The Story

Polar Bear is founded by Michael Lund Petersen

Polar Bear is founded by Michael Lund Petersen. As a young man growing up in Skovshoved, Denmark, Michael was nicknamed “Isbjørnen”, Danish for Polar Bear. The name stuck, and because of its strength, authenticity and honest origins, Michael chose it as the namesake when the family decided to establish a family office.

As minority owner of Danish jewelry company, Pandora Jewelry, and founding partner of Pandora Jewelry USA, Michael set out to make Pandora a household name in North America and a leading brand in the American jewelry market. Through commitment and dedication, this mission was accomplished, and because of this experience and Pandora´s success, those terms have become significant for Michael Lund Petersen.

“A major part of the reason for our success was our commitment to doing things better every day. If you come to work every morning with that passion and ambition – to improve on yesterday’s performance and to learn from your past mistakes – you increase your chances of success dramatically,” Michael says.

The approach to his work and professional career originates in Michael’s passion for sports, whether badminton, soccer, or golf. In sports, you find the same link between your commitment and your success as you do in a business career, but in sports you see it even more clearly.

“There is such an honesty in sports. You simply don’t succeed if you’re not willing to do the hard work. This is a valuable lesson. People often struggle with the concept of critical feedback, but I’ve always found that if you can think of the feedback as an opportunity to improve, it’s a very valuable tool,” Michael says.

As an entrepreneur, this mindset has been one of his most powerful assets and some of the work, which today takes place under the auspices of Polar Bear, are founded on the ability to turn passions into business.

One specific approach, which has proven itself time and again for Michael, is to find somebody better than you and learn from them. Per Enevoldsen, the founder of Pandora, was always a source of inspiration.

Michael recalls that Per always saw things clearly and appreciated honesty and transparency. He didn’t want to take time to discuss the things that were going well. “Tell me about where we’re really struggling, so that we can improve,” is a phrase Michael heard often from Per, learned from and implemented in his style of thinking.

Today, Michael himself appreciates the opportunity to share his experiences and mentor younger people who are eager to achieve their goals. He feels a certain responsibility to take on this role but it’s also very rewarding to have the conversations.
“What often happens is that young people who seek you out need reasons for believing in themselves. If you can provide these reasons and then watch them take off, that’s very satisfying,” Michael says.

Hard work and dedication are cornerstones of Michael’s success, for sure, but kindness and honesty are equally important components. It is a firmly held belief among Michael and his family that it is rewarding to treat people with kindness and respect – as well as a recipe for long term success. Kindness and honesty are also essential when working to establish one of Michael’s key professional concepts: a great work environment.

“This is something I’m very passionate about, and it comes about when you not only claim to have respect for your colleagues but demonstrate that respect in your actions as a leader every day,” he says.

The family was established when Michael married Charlene and together, they have two children. Michael shares that people are sometimes surprised to discover their levelheadedness, when meeting the family.

“To me, this says a lot. I would think of it as a kind of moral bankruptcy if our success led us to change as people, to behave differently or have different values.

These values, commitment, dedication, kindness, honesty, and respect are who we are. Today, I’m proud to say, that I have a large group of old friends, with whom I have shared ups and downs since we were all very young. If I was a different person today, because of my success, I would no longer be close with this group of people, who are very important and dear to me. The professional accomplishments have enabled us to enjoy life and to contribute and help others, but it can never change who we are,” says Michael.

Charlene & Michael

Charlene Lund Petersen

Michael Lund Petersen


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