Steen Lund is known from the Danish television program "Dancing with the Stars", and previously he has danced into the hearts of the Danish people together with Vicki Berlin, Kaya Brüel , Sisse Fisker and especially Christina Roslyng, when they won the show back in 2006. However, the 46-year-old Dane is so much more than a wonderful dancer.
Today Steen Lund works as a sales manager at LEGO Education, where he holds the position as Head of EEMEA & SEA with the responsibility for the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition, he was in 2013 elected to the city council in Odense for the Liberal Party.
A real iron man
Carlo A met Steen Lund when he was at his best condition in life - literally. Not long ago Steen completed the Copenhagen Ironman 2015. The Ironman discipline is known as the greatest distance in triathlon, and it is a discipline only few people can fulfill and master. After a long and memorable dance career, Steen put his dancing shoes away - and was ready for new challenges. He missed exercising and the extra energy he got from exercising, both at work and at home - a positive-self-interest as Steen calls it. Furthermore, Steen was enjoying life too much and was getting too leisurely, so he had to make some changes.
– I love food, and as I have not been doing any sports for a while, I began to gain some extra pounds. This was one of the reasons why I challenged myself in the Ironman discipline. But what really tricked me was when I was in Copenhagen a couple of years ago and attended as a spectator to the Copenhagen Ironman – among the participators were Dennis Knudsen and The Danish Crown Prince, Frederik. Especially the discipline and the pain in the participants’ eyes fascinated me, and after some thinking I said to my wife that I would like to try it. She said the only right thing there was to say: "YOU CAN NOT DO IT STEEN!" From that day on I was constantly thinking about it.
After a few years Steen completed his first, but hopefully not the last, Ironman. Preparations were tough and he spent countless hours of swimming, cycling and running. It was all about self-discipline and the will to achieve the goal, which he knew he had from his long and successful professional career. The self- discipline was expressed by agreements he made with himself – it was not legal to ditch the workout before he had put on all the equipment.
Dancing is harder than people think
Besides a good portion of willpower and a strong competitive skill, the many years of professional dancing have helped Steen, both on a professional and personal level, to reach the goals that he sets for himself. Particularly, the foundation stone for the Copenhagen Ironman was built on the many years as a dancer, where fitness is an important factor in order to perform the highly demanding dances. This is something that the lustful dancers at the discotheques are definitely not thinking about.
– A dance typically takes about 1.5-2 minutes with a max heart rate - and you are at the maximum immediately. Then you have a 30 second break before you begin again. This is repeated 5 times. In difference to many other sports, you are constantly in full progress and you do not experience the passages where you have the opportunity to take a break like in football or many others sports. In my time as a dance there was actually made some studies, which rated dancing to be at the same level as cross-country skiing. So it is physically very hard.
The hard physical aspect of dance sport is something that few Danes are familiar with, but in recent years it has been expressed in the TV-show "Dancing with the Stars". Many people have gained great insight into the dancing discipline, where several of the known participants have lost 10-15 kg in a season.
Dancing has, for many years, been the focal point for Steen Lund's career, and with his artistic approach to dancing, he has both experienced and gained much through into his long career. Steen has won titles such as the Danish Championship, Nordic Champion, World Games, World Cup and European Cup. In addition, he had his primary focus on Latin American dances, distinguished himself as being number 1 in the world in 1998. In general, the many titles, and the professional approach, have strengthened Steen Lund to become who he is today in terms of his business-oriented life:
– I really think it applies to all sports that you learn to be persistent as an athlete. There is always a goal up front and you pursue it until you reach it. It is also good to find new ways to achieve your targets and not give up when it becomes difficult or starts to hurt. It is all about walking the extra mile, be persistent and do not be afraid. These are some of the main things that I have learned and now are using in my present job at LEGO Education.
– In addition, you also learn how to be strategic and found out what you need, where you need to go, what to learn and generally being open about your own strengths and weaknesses. Persistence is my primary experience and strength that I am taking with me in everything I am doing.
“The job of his dreams” at LEGO Education
Today the polished floors and business life at LEGO is replaced by the glamorous dance floors. Here Steen possesses his “dream job” at LEGO Education, where the focus is on learning, which is one of LEGO's six basic values. A job few people might not have thought that Steen would end up having. Especially, if you consider his school days, where he describes himself as a student who found it difficult to sit still. The education system told the young Steen, that he should not take an academic education, but instead he should focus on other educations such as being an artisan. His teacher told him, that he should never study further. The harsh statements did not stop him, and today he sees it as an opportunity to make a difference and help people who are facing the same, or worse, problems.
– We must realize that some of the most important people in our society are teachers. They need to teach and educate our future generations to be competitive. If I can give 10 children a better education than I had, it would make me very happy - and I do it every day through my work.
Steen is travelling a lot during his work at LEGO Education as he is responsible for the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. The job gives him the opportunity to help children of all ages, races and nationality - to give them a better education and hopefully a better life. This is something that he finds very rewarding.
– I'm absolutely passionate about this job. Africa is particularly special, as they are often not ready for school and the teachers are not even educated. Conversely, in the Middle East, where they know that oil is a limited resource, they are very open to learning and to be creative. Similarly, Southeast Asia is a mecca for education.
The job at LEGO Education is a very exciting challenge, where Steen can help change an education-system that is created in the industrial age and therefore is strongly outdated.
Let us give a tribute to the ambitious people
Generally, Steen is a very active person and he has daily several different roles in his professional life. He is also an active member in Odense municipal council. In this position, he tries to focus solely on this role and separate it from the others. In general, he does not hide the fact that he thinks things are often going too slow. If we want something in this World we need to be more focused and extreme in our ways to reach the goals.
– In Denmark it is those who have ambitions who are the looked down on and we salute the ordinary people instead. We live in an average and boring society - we need to change that. We will have to get out of our own duck pond and show our ambitions and goals. Our society has become a curling community. We would all like to be something special, but we will not put in the effort to achieve it. In contrast, we need to be much better to demand more from each other. We have to embrace the World and fulfill our dreams and visions – the courage to do so, is something that we lack today.
Carlo A - A tie for many occasions
Having in mind, that Steen has a very active life - also as a professional; it is not that strange that he has always been aware of how he dresses. He dares to challenge the way that a man should be dressed. A variation of different forms and colors in casual and formal outfits have always been the characteristic of the fashionable Steen Lund. He finds the Carlo A mission - bringing the tie and the good style back into business – to be very inspiring.
– I think it is super cool. I am very fond of ties, and I was the first to start wearing ties on a daily basis in our department at LEGO. I diffidently think that the tie is one of the most masculine things you can wear, and it is not because you are sitting here, that I am saying so. I love to match things, and the tie can be used for many occasions. It can always be combined in a long or short version, with a shirt hanging outside your trousers or as today in a more classic style.
THE 4 SHARP
What is your next big project?
– It may sound completely trivial, but I have reached a point, where I would like to keep being fit. It has something to do with my own well-being. I am a bonvivant, but I would very much like to keep a balance between eating/drinking well and then being fit and maintaining my current weight. Furthermore would I like to manage an Ironman under 6 hours on half the distance and 12 hours on the long distance.
What is your best advice from your sports career, which you can also use in your professional career?
– Be persistent and stick to your goals – regardless of which direction they are pointing. Be ready to walk the extra mile, if that is what it takes. Believe in your own abilities and let no tell you that you can´t do it.
Do ypu have a motto?
–Everybody can dance and you can do what you put your mind in to.
What book is on your bedside table?
– ”The Big Braggert”, which is a Danish book by the author Mads Christensen. I use it for inspiration. ”The Miracle in LEGO” have I of course also read, says a laughing Steen Lund.
Name: Steen Lund
Age: 46 år
Residence: Dyrup, Odense
Education: Higher Commercial Examination and ”Master in DO-IT-YOURSELF”
Career: LEGO Education, Odense City counsel, Modulex, Logitech, Ingram Micro., Professional dancer
Titles: Nordic Champion, Danish Champion, World Games, World Cup, Europe Cup and number 1 on the world ranging in 1998 and others.