I perceive myself as a craftsman who gathers the thread from scattered wool of reality and creates meaning and perspective for others. If you can do this in and for a company, then you are worth money.
Partner in Lumholt & Stahlschmidt Communikation, Copenhagen
Karen Lumholt has always told stories, originally as a teacher and folk school teacher with the courses history and religion. Then the cultural underground in Copenhagen attracted her with exciting theatre projects for the young people in her school. Next to the not always profitable project, she made her living as a columnist. This led her to the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, where she as a 34-year old became a qualified journalist with radio and Danish politics as her area of specialisation.
”I really liked being a journalist, but, I was always looking for some kind of higher meaning with the job. I found this at first in the radio P1, where I was a programme employee and host with political debate as my focus”. After her third child and a need for more stability, she found a job in a national information company, became middle manager and was seized by communication as a profession. She was especially engaged in finding good stories among her fellow employees own stories and using them in corporate branding. “You call it storytelling, but it should really be named story-listening, because good stories have to be listened to in order to come forward. I am still deeply fascinated by how a story can move people and be used to share important experiences and lead the company on”, she says.
Her interest in employee stories led her to start her own communication company in 2004 together with her husband, Anders Stahlschmidt. Lumholt and Stahlschmidt Communication has company stories and oral/verbal communication as area of specialisation and co-operates with a network of graphic designers, actors, process consultants and HR people, according to the nature of the individual job. “We are sometimes subcontractors to other small consulting companies that need our competencies. At other times we select people to be responsible, when we are solving larger tasks. So we are actually a company with many people, even though we are only two employees”, she explains.
After five years, the couple has also developed concepts within presentation technique, negotiation technique, dialogue training and questioning technique, which they sell. It is important as a consultant also to have a passive income, so that the turnover not only depends on the hours one can deliver each day. “There comes a day, where we don’t have the strength to stand on the platform every day, and then we would like to continue to make money”, she states.
During the five years the company has existed, the couple has written eight books, especially about technical communication subjects. However, Karen Lumholt’s interest in social conditions has also resulted in books and articles about women’s entrepreneurship, about network economy, industrial policy and family policy. She has also written the book “From small shop to business – when women think growth”, targeted at self-employed females, and the book “Children should work”, about children’s participation in housework at home.
“Everything that I’ve been involved in – radio, school, politics, debate and theatre – has been an attempt to create meaning and direction – and mediate this to others. I perceive myself as a craftsman, who gathers pieces of tangled reality and creates a strong thread, which can give other people meaning and direction”.