May 29, 2017

From hacking to banking

A journey through my work history

By Andrea Warmington

An interview with Helene Mortensen, Digital Communications Consultant


What did you want to be when you grew up?
Someone who helped whales or dolphins. My favourite thing to watch on TV was any animal show, especially if it was about marine animals, so I wanted to be someone who helped them. I thought if that didn’t work out I could always be one of those ice skating princesses.

What did you study when you finished high school?
I took a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications and Economics and then Masters Degree in Marketing and Economics. I studied at the Copenhagen Business School.

What is the most unusual job you’ve had?
The strangest job is definitely when I was hired as a consultant by an IT security company in Denmark, that was hired by companies to test their security. I did all sorts of things like writing “fake” phishing emails. My main task was to physically break into big companies, and then install black boxes, so our hackers could access the company. It was quite exciting but also could be quite nerve wracking – especially at a nuclear plant! You’d have to sneak past security barriers or lie so you’d be swiped in.. You had to keep your cool. You’d have to walk in and pretend you knew where you were going. I did get into trouble once, but I managed to get away. I’d always carry the documents that said who I was working for so I wouldn’t get arrested.

What were you doing before you started working for BNZ?
I was a bit of a digital nomad for two years prior to working at BNZ. I did freelance comms and marketing work, but after travelling around South East Asia with my partner for nine months I really wanted my own pillow and a fridge. We then decided to go to New Zealand, which I’d visited once for three weeks in the winter, driving around in a campervan. I arrived on a working holiday visa and then I got a visa for BNZ. And now I have my residency!

What’s your role at BNZ?
I’m a Digital Communications Consultant. I help customers to use our digital channels – Internet Banking and the Mobile Banking app –  and work on increasing engagement with these, while finding the best ways to tell customers what we’re doing.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career, so far?
Bring the light and then good things happen. It’s probably more of a life lesson, but it also counts for what I’m doing in my professional life. When shit hits the fan, you take a deep breath, you remain calm and you stay positive. Your thoughts have power – so keep them good.

Would you have done anything differently when you were first starting out in your career?
I would have listened less to other people, and more to my gut feeling. It’s so easy to get led astray by what other people think is best for you but you’re the one who knows you best.★


Andrea Warmington

Andrea Warmington
Wordsmith, Francophile and obsessive rugby fan (not necessarily in that order).

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The views expressed above are those of the author and do not purport to represent the views of BNZ. BNZ does not accept any liability for any loss or damage that may result from this publication. More information here.