What makes up a large part of the person you are today comes from
your roots. From where you grew up, to what sparked your interests in
life. While this is true for a person, the same holds true for
organizations. Having been a part of this company for over two decades
– taking on roles in the U.S. and Copenhagen before returning to
Canada as General Manager – I have found there are two foundational
components of Novo Nordisk that hold true on a global scale: its
celebration of its Danish roots and its patient-centric approach.
These two characteristics are reflected by every employee and in every
These values are written in The
Novo Nordisk Way, the set of principles which defines who we
are, how we work and what we want to achieve, but they are more than
words. Our team takes special pride in these roots and their unique
Canadian connection. You can look back to the first collaboration
between Danes Marie and August Krogh and Canadians Banting and Best to
understand just how our roots have taken shape here.
Novo Nordisk was born by truly putting patients first. It all started
with a focus on one particular patient: Marie Krogh who had type 2
diabetes and, as a doctor, also treated patients with diabetes. Marie
and her husband August were both doctors and researchers who travelled
to the United States in the 1920s and heard reports of people with
diabetes being treated with insulin.
Marie urged her husband to contact the University of Toronto where
the insulin extract was first discovered by two Canadian researchers,
Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Soon after meeting the Canadians,
August and his wife returned to Copenhagen with permission to
manufacture and sell life-saving insulin in Scandinavia. As you can
imagine, the 350 employees of Novo Nordisk Canada are particularly
moved by this romantic founding story!
Since then, our team has carried the same commitment that began in
Denmark when Marie initially sought a medication. Our shared mission
is to bring innovative treatments to Canadians, putting them first.
From my time abroad, I have been fortunate enough to see how Canada
is viewed by our colleagues around the globe. We’re seen as a great
incubator for those looking to grow their international experience –
not only because of the talent and diversity we have in Canada, but
because of the real impact we’ve had on supporting the health of
Canadians. Something we would be unable to do if it weren’t for our
strong foundation, our commitment to patients, and a passion to make
real change in the lives of those we touch.
The Kroghs are never far from our hearts and minds. From boardroom
names, to the design of our new Canadian headquarters, our company’s
heritage is highly visible at Novo Nordisk Canada. We brought the
Danish design principles of simplicity and functionality to life,
creating a space that facilitates collaboration and innovation. By
working in an environment that supports these principles, we’ve found
that our employees approach problem solving with the same spirit. Open
spaces allow for conversations that spark new ideas and encourage
limitless thinking, and the simplicity of our workplace inspires
stripping problems down to their root and solving the core issue at
hand. This approach to work is the Novo Nordisk Way personified.
Our team starts important, sometimes challenging conversations such
as questioning policy changes that may negatively affect patient
access to innovative medicines. We create meaningful connections such
as Cities Changing Diabetes in Vancouver, to ensure we’re driving
change for Canadians living with diabetes, obesity and other chronic
conditions. In that spirit, we’ve developed this blog so you can learn
about health issues Canadians face and the leadership necessary to
improve those issues. Because really, it’s all connected.