CEO at Mono Solutions
Henrik Stampe is the new CEO at Mono Solutions, which is part of the Bauer Media Group SME Services. Henrik has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience from international sales and commercial roles in a digital and technology-driven environment, having worked for companies such as the Danish app development agency Nodes, tech giants like Microsoft and IBM, and the anti-food-waste start-up Too Good To Go. Henrik has a strong passion for driving businesses forward with a clear eye on providing value to both end customers and partners as well as being a seasoned leader and coach for the organizations he leads.
Q. My first question to you, Henrik, is you just started as CEO of Mono Solutions in the middle of the pandemic. What was that, like?
I think it is actually really interesting because it’s another way of getting introduced to the Mono team. Basically, managing is all virtual, so you don’t have this kind of social, or, let’s say, contact face-to-face.
I think that’s, that’s a challenge, not having met your team members, face to face in the office, and not being able to travel to the colleagues that I have in the United States, and also to the corporate head office in Germany. So, there’s a bit of a challenge, but also opportunity. It’s why I joined mono, about the position and the direction going forward?
Of course, when you are kind of new, you are the coach, captain on the ship, you do need to set directions. In this virtual world now, it’s very important to have good communication virtually. It’s about having a good story to tell, how we can actually help small and medium-sized enterprises in getting digitalized. That’s the way forward for many small companies, basically because their physical foot traffic or selling their services, products and solutions, has dropped off in many industries because of the pandemic.
The only way to kind of move the business forward is actually enabling them from a technical point of view.
Q. Is there anything that you’ve done differently or doing every. Hobbies you started or are doing during the pandemic?
Yes, I believe in balance and in the way you start your morning, so for many years now. I’ve been a practitioner of meditation and mindfulness.
This kind of practice actually allows you to be in the now. The future is a little bit unsure due to the pandemic and you know, we don’t know when it’s gonna stop or what will happen tomorrow so I start my morning focusing on now.
In the morning I spend probably 20 minutes, half an hour just meditating to get to kind of my mindset right and become more aware of what’s going to happen.
I live very close to the sea, so I have this luxury of going for a swim or dip every morning, even though it’s, you know, freezing, and it’s minus degrees.
I don’t know how many degrees it is, but I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and I can say, since the last 10 years, I have never had the flu. I’ve never had a cold anything.
So that is kind of what gets me kicked off in the morning. Of course, I look forward to a talk to my team members and driving the business forward.
Q. So, what else? We are just getting to know you, any special hobbies or things we should know?
I think when you get to know me I’m a very sociable person. I think that you know, getting in contact with other people having good communication, either being professional level or private level, is super important to help you grow yourself as a person.
So, I can’t do that right now because of the pandemic, so I really look forward to get back to this.
I have a network of good friends. So we try to meet either virtually or just on the phone or we meet with a good social distance to just say hello. We try to coach each other and also talk about how we’re getting through this pandemic. When you are a very sociable person, you’re kind of missing out on what you like.
There are also finding things at home that you can do either with your kids or your family or if you have pets with them.
Q. Do you have pets?
Yes, I actually have a mini schnauzer, now the mascot at Mono.
You are CEO, and I have seen some of your history with a lot of executive positions, but you didn’t just start in an executive position. If you can think way back, do you remember what one of the first jobs you had as a kid or a teenager?
Yeah, I do I was actually a postman. When I did my studies, just to finance that, I actually brought out mail every Friday and Saturday to the homes of private people.
I would need to get up early 3:30 am or 4 am and get on my bike and distributing mail.
At that time there were not many people around, at four o’clock in the morning. But it was kind of enjoyable that it was a way of making a living ahead and learn.
Q. What would you want to do if you had another profession?
I’ve kind of always been having an entrepreneurial mindset, and I really like building up businesses, either from scratch or from, at the stage where they are now, which is why I like the position I am in now.
If I were to think about another I would go more into, more environmental companies that have a meaningful purpose, I recently worked together with a company called To Good To Go, which is actually a Fluted waste app that connects consumers and, food producers like supermarkets and restaurants. It has a very meaningful purpose. The company today, has grown to over 850 people from 5 at the beginning.
So, for me, it is about, you know, creating something that is meaningful. I think it is in any business, you need to have a purpose. We have a purpose at Mono, helping the SMEs to become more digitalized. My entrepreneurial spirit is there throughout everything I’ve done. And that’s, it fits nicely into my kind of career, I have been in large corporations like Microsoft and IBM, and that, that’s a different scenario and they are different.
I think the ability to combine the learnings from a startup entrepreneurial setup to becoming big and corporate can actually be applied to the company that I’m now with. At Mono we are going to grow businesses and make some new initiatives to bring the business forward. As you know, the company was recently acquired by the Bauer media group and gives us a lot of backbone to develop further.
Q. Mono often sponsors some cocktail parties for Siinda, so when you are thinking about food, do you have a favorite cuisine or favorite comfort food?
I will not answer that question directly, but what I can tell you, if I could do it and if I was financially independent and I could do whatever I want I would actually open up a restaurant because I really like cooking, really like making food and especially being creative and that part, too. From the simplistic to French cuisine was because I had some French genes in my previous life and I really enjoy French Food, it is sophisticated and just has some amazing aspects to it.
When you cook it you can experiment and then you sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you fail. There is some trial and error, you experiment and then learn how much are you going to put enough of the herbs and salt and pepper or whatever your needs are? You learn, and, I think that the biggest pleasure is actually, you know, being able to cook and make food for other people.
So when I have people around for dinner, I want to give them a kind of experience from a culinary point of view.
Q. If you are making one of these great French cuisine dinners, and you could invite anybody and had anybody that you wanted to, whether they’re alive or dead, who would you like to invite to dinner?
Good question. So, you know, there are so many people out there that you admire from my old employer Bill, Gates, as a person. I met him a couple of times for my Microsoft tenure, a very great personality, very experienced. So, if I could see him again for dinner, I would definitely do that.
On the other side without specific names, I would love to have my closest friends, those I value and that are close to you, I would probably invite those, because they mean a lot to me.
If I were to invite a famous person, a person that you would see only once, I would invite the Danish Queen. If you are lucky to have dinner with her, you know it is a little bit awkward in a sense…but I have actually had dinner with our Danish Queen in Brussels.
I was in the Danish community in Brussels, in Belgium, and I was invited to a dinner where the queen was. There were probably 100s of persons but you got the chance to say hello and shake hands but and there’s a lot of etiquette around it. I think sometimes, if you meet famous people or well-known people, it gets a little bit awkward because, you don’t know what to say, and what to do?
I prefer meeting people on a level where you can have an open dialog, and you can, you know, you can joke, and you can smile without having to be akward of everything you say.
Q. Now, if you had one message to your partners, the other Siinda members, your colleagues, a message that you could give them between now and when we see each other in Berlin, hopefully, what would that be?
I think from society we have a common responsibility in getting this world back on track after the pandemic and also during the pandemic because there’s a lot of people out there that really need help and guidance especially the SMB segment that we’re addressing.
They really need guidance and help and, you know anything that we can do to kind of drive them forward would be very appreciated by everybody in the community.
I really encourage the Siinda members to look into this, and how can we actually help the globe to get back on track, through the things that we’re offering, either our services, our solutions, or products, just to get people back on track.
And remember, you know, the girl or guy next to you, talk to them in these difficult times, because suddenly, there’s a lot of people out there that need or have a need for social contact. So, you know, just giving a kind of word, a smile, and a wave. Makes a difference.