Tina Grejsen, Danish, 34 years, in a relationship with David and together they have their 2-year-old daughter, Emma, came to Barcelona 8 years ago after living in Aarhus, Sydney, Brussels and Ribe. She works as the Head of Networks & Communities at SAP Digital Hub in Barcelona, an innovative software company in which she focuses con people as part of the «Humanizing Business Team”
Why did you choose Barcelona?
It’s actually a love story! I met David when I lived here shortly from 2006-2007, and when we got back together, I was living in Brussels. I then had a professional opportunity to come to Barcelona and did not hesitate; David was my main motive (love can move mountains) and I wanted to make sure to be able to combine this with my career, and of course Barcelona!
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
I fell in love with Barcelona already as an 18-year-old living there first time away from my parents even with all the challenges I encountered. I love Its multiculturalism, its openness to new and foreign cultures, its focus on businesses – especially the start-up environment (our offices are located in @22 and you feel the vibe!), its geographical location and the cultural offerings. In many ways it’s easy to be a foreigner in Barcelona and it’s easy to be who you are! I really enjoy how people in Barcelona generally are very open to new people, different people, all kinds of people.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
I have always been very conscious about the environment, trying to be as sustainable as I can. I think there is a lot of great initiatives in Barcelona for green areas & investments in sustainable choices and, at the same time, I think there can be even more, from a society perspective, from a business perspective and from an individual perspective.
Also, on the work-life balance side, I believe that culturally a lot of companies have come a long way especially during covid to realize that a healthy, happy employee is so much better than a burned-out employee working from 9-18:00+ in the office. Coming from Denmark, I think there is a big difference to Barcelona when it comes to the culture within businesses. Businesses in Denmark usually cater a lot for the family life – work life balance – and like I said, I think companies in Barcelona have come a long way to support this. If Barcelona wants to be even more a place where talent develops, settles down and raise families and businesses, it needs to cater for this.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
Going back to the work-life balance and company culture; this is the time to take this to the next level! Covid has accelerated this and left an excellent opportunity for businesses to become even more attractive on these points.
The same goes for sustainability – it’s a really good time to reconsider the city set-up for its people, its talent, and its businesses to make sure that the easiest and most economical choice is the sustainable option.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
To be(come) a place where people is in the center of a sustainable city. Where talent and business thrive. Tourism will of course still play a large part in the city but not be what controls or determines the set-up of the city; this should be its people, its talent. This is how talent gets attracted and how talent stays which will make the city of Barcelona develop. And this is also how families and businesses will stay. Its people need to be the center of the city. If the inhabitants of Barcelona are happy, talented people, business will come, grow, and stay – tourists will come and come back and so on.
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
That’s a really difficult question! It feels like having a foot in each camp sometimes. Home is where you are and what you make it to, and I think I could feel at home in many places. Concretely for me I feel like having two home cities: Ribe in Denmark where I grew up (more a town than a city though!) & were the majority of my family is, and also Barcelona where I have my own little family and my daughter is growing up.
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