go fishing or ride my mountain bike in the forest with good friends. On a more daily basis, I unwind in the kitchen when I cook for my family, and when I spend time with my kids.
How does your desk look?
We have free seating at the office, so all the desks are cleared every day. I used to have my own office and a rather tidy desk primarily covered with post-its, so as many of my colleagues, I was not too fond of the idea of free seating. However, the transformation into a more liberal office structure has actually gone quite smooth.
Do you answer emails on your phone?
Yes, all the time.
Name a PA pro in the industry you respect and why
My first mentor and manager, Ingrid Reumert, SVP Global Stakeholder Relations at Ørsted. Very high integrity, outstanding social skills and an impressive career. I have learned a lot from her leadership and highly professional ways of working with strategy, communication and stakeholder management.
When you go on vacation, do you still answer emails?
I try not to spend time answering emails when I am on vacation, but it happens.
Which book did you read recently or are you currently reading?
I am currently reading the last book in Morten Pape’s ‘Amager trilogy’, “I ruiner”. I would like to read a lot more than I actually do.
Which skills will PA pros need the most in 5-10 year?
Social and people skills will always be very important for PA professionals. Besides that, you will need skills that enable you to gain a solid and holistic corporate knowledge and the strategic capabilities to understand how to politically connect and shape both short and long-term business challenges and opportunities. I also believe that the ability to build up and take on leadership in cross-industry collaborations and partnerships will be important for success within PA in the future. I am sure skills that can enable the use of more data in PA will be vital, and lastly, I hope that the ability to think creatively (new ways of working) will also be a highly valued PA skill in 5-10 years.
Do you prefer LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok, and why/why not?
LinkedIn – for interesting people, content and focus.
How big is your PA department (PA employees)?
We are currently three senior PA professionals working with public and governmental affairs for Roche in Denmark.
Where is the PA departments placed in your organization?
It is an independent enablement function, and I refer to the CEO.
Where should the PA function ideally be based in an organization & why?
It depends on the organizational setup but in my experience, it should be closely connected to the CEO or the executive leadership team. This will ensure that PA is a central and integrated part of strategy development and critical business decisions, and ultimately lead to an organizational platform for effective and impactful public affairs. Public affairs and communication are the most vital interconnecting enablement functions between, on the one hand, the society, external stakeholders and the ecosystem, in which the business operates, and on the other hand the business and the local and global internal stakeholders.
About Mikael Gotfredsen
Mikael Gotfredsen is the Head of Public Affairs for Roche in Denmark. He has a strong background in politics having previously worked as director, head of office and chief political advisor for Liberal Alliance for more than ten years. Working for the world’s largest biotech company, Mikael also draws from his previous experience within healthcare as head of section at the Norwegian Cancer Society, and as senior public affairs advisor at the Nordic healthcare agency, Effector. He holds an Int. Master of Science in European Studies from Aalborg University, and a Bachelor in International Business Communication from Copenhagen Business School and London Metropolitan University.