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Christian and Henriette keep the rainbow banner flying at Nordea: "You should feel safe at work"

Christian Moselund Aaby and Henriette Pronk are the new partners heading Nordea's LGBTQ+ employee group, and they feel confident that the group's work will make a difference at the bank.

3. Aug 2023
8 min
English / Dansk
Christian Moselund Aaby and Henriette Pronk are the new partners heading Nordea’s employee group for LGBTQ+ people and their allies. Photo: Mathias Eis

"It’s basically about ensuring a safe working environment, in which a man can say that he has a boyfriend called Sven and a woman can say that she is married to Yvonne without anybody raising an eyebrow."

That is the message from Christian Moselund Aaby, who is head of Public Affairs at Nordea Denmark, and who, with his colleague Henriette Pronk, who works with quality assurance and optimisation of the bank’s cash management, constitutes the new partnership heading Nordea's employee group for LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

The LGBTQ+ group is just one of six so-called "employer resource groups" (ERGs) at Nordea, which are run on a voluntary basis by employees for the purpose of contributing to an inclusive workplace.

And both Christian Moselund Aaby and Henriette Pronk feel that the work of the group means something.

“We have a stage. It’s our opportunity to be heard and to influence the management and the culture. And you can feel that we will actually make a difference," explains Christian Moselund Aaby.

Nordea ERGs

In addition to “LGBTQ+ and Allies”, Nordea has five similar ERGs:

”Ability Variation”, “Cross Cultural”, “Cross Generations”, “Gender Equality” and “Cross-Faith and Beliefs” (the latest addition).

It is about human rights

Christian Moselund Aaby's boyfriend is, in fact, called Sven, while Henriette Pronk is a so-called “ally”; that is a heterosexual colleague who supports and allies herself with the cause.

"It’s about basic human rights to me. That we protect the right to be "me". My commitment covers everything related to diversity, really. By choosing to concentrate my efforts on LGBTQ+, I’m demonstrating that, to me, this area constitutes a catalyst for the other areas. It represents the genuine sense of inclusivity we feel for each other," Henriette Pronk explains.

And in Christian Moselund Aaby’s view, the allies are more important than they might think.

"After all, their support helps to ensure that we can be who we are. Simply by doing what they do every day and not discriminate against anyone, but also by reacting if they see something that is not right – that helps make a difference," he says.

”It’s our opportunity to be heard and to influence the management and the culture. And you can feel that we will actually make a difference.”
- Christian Moselund Aaby, one of the two partners heading Nordea’s LGBTQ+ employee group for people and their allies.

From Copenhagen to Holstebro

The group's work at the bank over the past six years has had an impact on a number of parameters, the two chairpersons emphasise.

Among other issues, the group has pushed for equal maternity/paternity rights for LGBTQ+ persons compared to the rights of more traditional families.

In addition, Christian Moselund Aaby underlines that, at the group's request, the bank has, as one of the first organisations in Denmark, entered into a three-year partnership agreement with Copenhagen Pride rather than the usual one-year partnership.

"In this way, we have been able to make certain demands on each other and actually make a difference. This means, for example, that the bank's employees have been granted 16 working hours per year for voluntary work, such as volunteering during the diversity week leading up to Copenhagen Pride – and we would like to direct the employees’ attention to this to ensure more people take advantage of the opportunity," he explains.

The celebration of Pride has, moreover, spread from Copenhagen to several other branches around the country.

"In recent years, some of our ATMs in Copenhagen have, for instance, been covered with rainbow-coloured foil during Copenhagen Pride. This has now also reached Funen, Holstebro and Bornholm," Christian Moselund Aaby says.

Join Copenhagen Pride on 19 August

Help us flag Finansforbundet's work for "The right to be you" at this year's Copenhagen Pride.

In this connection, we also want to celebrate that the new collective agreement now provides equal rights to maternity leave for co-mothers and paternity leave for fathers.

As a member, you and your family/friends are invited.

Sign up here.


In Christian Moselund Aaby’s view, allied colleagues such as Henriette Pronk are more important than they might think. Photo: Mathias Eis.

Putting words into action

It means everything to both him and Henriette Pronk that the bank puts its words into action, so that partnering up with Copenhagen Pride, for example, is not just about good publicity.

"When we talk to the management and look behind the scenes, we can see that we don't just raise the rainbow flag for fun. We actually believe in the things it symbolises. I can feel the support throughout the organisation and that we want this," says Henriette Pronk.

Christian Moselund Aaby believes that it’s also important that Nordea makes its voice heard in the social debate.

"Nordea is Denmark's second largest bank and the largest bank in the Nordic region. We are a major presence in society, and we must take a position on this issue and demonstrate our support for the LGBTQ+ environment and basic human rights," he says, emphasising that it is, of course, just as important to demonstrate support internally in the organisation.

"Internally, it is, obviously, about creating a safe and secure working environment for everyone, where you feel safe enough to share that you are about to start gender reassignment surgery or that you are in a relationship with someone of the same sex. Therefore, the managers must be taught how to facilitate a safe environment in which employees will talk about any issues or ask for help and support to come out to their colleagues," says Christian Moselund Aaby.

Henriette Pronk also points out that it is important not to forget the customers, neither the private customers nor the businesses.

"We have to show our customers where we stand to reassure them of our position," she says, and Christian Moselund Aaby elaborates:

"As a bank, we must reflect the society we are part of. Not in the sense that you can ask for an LGBTQ+ adviser, but rather that we, as a bank, understand that the person on the other side of the table may be faced with challenges. We need to be that open-minded – which I feel that we are and will become even better at, the more it is brought into focus.”

Henriette Pronk believes that it is generally the tiny everyday stuff that helps make a difference.

“Could be the way we talk to each other. For example a small thing such as asking where you and your better half are going on holiday this year instead of specifically saying husband or wife. Some LGBTQ+ persons feel like they have to come out over and over again if they constantly have to explain to new people that they are in a relationship with someone of the same sex,” she says.

It would be amazing if we succeed in convincing our colleagues that we are actually here to support them
- Henriette Pronk, one of the two partners heading Nordea’s LGBTQ+ employee group for people and their allies.

Involving the entire country

Christian Moselund Aaby started working for Nordea 18 months ago, after having worked at Slotsholmen for almost 7 years. In his case, the ERG group was initially a way to become part of a network in the bank.

But as it became more and more obvious how important the group actually is, the work made even more sense. Henriette Pronk has worked at the bank for more than 30 years and been part of the group for just over four years.

"In my view, we are steadily increasing our influence in the organisation, and we are heard. That is highly motivating," she says.

Consequently, several ideas are on the drawing board for the two new chairpersons in terms of what the group should commit to going forward.

"One of the things we intend to work on is how we extend our employee group even further to create more visibility across the country," says Christian Moselund Aaby, while pointing out that although the rainbow foil on the ATMs mentioned above has made its entry in Holstebro, the group's LGBTQ+ work is currently mostly a phenomenon in the capital and the head office.

"So how do we get our colleagues across the country to take part in our work? That’s one of the things we will look at," he emphasises.

In addition, they would like to create a setting in which colleagues and managers know that they can turn to parties other than HR if they need a purely informal and anonymous chat about, for example, what coming out may entail, or other topics which may be difficult to discuss with one's closest colleagues or a manager.

“It would be amazing if we succeed in convincing our colleagues that we are actually here to support them. That we are a group of employees who also deal with these issues on a personal level, who support each other, and who are ready to lend a shoulder and an ear when that's what is needed," explains Henriette Pronk.

Last, but not least, they want to take greater advantage of the new three-year partnership agreement with Copenhagen Pride.

"We would like to utilise our new partnership with Copenhagen Pride to an even greater extent and incorporate additional issues in the framework we have already created," concludes Christian Moselund Aaby.

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