Before joining Visma, Lage Bøhren wore many career hats – from financial journalist to equity analyst to consultant. And, it’s that unique combination of experience that has made him the ideal person to lead our communications teams.
In 2022, he joined Visma as our Head of Communication and, earlier this year, moved up to become our Director of Communications. Let’s get to know more about his journey, his new role, and his best career advice.
Hi, Lage! Can you share a little bit about your background? What led you to pursue a career in communications?
“Like most careers: a long series of coincidences! I actually started on a degree in psychology, before quickly realising that it wasn’t the right fit for me. So, I jumped on a study in economic journalism, and it was love at first sight. Writing, being creative, interacting with people, learning new and interesting stuff all the time, it was just perfect for me. I’ve worked close to ten years as a journalist at leading business publications in Norway, but also grabbed other opportunities along the way. At one point, I was an equity analyst at an investment bank, valuing stock-listed companies and giving customers advice on which shares to buy and sell. I’ve also worked as a consultant for both private and public companies on issues related to PR, communications and investor relations. It’s probably this diverse background from media, communications advisory and finance that made me attractive to Visma when they needed a new addition to the Group’s communications team.”
What has your journey looked like since joining Visma?
“Absolutely fantastic. Naturally, I knew the history of Visma and its amazing success over the years. However, you can never truly know a company before you actually work there, and it’s been a true privilege to get to ‘look under the hood’ in this first year on the job.”
“Delving into Visma’s strategy, tech and products and, most importantly, its people, let me just say that it’s no coincidence that we are in the competitive position we occupy today.”
Can you explain what the role of Director of Communications entails?
“As Director of Communications, I’m responsible for managing and directing Visma’s communications, including creating and executing on the Group’s overall communication strategy. I also serve as media contact and spokesperson on Group issues. In addition, I have a coordinating role for Visma resources covering the role of National PR Managers in their domestic market. Currently we have National PR Managers in place for Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the Benelux region. Like all the other Visma people I’ve met so far, they are really good at what they do.”
What does a typical work day look like for you?
“It can be quite diverse. An important part of this job is to stay updated on what’s going on inside Visma, so I have regular meetings with other members of Group management on areas like new acquisitions, product development, marketing, financial development, and security. Other days can be spent preparing our next quarterly report together with the finance and accounting team, answering questions from journalists on various issues related to Visma, or preparing the official announcement and PR plan for a new acquisition. Since Visma has entered several new countries in recent years, like Spain, France, and Germany, I also spend quite a bit of time on efforts to increase the visibility and knowledge about the Group in these markets.”
Communication is an extensive, dynamic field. Are there any specific areas you find most fascinating? If so, why?
“The news cycle has become so extremely short and intense. Most top stories and headlines that you read during a day are forgotten the next, and there is just so much noise. To leave a lasting impression and make the right things “stick” in people’s minds is a real challenge.”
Throughout your career, you must have interacted with a lot of stakeholders – from customers and employees to media and the public. How do you approach building and maintaining those relationships?
“Not much differently than other people, I guess. We follow each other on Linkedin, we have Whatsapp groups, we meet at conferences, and we bump into each other at our kid’s soccer games. Regular contact builds mutual trust, so I’m very conscious about maintaining a good relationship with stakeholders I consider to be important for Visma.”
Crisis management is always a hot topic. What’s the best lesson you’ve learned about how to manage a crisis and maintain composure in high-pressure situations?
“A crisis can involve a lot of things, but I think a good approach to any situation is to be open and transparent in your communication, and to keep your main stakeholders well informed. Companies that fail to follow this quite simple philosophy risk serious harm to their reputation.”
Do you have any advice for aspiring or current communication professionals who want to be leaders in their field?
“Based on my own experience, I would highly recommend trying out different jobs and disciplines during your career, and not only because variation is rewarding in itself.”
“To be an effective communicator, you need to understand your audience. Having sat at different ends of the table on many occasions, I have a decent understanding of the dynamics in both the media and the financial community.”
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