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Q&A: Niels Lund

PME interviews Novo Nordisk's Vice President, Health Advocacy

Niels Lund

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The pleasure of working with ambitious, innovative, hard-working, intelligent colleagues.

What’s the best thing about working in health advocacy?

The opportunity to integrate the big global agendas (urbanisation, sustainability, health and well-being) into business – and using business to drive change on the same agendas.

What’s the worst thing about working in health advocacy?

Everything always takes longer than you think (or hope) it will.

Which buzzwords/office jargon/ concepts get on your nerves?


Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?

Anything by John le Carré. His language is so dense, so rich and so sarcastic – a great pleasure every time. Having had a career in international development, I recognise some of his characters. I also enjoy Jonathan Franzen for his depiction of dysfunctional family life and personal relations in the 2000s.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

My own kitchen. When eating out, I love places where they make something I would/could not have done myself. Examples are Amass and Jordnær (restaurants in Copenhagen).

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?

Kofi Annan. I had the opportunity to meet him when I was a young professional in UNICEF India. He had just been appointed Secretary General, and he spoke at an all-staff meeting in New Delhi. His short message was: “What you do is very important – go back to work.” That resonated with me: focus on the task at hand.

Who is your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

Bernard Tyson from Kaiser Permanente (pictured below). Better than anyone he articulates how social determinants impact health and well-being.


What has been your career highlight to date?

Seeing Cities Changing Diabetes go from a company-led initiative to becoming a global movement where municipalities, civil society organisations, public health officials, healthcare professionals, faith groups, patient organisations and others taking ownership of driving change.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in health advocacy?

Focus on ‘it’ not ‘us’. Don’t worry about company logos, flags and balloons – they don’t matter. Focus instead on the health challenge at hand, eg bending the curve on diabetes, because that will bring partners around a common goal. And everyone will recognise your contribution to this anyway.

Niels Lund is vice president of Health Advocacy at Novo Nordisk

18th April 2019

From: Marketing



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