Malene Rydahl, born in Aarhus (Denmark), is a former executive in corporate communication and currently a writer and keynote speaker specialized in happiness and well-being. She is the author of the book Happy as a Dane, initially published in France by Grasset (Heureux comme un Danois) in April 2014. The book has been translated and published in more than 10 countries and is coming out in the United States in January 2017, published by Norton. After the publication of her book, Malene Rydahl was given the honorary title of Goodwill Ambassador of the city of Copenhagen. In February 2016, she was selected by the OECD secretary general Ángel Gurría to present her work to the organization.
Life and career
Malene Rydahl worked 18 years in the corporate world as an executive in corporate communication before starting a career as a writer, keynote speaker and executive coach.
After 6 years as a manager and executive at Bang & Olufsen in France, she joined the advertising agency Les Ouvriers du Paradis (WPP group) as the account manager of Le Bon Marché (LVMH group). She then joined Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and was the group’s director of corporate communication for the EAME region until 2015.
Malene Rydahl has a degree in international business strategy from the Niels Brock business school of Copenhagen.
Her professional career qualified her as one of the “24 women of 2012” according to the French weekly magazine L’Express.
Alongside her work at Hyatt, she started a career as a writer and keynote speaker specialized in happiness and well-being, using the case study of Denmark, her native country, regularly at the top of international rankings on happiness. She explores why Danish employees are some of the happiest in the world, and the positive impact of happiness on economic results. She wrote Heureux comme un Danois (“Happy as a Dane”) published by Grasset in France in April 2014. The book became a best-seller and was awarded the Prize for the Most Optimistic Book in the same year. It has since been published in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Russia, and is scheduled to come out in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Poland, Turkey and Czech Republic. Since 2015, Malene Rydahl is a full-time writer, keynote speaker and executive coach.
As a speaker, Malene Rydahl takes part in various events organized by international corporations and non-profit organizations on happiness at work and management practices. She is represented worldwide by the London Speaker Bureau.
Among other interventions, Malene Rydahl was invited in February 2016 by Ángel Gurría, secretary general of the OECD, to present her work to the organization’s experts. She has also spoken at the École nationale d’administration — France’s national school for the highest civil servants — and she gave a TEDx talk at the INSEAD business school in Singapore in 2015.
Malene Rydahl was part of the advisory committee at the creation of the Positive Economy Forum led by French economist, writer and public servant Jacques Attali and under the sponsorship of the President of France. She supports Europe Tomorrow, a French social start-up which aims at mapping local social and environmental innovations across Europe, by being a member of its advisory board.
She is also an associate of the Danish startup 42° Raw, a healthy 100% plant based fast food concept. The company has 3 restaurants in Copenhagen.
In 2014, she was appointed Goodwill ambassador of Copenhagen.