Mirella Hansen: Transforming Business through Emotional Intelligence

Mirella Hansen

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As the world becomes more interconnected and diverse, the business world is changing rapidly. Women are taking on more leadership roles, bringing a fresh perspective to management styles, and paving the way for a new era of business. One such exemplary woman leader is Mirella Hansen (Director of Group Finance at Coop Danmark). 

Mirella’s unique approach to leadership is based on emotional intelligence skills, which focus on employee engagement and commitment, creating inner motivation for change, and improving organizational emotional capability and energy. Her leadership style is centered on providing psychological safety, clarity, and direction, empowering all team members to perform to the best of their abilities.

Paving the Way for a New Era of Leadership

Mirella’s journey to leadership was not a walk in the park. To reach the pinnacle of her career, she had to navigate many hurdles and weather a few storms. The most significant challenge was securing her first leadership position and demonstrating that she was the right fit for the role. The environment was challenging, requiring quick decisions in uncertain times. Mirella, nevertheless, rose to the occasion and focused on motivating, supporting, and uplifting her team members in order to foster a culture of empowerment.

Reflecting on her experience, Mirella realized that emotional involvement and perspective are crucial factors in a leader’s success.Do I focus on the right leadership tasks? “She constantly asks herself. “Do I use the right emotional leadership style?” “What is my strategy for ensuring highly productive energy in my team?”

From Revolution to Finance

Mirella’s journey to success is one of grit, determination, and an unwavering passion for finance. She was fascinated by the idea of the free market and a free economy. Her childhood in Romania during the communist period did not allow her to pursue her passion. However, change came to Romania. In 1989, Mirella participated in the revolution against the communist regime, and plenty of new possibilities turned up. Fuelled by this newfound freedom, she was determined to pursue a career in finance, and nothing could stop her. After completing her degree in International Business at the prestigious Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, she had her sights set on working in international business.

However, fate had other plans for Mirella. She got married and moved to Denmark in 1994, where she had to find a new career path. Undeterred by the challenges, Mirella pursued a Master of Science in Business and Administration at Copenhagen Business School, all while working full-time in the audit industry. She became a Public Certified Accountant in 1997 and finished her master’s degree in 2003.

Driving Complex Transformations

 “The leadership challenge is the one aspect I could not live without, and I became aware that helping organizations and succeeding with complex transformation projects is my passion,” Mirella says.

Mirella is a woman who knows how to turn her passions into a thriving career. After working in the audit industry for several years, Mirella realized that her true calling was in leadership. She joined the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, where she served as the Head of Group Financial Reporting for four years. During her four-year tenure, she gained valuable experience and insights that have helped her become the successful leader she is today.

In 2018, Mirella took on her current role as the Director of Group Finance at Coop Denmark, where she continues to make a significant impact. Her commitment to helping organizations succeed with complex transformation projects has become her passion. She also credits her executive MBA from Henley Business School as a significant contributor to her development as a leader.

Coop Danmark A/S: Leading the Way in Sustainable Retail

Mirella is a proud member of a company that is making an impact on the sustainability agenda in Denmark. The Coop group has been a driving force in the Danish retail industry for over a century. Established in 1866, Coop is a consumer cooperative that prioritizes creating value for its members and making a positive impact in the public debate.

At the heart of Coop’s mission is a commitment to contributing to a better food culture in Denmark, with a focus on creating a better and healthier retail experience for consumers. It has a number of initiatives in place to teach the next generation about healthier food culture, as well as a cooking concept that can be taught in schools. The group also posts inspirational videos and recipes on social media to help people make healthier food choices.

Moreover, Coop is also leading the way when it comes to sustainability. The company was one of the first movers in the area of organic products in Denmark and had a significant impact on the development of a market for organic food and products, as well as on legislation against the use of chemicals in consumer products.

Coop has set itself ambitious sustainability goals, and in November 2021, its climate plan was approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the non-profit organization, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). This positive feedback on Coop’s sustainability plans is a testament to the company’s commitment to creating a better world for future generations.

Breaking the Mold

As the Director of Group Finance at Coop Danmark, Mirella is responsible for financial reporting, compliance, risk assessment, and mitigation. However, her leadership approach extends beyond her job responsibilities. She continuously pushes herself and her team to stay one step ahead, developing new methods and ways of working to meet the demands of a modern finance department. Her leadership style is centered on determining what motivates each individual and ensuring that they are given tasks that challenge and develop them.

Furthermore, Mirella’s commitment to helping her team grow has been a pillar of her leadership style, and she takes pride in seeing people advance in their careers. She believes that everyone has the ability to grow if they are passionate about their work and focus on their strengths. 

“As a leader, I continuously ask myself: What has the greatest impact on the company?” Mirella adds.

Keen Eye for Customer Satisfaction

Mirella agrees that customer satisfaction is at the core of the company’s success. Despite working at the back office, she believes in building personalized relationships with its customers by improving their overall experience. At Coop Danmark, her team focuses on providing services that add value and assist the company’s shops and head office. They continuously strive to see things from the customer’s perspective and work to improve the customer journey.

At Coop Danmark, they leave no stone unturned in their quest for customer satisfaction. Mirella and her team conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys for their back-office services and take feedback seriously.

Fostering Innovation and Empowering Women

The culture at Coop Danmark is one of innovation and collaboration, with every employee encouraged to make a difference regardless of position within the company. Mirella is a staunch advocate of women’s empowerment and has implemented several initiatives to encourage more women to take on leadership roles. One such initiative was a “women away” day, where women employees were invited to brainstorm ideas on how Coop can encourage more women to step forward and start the leadership journey. The event was a huge success and generated numerous suggestions, which were shared with the company’s management.  In addition, Mirella actively participates in the company’s mentoring program.

Beyond the Boardroom

Mirella recognizes that beyond the cabin, she has interests and hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment to her personal life. She values the Scandinavian approach to work-life balance and has always made it a priority in her life. During her daughter’s early years, she would leave work early to spend quality time with her and make up for it by working in the evenings.

One of her passions is traveling and exploring new destinations, often embarking on bicycle tours with her husband on a tandem bike. Mirella is also a food lover and a member of the international gourmet association, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which offers exciting gourmet experiences.

Rising Above the Doubts

To inspire and motivate women, Mirella quotes Nelson Mandela’s famous words, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” She encourages women to trust in themselves and their abilities, reminding them that self-doubt can hinder success.


Also read: The 10 Revolutionary Business Women Leaders, 2023.

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