VISITING SARA LYSGAARD
IN HER PRIVATE HOME, GENTOFTE
37 YEARS OLD
INVESTOR AND ART COLLECTOR
Trine: WHAT DOES YOUR WORK CONSIST OF AND HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR TIME?
Sara: Good question… My day-to-day is built up of all kinds of projects, and so some weeks I am very focused on one thing, and others I split between many different cases. But I do, among other things, spend quite a fair amount of time on planning and overall strategy at ARK JOURNAL. I also photograph for them every now and then, so I use my insight from my travels in the art world.
Trine: YOU COLLECT ART… WHY ARE
YOU SO FOCUSED/CONCERNED WITH ART?
Sara: That has been a part of my life since conception. I come from a home where art means an incredible amount. Both my dad and my grandmother were art-collectors, and therefore it has always been a very natural part of my upbringing. Art was a fundamental element, and so therefore it has always felt natural to take it with me.
Trine: SO ART WAS SOMETHING YOU GATHERED AROUND?
Sara: Yes, and there was also a lot of focus on it. ‘Herning Shipping’, which was my grandmother and fathers family business, was situated in a building drawn by architect, Jørn Utzon, and there was loads of art on the walls. Their attitude was that it was good for co-workers to work in creative surroundings, and that this made a difference.
Trine: THAT IS FANTASTIC… THOSE TWO ARE OFTEN QUITE SEPARATED WORLDS… THE CREATIVE AND THE TRADITIONAL BUSINESS WORLD. IT IS SO WONDERFUL WHEN SOMEONE SEES THAT IT MAKES SENSE TO LINK THEM TOGETHER WITH RESPECTS FOR BOTH ELEMENTS.
Sara: Yes, they were very ahead of their time, and thought differently. All the way back when they had a couple of gas
stations, the tankers were decorated by artist Paul Gadegaard.
Trine: THAT IS COOL, - AND REALLY A MODERN WAY TO MIX THINGS. HAVE YOU HAD DREAMS TO CREATE YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Sara: Yes… I do after all come from a very entrepreneurial family and that has actually taken up a lot of space because I have always felt that I need to further my inherited entrepreneur spirit, and create something myself, which then would carry on the legacy. It is something I have spent a lot of time thinking about and felt that I needed to put myself in the driver-seat and invent something, and create a business… Actually realise something and make my opportunities into something that would end up in a finished product.
Trine: THE THING ABOUT HAVING A
FINISHED PRODUCT, WHICH YOU HAVE CREATED, HAS BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Sara: Yes, - because it is a heavy weight I carry on my shoulders… I admire my family for what they have created and therefore I have spent many years figuring out what my own expectations are for myself, and really been struggling with how to meet those expectations and carry on the legacy.
Trine: AND IN THAT CONTEXT BE STANDING WITH A FINISHED PRODUCT AT THE END, HAS BEEN ESSENTIAL?
Sara: Yes, maybe… It has definitely taken me many years to reach the realisation that I needed to turn it all upside down and think of it in a different way. I have had such an ‘aha’ moment by recognising that I am good at seeing things, seeing people and I am capable of facilitating others' work either through financial investing or through dedicating my own time to projects. I have a huge network because I have been in touch with so many different things, and in that way I can also make projects happen simply by connecting the right people with each other.
Trine: THOSE ARE SOME INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS… AND SOMETIMES ARE THE EXPECTATIONS WE HAVE TO OURSELVES THE WORST KIND: I KNOW THAT ALL TOO WELL AND IT IS PROBABLY SOMETHING YOU SHOULD THINK A LOT ABOUT SO IT DOESN’T TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE.
Sara: Exactly, - and it is, by the way, not everything you can control or plan, because coincidence plays a part here. During the Corona-period I was contacted by some people that suggested I met the Dutch documentarist Ellen Windemuth, who was in the starting-phase of a very exciting case. Her projects mainly focus on the environment and climate change, but her philosophy is to tell the good story instead of the dogmatic horror-scenario. That meeting has resulted in the project WATERBEAR, which is a platform like Netflix with more that 90 different NGO’s who create
different content. The common thread is that they all focus on telling the good story, and from that there have been many beautiful and truly moving stories told.
Trine: I ALSO THINK WE REALLY NEED THAT… WE KNOW HOW BAD THINGS ARE, BUT I THINK THE MOTIVATION TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IS CREATED WHEN WE ARE REMINDED ABOUT THE GOOD STORIES. WHEN WE CAN SEE THAT IT ACTUALLY MATTERS TO ACT.
Sara: Yes, and then it is set up so nicely that you can donate directly to one or more of the different NGO’s, if you want.
Trine: HAS IT GONE FROM ZERO TO A FULL BLOWN PROJECT IN SUCH SHORT TIME?
Sara: Yes, and we have roughly 110.000 members now, and there are among others also different projects where we plant a tree somewhere in Scotland for each member… And we have more
examples like that where there really are actions behind the words.
Trine: WOW… THAT IS SUPER COOL… AND SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY GREAT PROJECT, WELL DONE. CAN YOU SAY THAT YOU BREAK BREAD WITH LOADS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND MAKE THEIR DREAMS POSSIBLE AND THEREBY YOUR OWN AS WELL. AND YOU CAN SAY THAT YOU REALLY LIVE ‘SHARING IS CARING’… THE IDEA ABOUT BECOMING SHARPER, BETTER AND HAPPIER FROM SHARING AND INSPIRING EACH OTHER ACROSS THE BOARD. VERY NICE MEETING YOU SARA…
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS.