Anita Hansen Hrubešová
BA International Relations, MA Business and Law in International Markets
Since graduating from AAU, Anita Hansen Hrubešová has accomplished so much, both personally and professionally in just a couple of years. As founder of Copenhagen Calligraphy, she has grown a high-end calligraphy agency from scratch, and has since worked with luxury fashion brands, hotels, and Michelin restaurants round the world. Despite the time consuming challenges of remotely running a business and the added pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anita lives by the motto “time waits for no-one”, and cherishes all the moments she is able to spend with her two lovely children and family.
Enjoy this interview about her company, her experience while studying at AAU, the life lessons she’s learned and what advice she has for ambitious students like you.
What did you study at AAU?
In 2015, I got my Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and obtained a Master’s degree in Business and Law in International Markets in 2017.
Where are you from and where have you lived over the past several years?
I am originally from Brno, Czech Republic, and in the last several years, I have lived in San Francisco, USA; St. Petersburg, Russia; Changsha, China; and, of course, Prague! I love Prague.
Which AAU Faculty member has been especially impactful for you, and why?
Several professors were my favorites, among them Dana Hague, Anthony Marais, William Eddleston, Milada Polisenska, and Radka MacGregor. All of them had an impact on me, though perhaps the most impactful was Radka MacGregor. I liked her personality and views on many issues, and for me, she was an example of a woman with an impressive career and knowledge, several kids, and a great sense of humor!
Why did you choose AAU?
I wanted a university with a personal approach, where I’d be able to interact with students and professors, and in an environment wouldn’t be cold or anonymous. I was looking for interesting subjects, diversity in classmates and professors, and opportunities to network. The AAU campuses (both old and new) were a great bonus!
What would you say to someone who is unsure about studying abroad?
If worse comes to worst, you can always go back home. So just try. Pack lots of comfort food from home for the first few weeks!
What’s something valuable you learned outside of the classroom at AAU?
I learned a bit of Russian! Also, I learned that a friendly face goes a long way – that’s how I met my future maid of honor at AAU. Smiley, happy faces make new students feel welcome, and an awful exam not as bad.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Having two healthy children, and family around me. Cliché? Yes. True? Absolutely! If speaking professionally, then I am proud that my painting was exhibited at Prague Castle, and that I built a high-end calligraphy agency out of nothing, in a foreign country with a tiny investment, where such an “industry” had very little tradition.
If you had the opportunity to give a TED talk, what would you speak about?
There are two possible talks I would give, for example: “Fake it till you make it”, or “(Almost) everything happens for a reason”.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you were just graduating from AAU? What advice would you give to current students?
Go get that medical degree while you are still used to the study routine. Don’t move to Denmark in October (Bit chilly)!
What’s a lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to share with others?
Everybody cares about time, but time cares about no one. Spend time with your parents and grandparents, and listen to their stories even if it’s for the hundredth time- they heard all your stories hundreds of times when you were a kid. Take photos, ask questions, and write the answers down. Ask family and friends to write you notes and postcards or draw a picture. One day you will cherish them as precious memories.
Tell us something about yourself, or a hobby you have.
In my heart, I am very Moravian. I enjoy gardening, meeting with my friends in a wine cellar; hosting them with lots of food; and singing and dancing together while a live cymbal folklore band is playing. In fact, I studied how to play cymbal before moving away because I enjoyed it so much, but then I couldn’t find any teachers in Scandinavia, but I still know a few songs.
For fun, if you could invent an app, what would it be and why?
Perhaps a scenario projector? I imagine it would be like those video games where you can choose between several scenario options, and each leads to a different result. This app would tell you how your life would look in five, ten or thirty years if you go to this college, marry this guy, move to this place or that area… It would be a real life scenario simulation. However, unlike reality, this app allows you to start over and over again.
To round off the interview, take us down memory lane, and tell us about a work experience that you’ll never forget.
After working in Prague for a while, I moved to Changsha, China, where I met my husband, who is Danish/Taiwanese, and with whom I later moved to Denmark, where I set up Copenhagen Calligraphy. The story of what caused this succession of events began when I was working on a conference for the Lobkowicz family.
The conference was a huge event (over 400 CEOs) with a diverse, international team under direct management of Prince William Lobkowicz Jr. The team was so nice, William was a great leader, plans and venues were grandiose, and guests absolutely mesmerized by the Czech Republic. I learned and applied many lessons of diplomatic protocol and etiquette there- I wish it all had lasted longer!
Primarily, we were helping to plan events and ensure they ran smoothly, for example, our work included a tour around the Residence of the Mayor of Prague with the former Mayor Mr. Kasl. Prior to taking the tour, we had a multi-course lunch at one of the finest hotels in Prague. Somehow it happened that they were a bit understaffed, so our guests were waiting a long time for their meals, and the entire schedule was being delayed. I saw how stressed the manager and the waiters were, so I decided to take orders and serve food alongside them. When we were done with the tour of the residence, we had champagne, and that’s when the guests – 60 CEOs and their spouses – chose to toast me – “for saving the day”. I was very touched! It was an amazing gesture, and I’m still in contact with some of the guests.
Since then, for several years, whenever I’d visit that hotel, the staff remembered me and I’d get a coffee on the house. More importantly, this experience and resourcefulness impressed the Lobkowicz family themselves, as well as another pair of attendees, who later offered me a strategic position at their company in China.