It was actually her interest in water that brought Mathilde Lindhardt Damsgaard into wind power development. Now she is leading Vattenfall’s latest offshore project off the Danish west coast.
We highlight International women’s day 8 March all week by presenting female professionals working in some of Vattenfall’s markets and business areas.
Mathilde Lindhardt Damsgaard is a Program Director for the construction of Vattenfall’s most recent offshore wind farms in Denmark, Vesterhav North and South.
“I’ve been in the offshore wind business since 2006, and I started with Vattenfall three years ago. As the Program Director I am in charge of Vesterhav North and South, two wind farms that we are now constructing in the North Sea off the Danish west coast. In an offshore project organisation there are so many functions and layers, technical, commercial and more, and my main task is to give the people in the team the best conditions to succeed in their jobs, to get management support when needed and to remove any obstacles that turn up. This means that I spend most of my days talking to a lot of people, and frankly doing quite a lot of presentations.
There are some one hundred people in the project team – including the package managers who work with the specific parts of the construction project and who have the detailed knowledge around the different components, technologies and processes - and everything I don’t know anything about. With all subcontractors we are about 1200 people involved.
I really like working and interacting with all the passionate and highly competent people. There is also a lot of flexibility where I have room to both influence, impact and learn something almost every day, and I really like that opportunity. The curiosity of what the next day brings is what gets me out of bed in the morning! I still get surprises every day and this is what I like.
I am a civil engineer, and my niche is construction in water. I studied hydro dynamics, waves and that sort of things. My first job was for a land-based construction company, but I soon found that I missed the complexity that water brings into the equation. At the time, in the early 2000s, the offshore wind industry was very young, and I thought: that sounds fairly complicated! So I went for it. I really liked the entrepreneurial spirit, and to be part of an entirely new field. Over the years the business has developed, and challenges have changed. Today it’s more about optimising the projects and to get financial feasibility without subsidies.
I have never before worked in a company where the importance of diversity and inclusion in the organisation was so explicitly vocalised. I feel that Vattenfall is a very welcoming organisation that tries to make room for people. Our wind organisation is very diverse in many ways I would say, even if there are still meetings where I am the only woman.
Is there a need for the International Women’s Day? I would say yes. In our corner of the world in Scandinavia we are doing all right in many ways, in other parts of the world it’s different. But above all I think it’s important to be able to discuss these issues, not only gender, but age, ethnicity etc., without getting into a polarised situation. If we can’t discuss and listen to each other, we will not be able learn anything.”
Mathilde Lindhardt Damsgaard
Program Director for Vesterhav North and South
I have two small kids, so I spend most spare time with my family. But I also love outdoor life and eating and making good (and healthy) food