Interview: Karoline Smådal, PR Consultant at This Is PR in Oslo and Former Country Manager For Nouw
At the age of only 22, Karoline Smådal has already been able to call herself the “Country Manager” at Northern Europe’s biggest blog platform, Nouw, and has, as of recently, started her dream job as a PR consultant at This Is PR in Oslo. Karoline is the kind of woman who is never satisfied until she reaches her goals and she’s always on the lookout for new challenges – big or small.
‘I believe it’s important to always think that you can grow and be a become a better version of yourself – and it’s also important to be humble’, she says.
Work is her life; You see, Karoline always knew she was going to pursue a career in fashion and that she would have to work really hard to be successful – which is exactly what she’s doing every single day. Read on to get to know more about this young determined girl boss.
What is Your Professional and Educational background?
I studied Fashion Management in New York for one term before I moved to Oslo, where I spent one year studying “Creativity, Innovation and Business Development”. Now, I’ve completed two out of three years of a Bachelor degree in Public Relations.
I worked as a sales assistant at high end fashion department store, Høyer, in Oslo before I became the Country Manager for Nouw. After more than a year of juggling a full time job and full time studies I decided to focus on work, and have taken a year off from my Bachelor degree. Now, I work as a PR consultant at This Is PR – making strategies and building relations and brands.
First of all, how did you start your day today?
I did my make up as usual, found some clothes in my wardrobe (I never plan what to wear beforehand), bought my usual breakfast and coffee on my way to work (a really expensive habit) and when I arrived work I checked my emails while drinking coffee.
Where and doing what do you feel most inspired?
I get really inspired by the people I work with. Just the way they are, but also the positive energy we have at the office. I get the most inspired when I travel. Like that time when I was in Milan and just sat at a coffee shop and looked at people on the street.
How did you get to where you are today?
Ah, it’s a lot of hard work. I believe that the most important thing is to be a “yes person”. It may not always be healthy, because you get completely exhausted at times, but at the end of the day that is what got me here. When you reach your goals and get to where you want to be, you don’t even remember all the days you sat up until two in the morning and woke up again at six. I believe hard work is the answer. But you also have to enjoy life in between!
What I live by, is that I am always doing what I’m supposed to do – and then some more. And I do it with a smile on my face; I always make sure to have a positive attitude and I believe that is one of the things that has brought me to where I am today.
What are your biggest professional insecurities and how do you overcome them?
I’m at my best when working under pressure, which means that I often relax a bit too much before things are urgent. I could definitely be better at managing my time, and that may mean that I should sometimes say no because my schedule doesn’t always add up.
What is the best and worst thing about your job/career?
I’ve only just recently started my position at This Is PR, and because I got my dream job I think I may still be living on a cloud. The best thing about my job is that I get to meet amazing people and I also feel really lucky to get to meet new people every day. And the worst thing … God, I don’t know yet.
How do you pick yourself up and keep going when you feel discouraged?
You know what? Very often I just think about why I’m at where I am today and everything that I’ve achieved this far. I’m only 22 years old and I’m here already – I am so incredibly lucky. One of my best qualities is that I’m good at blocking out things like that, especially when I am at work.
Tell us about something you’re really proud of in your career and/or your greatest achievement:
I am proud of the fact that I’ve combined a full time job and my studies for my Bachelor degree. It’s been a lot, but it has totally been worth it. I’m proud of the time I spent working as the Country Manager for Nouw, especially when the platform was entirely new to Norway, and that I was an important part of establishing the company here. Because my colleagues worked in the main office in Gothenburg and other Scandinavian cities, I had to motivate myself every day at the office in Oslo. I think managing that was what made people notice me and what led me to my dream job that I have today.
Name any woman (past or present) whom you admire and look up to and please tell us why:
This is a tough question to answer because there are so many and I get inspired by a lot of people. But, I do get very inspired by my mom’s care and my dad’s determination. I also get really inspired by “power women” like Anine Bing, who just works hard and kicks ass. And one of my friends, Marlen Digranes Davidsen; She’s kind of my mentor and the one I talk to about work related things. She has started her own agency at the age of 25, which is pretty sick. And I get inspired by my bosses at This Is PR for building and shaping the company into what it is today.
What do Scandinavian women need more of? Less of?
I’m a bit torn, because there is a philosophy in this line of business that goes: “it is important to have sharp elbows”. I believe that you need to be kind and empathetic to get anywhere in this world, but at the same time we need to have a bit of both because you can’t let people walk all over you. I think we should lift each other up more and stop talking negatively about each other.
Name three qualities you admire in other women:
Toughness, the confidence to flaunt their success and brag about their achievements (in moderation) and determination.
If you have one, what is your personal or professional motto?
Be kind. That’s it really. Oh, and that you can always become a better version of yourself.
When, where and doing what do you feel the furthest away from your comfort zone?
I’ve never thought about this before, but I’m out of my comfort zone all the time. In the past year I have been so lucky to get to meet a lot of important people, and that makes me feel nervous and out of my comfort zone. But at the same time – that’s when we evolve the most.
Tell us one thing that people would be surprised to know about you:
I’m a pretty transparent person. What you see and hear is what you get. So I don’t think there are any outstanding surprises – I’m pretty much straight forward.
And finally, do you have any advice, big or small, to all the ambitious women out there wanting to head for their dream career?
I think you just have to say yes to things and do things even though you’re tired or have been working a lot. It is so easy to say no, but you just have to embrace the challenges that come your way. And not just embrace the ones that come to you, but also actively seek them out. That’s my best advice.
[Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section]