Grateful & Excited: Thank you!!

So finally we were able to reveal my new role and project this week, and I just have to thank everyone for such an amazing flood of warm and engaged feedback!

The idea of mobilizing all good forces to co-create the world’s best ecosystem for ocean entrepreneurs – with a special focus on impact/sustainability – has been a vision for 10 years. But now the role and timing was finally right.

I have missed my former life as entrepreneur, and within the Oslo Business Region sphere I feel that I can actually get to kick off an entrepreneurial project while being in a great organization. The best of two worlds…!

Just before we launched the news, I spotted a post by Richard Branson on Instagram, which I think really describes my past 6 months. It’s a great advise so I’ll share it with you:

I rested, and now I’m ready to kick ass with loads of engagement. We already received numerous enquiries from players who wants to team up and play a role in the ocean initiative- as well as some who wants to cooperate on sustainability across other sectors. I love the word of mouth effect, which will be extremely important in the collaborative work that lies ahead.

I also feel extremely grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received from the entire team of Oslo Business Region! I’ll share more in what we do and who’s who in the team later – but for now I can just say that it’s a really good group of nice, hard-working, down-to-earth guys who shares the same passion for entrepreneurship. Can’t wait to join properly!

Shipping media and social media has buzzed this week, and here’s some of the coverage. More than 30.000(!) read the press release on LinkedIn alone… And the coolest part – not a dime spent on PR agency..

Opp igjen – Med Passion For Ocean

Etter at jeg brente ut kruttet i fjor har jeg ikke stått på en scene. Jeg har blitt kvalm, stressa og fått pustevansker bare av tanken. Å snakke foran folk har stått for meg som et mareritt, fordi jeg hadde mistet selvtilliten helt og hadde kjørt meg helt tom.

I min nye rolle skal jeg stå masse på scener og profilere Oslo, Norge og de temaene jeg brenner mest for i hele verden! Og da var det på tide å ta tyren ved hornene, komme seg opp i salen igjen – bygge ny mestringsfølelse sakte men sikkert. Og jeg tror det beste man kan gjøre da er å være åpen om at man egentlig er litt redd, usikker og nervøs. Det er jo helt menneskelig. Og så må man bare prøve igjen da – opp igjen! – som vi sier til barna.

Da kunne jeg ikke tenke meg en bedre debut enn dagens foredragsfestival på Elvebakken VGS, i regi av heltene i Passion For Ocean! Fikk bare med meg en del av programmet, men det var råbra!!! Et utrolig viktig stykke arbeid for å engasjere ungdom og bygge kunnskap om miljø- og bærekraftsutfordringer knyttet til havet.

Jeg grugledet meg til å fortelle elevene om bærekraftig shipping, og hvilken rolle de kan spille i fremtiden. Og det gikk helt fint når jeg først sto der – jeg glemte selvbevissthet og husket at jeg bare er en budbringer – temaet jeg skulle snakke om er jo det som teller. Veldig godt å kjenne det gamle engasjementet boble ved å kunne dele tanker om hvilke utfordringer og muligheter bransjen har, og hvorfor vi trenger engasjerte flinke unge folk til å utforske uløste utfordringer og bygge fremtiden sammen med oss.

Nå gleder jeg meg til foredrag for PWC neste uke, Orkanger Oljeforum i mai, og turné til Canada, Buenos Aires og Rio i juni! Tusen takk til de fine folka på Elvebakken, for en god kur mot sceneskrekk og prestasjonsangst!

Jippi!! Og husk – save the date for årets Passion For Ocean-festival; siste helgen i august! Klikk på bildet for å komme til eventet på Facebook 🙂

Featured in Lloyd’s List: Sustainability & Diversity

I spent an hour of the family Easter vacation amidst sunny & snowy Norwegian mountains talking to Lloyd’s List journalist Anastassios, and you can check out what we discussed here (if you have a subscription for Lloyd’s List Maritime Intelligence).

So happy to see how maritime media is starting to increase the focus on diversity and equality- I’ll continue to use every opportunity towards the WISTA International Conference in Tromsø (23-26 October) to push this topic and the extremely important debates. Join me!

Countdown: New Job Announcement (!)

I’m so excited!! Counting down towards starting an amazing new job, where I can use all of my passion for the ocean industries, tech, sustainability, entrepreneurs, diversity and continue mobilizing for change!

After a really tough 2017, I felt it was important with a fresh start. But it wasn’t an easy decision to leave Nor-Shipping. I felt extremely insecure on my own capabilities and perceived value with potential employers. But I also know that change is important for us as human beings, and especially that sometimes you have to let go and jump from the diving board, even though it feels scary and you don’t think you’re ready. And that’s when cool things happen!

Yet still, my self confidence was totally wrecked after hitting rock bottom. I was all too aware that I probably hadn’t been super strategic to both go public with #MeToo and being open about the fact that I was burnt out. A person told me directly that it was a really bad move career wise, and that she would never have advised me to blog about #MeToo..

But I have never made my decisions based on what might be strategic for me personally. Probably a bit naive, but I’ve always chosen to challenge, provoke and use my voice for things I believe in.

Initiating debates on key challenges and things that you think should and must change will never guarantee popularity. It will put you at risk some times. People will laugh at you, talk behind your back, try to stop you or in some cases even get angry. They will try to belittle you, especially when they don’t understand you. That has never stopped me, because those are the things worth working for, worth changing.

And I hope by God that I will never end up as one of those who primarily care about securing their position, earnings, power and title at all cost. Instead of focusing on how they can contribute towards change, common equality and keep their integrity…

But I know that business life can be tough on those who don’t try to fit in, and I know for sure that many leaders still keep old fashioned perceptions on mental health and what they perceive as “weaknesses”.

So I fully understood what I believe was meant as a genuine advice, in terms of putting my self at risk career wise by opening up on the whole burnout and MeToo shabang while I was still partially out of order..

After the press release on my departure from Nor-Shipping, I was both surprised and shocked to experience that so many of my former business partners and customers were interested in getting me onboard. That’s the ultimate compliment after having worked quite closely with several of them through a number of years.

As the release went public, I had actually decided what to do next, based on the alternatives I had on the table. But less than 3 hours later, I had received 3 new enquiries, and then a few more the following days.. Several were so exciting that I had to spend time exploring them before making the decision.

And finally, a few weeks postponed I’ve made it – and I’m so excited that I can hardly sit still..

Can’t wait to share the news after Easter… But a hint is that I will be able to contribute even better than ever before, using my voice and heart to work for something I truly believe in – and continue making a difference. Not to mention, get to work with a lot of the people & organizations that I’ve known for many years.

Happy Easter and egg hunting everyone!! Now I’m heading off to the Norwegian mountains with my two Easter bunnies🐣🐥🐇

#WomenWhoMoveTheWorld #WISTA #WomenInShipping

Seychelles & African Shipowners Summit

Hoping to see many industry friends from across the African continent as I’ll be attending the African Shipowners Association’s summit in the Seychelles! Excited to explore the current developments in energy & ocean industries across the many coastal countries.

Thank you for the invite Funmi & co, can’t wait!

And hoping to see many of the amazing female leaders from the African shipping sector in Tromsø as we gather for the WISTA International Conference end of October.. True power!

#WomenWhoMoveTheWorld #WISTA #WomenInShipping

Amazon moving into shipping

Last week I drafted some input for Maritime CEO, preparing an interview focused on thoughts towards 2017. Today I discovered that one of my predictions actually just happened(!): “This is a business world entering into a stormy sea of shared economy, digital technology and where global non-shipping tech mastodons such as Amazon and Google may enter parts of our playing fields within a short time.”

For 2017 and onwards, we are taking on our responsibility as a leading arena for the maritime industry in a world that is undergoing several huge systemic shifts. At Nor-Shipping 2017 we seek to engage, provoke, challenge and inspire the industry, beyond what has ever been done before. We are raising the bar, linking our entire strategy to the UN’s Sustainability Goals and DNV GL’s report for the UN – Global Compact. We aim to connect shipping closer to the “outside world”, and will, to an even bigger extent, facilitate concepts linking our entire industry value chain to key developments in the global community. This probably sounds surprising, or even a bit crazy to many industry colleagues, but as shipping plays such a significant role in global trade, development and economy, we need to drive change and develop in accordance with the world we serve.

We’re quite often so busy interacting in our own little global bubble, and the segments we exist in, that we forget to keep up to speed with and learn from other industries. The full potential of our industry’s role will depend on our ability to demonstrate the positive change, value and opportunities we represent to society. Industrial structures, our capitalistic models and the balance of global power are currently challenged and undergoing processes of incremental change. In the global hunt for better and more sustainable solutions – not only limited to environmental ones, but optimizing the way we utilize any resource and capability – we see the need for industry players taking the front-seat and driving change focus in a way that will both support and resolve global headaches, while strengthening commercial opportunities.

This is a business world entering into a stormy sea of shared economy, digital technology and where global non-shipping tech mastodons such as Amazon and Google may enter parts of our playing fields within a short time. Next year, the leaders and executives who have actually realized this, and are aiming to be ahead of the game, should be sure to join us to share ideas, challenge accepted norms and be inspired at a key gathering for the global shipping community.

The parallel shifts of increased need for commercial and technical sustainability, and the transformative digital revolution, should not be considered negative, as they pose some huge opportunities for shipping and the maritime industry. They represent severe potential threats to the industry players that are stuck in current and traditional ways of thinking, and at the same time some fantastic opportunities for the bold ones, willing to turn established truths and mindsets upside down. At the same time, the race for the ocean space picks up speed. This will open up new industries and result in further customers and value creation for maritime players.

Our ambition for 2017 is to be the number one new exhibition experience. We are dedicating all of Hall A to industry players within the broad range of Sustainability & Disruptive Technology, offering an entirely different take on the full industry value-chain and creating an optimal arena for both owners, commercial actors and tech people to get familiar with the leading global tech disruptors.

 

For owners, commercial and financial players, we will launch innovative new meeting places and opportunities that fuel fresh ways of working across formal structures and established organisations. Shipping people need to review how the sharing economy mindset will “strike” and open up existing silos. We can choose to disrupt ourselves, or potentially be disrupted by completely new players.

 

We will also continue to go the extra mile to build a more diverse industry, strengthening targets and tools regarding female leaders and the next generation. Again, we will provide new ways of thinking across established structures, to lift and trigger the industry’s understanding of how critical it is to succeed with diversity and an entrepreneurial mindset, garnering talent from within and outside of our field. Through recent years, we have demonstrated our capabilities to address and promote issues that are discussed throughout all shipping clusters, at the same time coming up with specific tools to bridge some gaps and actively inspire the industry.

With a fantastic and dedicated team, we’re ahead of sales from two years ago, and have entered into some new and exciting strategic alliances. I am a firm believer in building bridges and cooperating with others to achieve more. As such, we have invited several new co-operational partners to the table, to create added value for our customers. Customer-driven innovation is key, and we have worked even closer with industry leaders to fine tune the concepts for 2017. I brought my core passion and drive for our industry’s key challenges with me into this role, aiming to provide new concepts, tools and arenas at a time when more than a few are struggling to calculate just exactly when and how the ongoing shifts will affect them. Being a genuine shipping nerd, I consider it valuable to have strong maritime competence within our team.

We are launching a Next Generation Advisory Board parallel to the current board of global top executives, as we believe in strengthening our function for the industry through customer-driven innovation.

And, for the first time, you will find an African (Sub-Saharan continent) pavilion at Nor-Shipping, supplemented with a week-long program on Africa, and a clear priority towards the world’s second biggest growth market. This is a result of a newly established MoU with the South African Maritime administration (SAMSA), creating an optimal platform for business players to identify the best partners and success factors. The general global focus has also been strengthened, both in relation to China and other leading powers, and the new hotspots that have slightly more challenging frameworks and conditions to operate in. Combining this thorough global focus with the leading capabilities of the Norwegian ocean clusters – in terms of spearheading green technology, commercial entrepreneurial mindsets as a key factor for change, and a level of expertise on the Ocean space that brings NASA to Norway – we are well positioned for introducing our global colleagues to the span of opportunities arising from this challenging period in shipping and world economy.

A Shell-shocked land: Shell in the Niger Delta

ImageImageDid you ever read The Other Hand (Little Bee) by Chris Cleave? In the first chapter, a young girl is being chased by militia after their brutal attacks on her village – a scene that could be taken directly out of Shell and Nigerian militaries´ blood-shed history in the Niger delta. It is a book I would recommend to anyone, and not only because of my great love for Nigeria…

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I wrote about Shell´s rape of the Niger delta and its inhabitants in a previous post a few years ago (Norwegian only, I´m afraid). Now I just received a tip from a friend, as there is one week left to sign petitions to force this global oil giant cleaning up their mess. I´ve signed the campaign, and encourage all others to do the same 🙂

Center for Constitutional Rights published the full report about Shell´s activities in Nigeria some years ago, describing their involvement in pollution, suppression, raids and finally – murdering innocents… The court case regarding the Niger Delta activist murders (incl. environmental activist and acclaimed writer Ken Saro-Wiwa) was settled in the U.S. in 2009, following a settlement where Shell paid up to get the case of the radar;

“Royal Dutch Shell, plc (Shell) began oil production in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in 1958 and has a long history of working closely with the Nigerian government to quell popular opposition to its presence in the region. From 1990-1995, Nigerian soldiers, at Shell’s request and with Shell’s assistance and financing, used deadly force and conducted massive, brutal raids against the Ogoni people
living in the Niger Delta to repress a growing movement in protest of Shell.

On November 10, 1995, nine Ogoni leaders (the “Ogoni Nine”) were executed by the Nigerian government after being falsely accused of murder and tried by a specially created military tribunal. Those executed were internationally acclaimed environmental and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, prominent youth leader John Kpuinen, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Saturday Doobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel
Gbokoo, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate and Baribor Bera. The detention, trial, and executions of the Ogoni Nine were the
result of collusion between Shell and the military government to suppress opposition to Shell’s oil operations in Nigeria. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), EarthRights International (ERI) and other human rights attorneys sued Shell for human rights violations against the Ogoni.”

Now, the focus is on the environmental aspects and long-term consequences of Shell´s Nigerian operations. Sign the petition now in your country to support an important cause. Here are the links;
Australia: http://foe.org.au/articles/2013-08-01…
Austria: https://www.global2000.at/shell-clean…
Denmark: http://noah.dk/energi/international-k…
Europe: http://www.foeeurope.org/shell-clean-…
France: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/Petition…
Germany: http://www.bund.net/shell and http://bundjugend.de/projekt/umwelt-s… ‎
Holland: http://www.milieudefensie.nl/oliewinn…
International: http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/lan…
Norway http://naturvernforbundet.no/energi/f…
Spain: http://www.sosclima.org/shell-%C2%A1l…
Sweden: http://www.jordensvanner.se/2013/shel…
UK http://foe.co.uk/campaigns/fair_futur…

Activist greetings, Birgit 🙂

Congratulations Tunisia!! Aftermath of the Arab Spring

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Just when you thought the Arab Spring had turned into a cold autumn…

Tunisia; last week your leaders took a great step for human rights and the environment. I am definitely putting you back on my destination list for places to re-visit!

Background; I was among the many who signed petitions, supported campaigns and followed the news updates of the early uprises of the Arab Spring when it first broke the surface. However, since 3 important female leaders received the Nobel Peace Price 2 years ago, we haven´t heard too many good news about the battles, losses and victories for the brave women of the Middle East and North African region.

But today, reading the latest update from Tunisia, my heart did some double beats! Following the revolution and thanks to some brave decision makers, the new Tunisian Constitution is quite unique! So while the new Norwegian government is taking small steps to reduce equality & women´s rights, its good to know that other countries are moving in the right direction.

Tunisia´s key achievements to be inspired by;

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  • Guaranteed equality between men and women
  • A constitutional mandate for environmental protection, only the third country in the world to do so
  • A declaration that health care is a human right, with preventative care and treatment for every citizen
  • democracy with civil laws that respects freedom of religion
  • An established right to due process and protection from torture

Not only does it support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, but it specifically states that the Tunisian state shall protect women´s existing rights and seek to support and further develop them. The government also takes on the responsibility to guarantee equal opportunities between men and women in all fields(!), and to achieve gender equality in the government. Not to mention, the state shall also take required measures to eliminate violence against women.

I am speechless, in awe, full of respect and admiration of this fantastic development! I want to applaud all the brave women (and men) who initiated the revolution and planted the first seeds of change, enabling this fantastic development.

A warm and happy hug & have a great weekend!

P.S.: For those of you who are a little bit more interested in human rights & environment than average, here are three highlights describing some of the most progressive of these guarantees:

1. Climate change Given the conservative attempts to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency and deny the very existence of climate change, it would seem improbable at best that the U.S. will mention conservation efforts in the Constitution anytime soon. But Tunisia has done just that. “Contribution to a sound climate and the right to a sound and balanced environment shall be guaranteed,” the constitution promises. “The state shall provide the necessary means to eliminate environmental pollution.” Given Tunisia’s location in the Maghreb, with portions of the country within the Sahara Desert, the state also is given custody over ensuring the “conservation and rational use of water” as one of its duties.

2. Health care Health care policy-making in Tunisia’s capital of Tunis has also managed to leapfrog that in Washington as of Monday. “Health is a right for every person,” the document announces, declaring that Tunisia shall “guarantee preventative health care and treatment for every citizen and provide the means necessary to ensure the safety and good quality of health services.” Even as the U.S. begins to implement the Affordable Care Act, and Republican governorsblock the implementation of the portions that expand Medicaid, the new Tunisian constitution promises “free health care for those without support and those with limited income.”

3. Women’s rights The new constitution also goes further than the American version in explicitly promoting women’s rights, a goal of the now-dormant push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. “The State shall commit to protecting women’s achieved rights and seek to support and develop them,” the constitution reads. “The State shall guarantee equal opportunities between men and women in the bearing of all the various responsibilities in all fields.”

The draft version also committed the government to try to balance the number of men and women serving in elected councils, which would far outstrip the current 82-17 split between the two in the U.S. Congress last year. Given thestruggle to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in the United States last year, it would seem that Tunisia has American beat there as well. “The state shall the necessary measures to eliminate violence against women,” the constitution guarantees.

4. Workers’ rights Tunisia’s laborers get a huge boost under the new constitution, particularly in comparison to their American counterparts. Under the terms of the document, the right to form trade unions in guaranteed along with all of the powers that grants laborers — including the ability to strike. Members of the army and security services are the one exception to this rule, while unions and all other political parties and associations are required to reject violence and abide by all areas of the law.

The constitution also promises that all citizens, male and female alike, shall “have the right to adequate working conditions and to a fair wage.” As the debate over raising the minimum wage kicks off anew in the U.S. — and women are still paid far less than their male counterparts for similar jobs — the Tunisian guarantees look almost idyllic.

http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4238?l=sAKAeuGMxPU

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2014/01/27/3206701/4-ways-tunisia-progressive-america/

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A blue Monday for the environment?

Last week, the UN environmental committee released the first part of their report. Stating that global warming with 95% certainty have been influenced by us. Still, some people dont acknowledge it. But even if disregarding global warming completely, any one of us must be able to grasp the bad and 120% proven real-life concequences of polluting our earth. Cancer. Death. Hunger & famines. Destruction of vulnerable/sensitive areas and their species. Lack of pure drinking water. Diseases. Rural tribes threatened by “modern” civilisation. To mention a few…
The new Norwegian government presented their 8 key projects this evening. Bearing the UN report AND common sense (!) in mind, I was shocked to see that the new governmental forces to drive Norway forward, whilst bragging about their focus on future prosperity and competitiveness for the value creating business, fail to understand the importance and future value of a strong, green focus. We already hold great potentials for a greener society (& industries) due to Norway’s geography and world-leading players within maritime/energy, and if they had any long-term focus, they’d understand how important it is to facilitate the utilisation of these. If we don’t act now, the next generation will pay the price. Both in terms of environmental challenges, and future lost business opportunities by letting us slow behind in the rapid development of competence and innovation within green business/technology. We already succeed a lot within these areas, when you look at the maritime & energy sectors. But the government could facilitate the green sustainable growth by leading the way in a long-term, dedicated effort. Look to Denmark. And even to China, with their strategy to achieve a significant share of energy produced as renewable within 2020 & 2030. It’s business!!

Erna & Siv; don’t be naive! Reconsider your priorities and jump on the green train today ! 😀

Spennende invitasjon til IMO!

 

 

 

Wow!! I dag dumpet en uventet mail inn i innboksen..!

IMO (International Maritime Organisation) er FNs organisasjon for maritime områder, tilsvarende WHO/WTO. De skal arrangere et stort internasjonalt symposium for fremtidens sjøsikkerhet i London 10-11 mars. Og så kommer det utrolige – de vil ha meg til å delta som foredragsholder og i en paneldebatt. Tildelt tema er “Fremtidens utfordringer for maritim næring”. Jeg skal altså ikke snakke om verken det å være jente, eller om å være ung/øke rekrutteringen. De ber meg spesifikt om “a view to providing a thought-provoking presentation on the economic, environmental and consumer forces impacting maritime industry and how such forces will drive future ship design and operations”. Spennende oppgave!

Fy søren så langt YoungShip har kommet på kun få år. Dette er fantastisk spennende, og ikke minst veldig motiverende. Det at en så sentral og topptung organisasjon som IMO nå fokuserer mot neste generasjon er rett og slett en liten revolusjon. Yngrebølgen? Jeg ser det i stadig flere fora; stadig nye dører åpnes for de yngre i bransjen. Vi tar YoungShip-bølgen av glede, og jeg tror vi kan lære de “eldre” mye fremover, samt inspirere dem aldri så lite.. 😉

Og så er det moro at jeg tydeligvis har fått ny tittel siden sist.. Må bare presisere at jeg absolutt ikke er Dr./Ph.D. – tvert i mot..

Enda mer moro er at arrangementet skjer 10-11 juni, som altså faller sammen med 100-årsmarkeringen av norske jenters stemmerett. Pippi Power!!!

IMO Invitation

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