Strategy Director in Comwell, Henrik Hjorth, turns 60

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Go with the flow! It will lead you places you wouldn't have found on your own

On April 10, Comwell's Chief Strategy Officer, Henrik Hjorth, turns 60. He has spent more than half of his life at Comwell, which gives us an opportunity to take a trip down momory lane. In Henrik's opinion, the many years in the same company are a reflection of the great development opportunities that always have existed at Comwell.

- I've never had a career plan, but I have dared to take on challenges when they arose, says Henrik Hjorth.

Henrik's business career started in Bella Center after completing a Higher Commercial Examination. In 1988, Henrik helped open Comwell Borupgaard as Conference Manager, and since then the tasks and opportunities have been many and varied. And when you ask Peter Schelde, CEO of Comwell Hotels, what values characterize Henrik, the answer is clear:

- I can answer that very briefly. Henrik is a hard-working colleague. He is the man of the company. And he is the very definition of a decent human being. A leader who shows the way. It's as simple as that," says Peter Schelde.

What a journey

After his time as conference manager at Comwell Borupgaard, Henrik became hotel manager at the same hotel. He held this position for eight years, after which he became sales director for the entire chain, which at the time consisted of just three hotels. After a number of years in the sales director's chair, Henrik accepted the role of sales and marketing director. And today, at the age of 60, he holds the title of Strategy Director.

And what a journey it has been. Both for Henrik himself, but also for Comwell. Over the many years that he has stepped through the doors of the hotels and the head office, the number of hotels has also evolved:

- To have been part of the great journey Comwell has been on over the years feels like the biggest achievement for me. There were three hotels when I started, and today you'll find Comwell hotels all over the country. It's been really exciting, and I simply can't remember a single day where I've been sad to come to work. That in itself is quite an achievement," says Henrik Hjorth.

From the US to CEO position at 28 years old

If you ask Henrik himself, his success in relation to his career is also about being in the right place at the right time and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself. - Combined with a bit of effort and skill, he adds with a twinkle in his eye. Henrik has been ready to take the next step up the career ladder at the right times in his life - and it has come naturally to him to thrive in leadership roles. To strengthen his professional toolbox, Henrik also completed an MBA from 2008 - 2010.

A flair for leadership has also been evident in the way he approaches his work. And perhaps even before he knew it himself. The now 60-year-old strategy director experienced this for the first time when, he received a call about his first CEO position when he was just 28 years old:

- I had traveled a few years away from Denmark and Comwell, where I had a shot at a Sales Manager position in the furniture industry in California. My boss at the time called me and asked if I was ready for the position of Hotel Manager! I didn't see that coming. I was only 28 years old and was now going back to the Comwell hotel to be the director of the hotel. It was a big turning point for me," he points out.

"Must and should set a good example"

You have to be a decent and positive person in all aspects of life, Henrik points out. And decency is a big part of Comwell's core values.

- It's part of my DNA to be decent with the people I meet and to be positive towards the challenges I face in life - even when it's difficult. It's not necessarily a skill you're born with, but it can be learned. That's why I think I've been well-liked and respected both as a colleague and manager. I have never put others down in order to get ahead.

For Henrik, it's fundamentally about always setting a good example.

If the CEO doesn't pick up trash off the floor, others won't either. Both figuratively and literally, he states

Opportunities are one thing, seizing them is another

Over the course of his career, various opportunities have presented themselves, which in itself is not self-evident. But this is what Henrik highlights as one of Comwell's greatest strengths.

The opportunities. And the constant potential to grow, reach new career heights and take on new responsibilities and positions without changing companies. But it requires you to be awake and ready when opportunities arise.

- I've been good at catching the opportunities as I've developed myself and the company as well. They say that only dead fish float with the current, but I don't see it that way. Sometimes the current takes you places you hadn't thought of, which then opens new doors," Henrik says and concludes:

- I'm a clear example of how a career in the hospitality industry allows you to develop in many ways over many years.

In his private life, Henrik is married to Hanne. The couple lives in Birkerød, and together they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Henrik loves to travel and enjoys biking on his mountain bike in the forests of North Zealand.

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