Europeisk Miljøhovedstad 2019: Oslo rocker mangfold i år, og DU er invitert!

2019 er året hvor vi går fra prat til handling! Vi feirer Miljøhovedstadsåret og Kvinnedagen med å løfte blikket fra MeToo og over til banebrytende initiativer som vil akselerere mangfold og likestilling i Oslos næringsliv.

5. mars er det klart for State of the City 2019 i OsloRådhus , med et stjernelag av dyktige endringsagenter på scenen!

Møt Oslos nye næringsbyråd, Marthe Scharning Lund, sammen med Raymond Johansen, Lan Nguyen Berg, innovative ledere fra bl.a Microsoft, Nordea og EY, spennende gründere som Javad Mushtaq, Kimberly Larsen, Heidi Aven og Tobias Bæch – og kvinnen som har tatt norske SHE Index til verdens nest største marked for å akselerere likestilling i indisk shipping; prisvinnende Sanjam Gupta.

Vi er stolte av å introdusere en rekke nyheter i forkant av årets Kvinnedag!

5 Mars kl.17-19 – Hovednyheter og lanseringer under State of the City 2019:

  • Rangering av Oslos posisjon og utvikling på viktige områder knyttet til innovasjon og verdiskaping, målt opp mot andre byer internasjonalt. Basert på et tungt internasjonalt datagrunnlag, gir rapporten et verdifullt innblikk i Oslos internasjonale posisjon og utvikling. I år følger også ekstra dybdeinnsikt i hvordan Oslo presterer innen to felt; veksten i grønn økonomi, og mangfold/inkludering.
  • Oslo Business Region har gleden av å lansere en verktøykasse for mangfoldsløft i næringslivet, med MAK, Seema, HunSpanderer og SHE Community. Fra 2019 stiller Oslo Business Region krav til alle samarbeidspartnere og Oslos næringsliv om å bidra inn mot et av disse verktøyene, eller tilsvarende initiativ som fremmer likestilling og mangfold
  • SHE Community, med globale partnere EY & Microsoft, lanserer SHE Index Global, med en av verdens mest mannsdominerte næringer (shipping) og 800 indiske selskaper som første pilot. Prosjektet støttes av indiske og norske myndigheter, UN Global Compact, Microsoft, EY og en rekke av verdens største shippingselskaper (bl.a. Maersk, CMA CGM og DP World i India). Samarbeidet med India har kommet igang gjennom Oslo Business Region
  • Lansering av Diversity & Inclusion Pledge for ledere og bedrifter, ved Javad Mushtaq i MAK
  • SHE Community lanserer SHE Index SMB & Startup edition, en indeks som måler og sammenlikner bedriftenes innsats på likestilling og mangfold. Indeksen er utarbeidet etter oppfordring fra Oslo Business Region

Mangfold, miljø og fremtidig konkurransekraft!

Hvorfor styrker vi satsningen på mangfold i næringslivet? Oslo Business Region og Miljøhovedstaden 2019 har valgt ut Europas største mangfoldskonferanse – SHE Conference 6.mars – som en av hovedarenaene for Miljøhovedstadens næringslivsprogram. Det er ikke tilfeldig. Mangfold og inkludering er en helt sentral premiss for å lykkes med å nå FNs Bærekraftsmål, og bidra til fremtidens Oslo med smarte, bærekraftige arbeidsplasser som styrker byens internasjonale konkurransekraft. 

Målsetningen bak nye initiativ og krav er økt oppmerksomhet, bredere og bedre datagrunnlag og raskere endringstakt for likestilling og mangfold i Oslos næringsliv. Ved å stille tydelige krav, bidrar vi også til å skape et større og bredere marked for Oslos gründere som utvikler verdifulle løsninger og innovasjon på et område hvor Oslo kan innta en internasjonalt ledende posisjon, og være europeisk mangfoldshovedstad. Vi ser på mangfold og likestilling som et felt hvor Oslo kan lede an i eksport av løsninger og samarbeid til et internasjonalt marked.

Intervjumuligheter:

  • Byrådsleder Raymond Johansen
  • Oslos nye næringsbyråd Marthe Scharning Lund
  • Miljø- og samferdselsbyråd Lan Marie Nguyen Berg
  • Microsofts EVP for Global Partner Network, Gavriela Schutzer (Global partner med SHE Index, ansvarlig for P&L av $6.5B og leder en global portefølje som influerer over $1 trillion omsetning i økosystemet) 
  • Nordea Head of Wealth Mgt & CEO Norway, Snorre Storset og Thina Saltvedt (lanseringen av Nordea 1 Global Gender Diversity Fund) 
  • Styreleder, SHE Community, Camilla Hagen Sørli (SHE Community)
  • MD of The Perkins Fund, Founder of Broadway Angels, Sonja Perkins (Investeringer i tech)
  • Managing Partner EY Norway, Christin Bøsterud (SHE Index)
  • Professor Tim Moonen, MD, The Business of Cities (Oslos globale posisjon og rangering)
  • Javad Mushtaq, gründer – MAK (Diversity & Inclusion Pledge)
  • Sanjam Gupta, indisk shippingdirektør, likestillingsgrunder & pådriver av SHE Index India
  • Birgit M. Liodden, Director of Sustainability, Ocean & Comm., Oslo Business Region (Miljøhovedstadens næringsprogram og nye mangfoldstiltak)
  • Heidi Aven, gründer – SHE Community
  • Kimberly Larsen, gründer – Time to Riot
  • Tobias Bæch, gründer – Bakken & Bæch

Oslo Business Region, Miljøhovedstaden & partnere inviterer til ytterligere én viktig lanseringsarena kommende uke SHE Conference – Equality Matters (6 mars).

SHE satser modig, og bygger Europas største mangfoldskonferanse, som er valgt ut som en hovedarena for næringslivsprogrammet til Miljøhovedstaden 2019, med Gro Harlem Brundtland, Siv Jensen og Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Elisabeth Grieg og ca 70 ledere & eksperter på programmet. 

Under konferansen organiserer Oslo Business Region og Miljøhovedstaden en parallelsesjon om Partnerskap for Mangfold & Inkludering, sammen med et bredt antall samarbeidspartnere fra Oslos næringsliv; Polyteknisk Forening, MAK, Næring for Klima, Maritime Oslo, WISTA Norway, Professional Women’s Network, m.fl.

Pressekontakter:

Birgit M. Liodden, Kommunikasjonsdirektør, Oslo Business Region: tlf. 951 71 389 birgit@oslobusinessregion.no

Marianna Wachelke, Komm.koordinator, Oslo Business Region: tlf. 906 21 687 mari@oslobusinessregion.no

Ninja Sandemose, Pressekontakt Byråd for næring og eierskap: tlf. 907 957 60 ninja.sandemose@byr.oslo.no

Behind the scene…

This will definitely be the most surreal post I’ll ever share. Pinching my arm, I don’t think that I’ll actually realize this until I leave the stage next Wednesday, during Oslo Innovation Week and Oslo Business Forum.

Exactly one year ago I was burned out flat, had social anxiety and panic attacks. I felt completely inadequate, useless and my self-confidence was non-existing… All I wanted to do was crawl into a dark hole and hide from the world. What a difference a year makes.. Not the year in itself; but a year of true friends offering support and openness, time in nature, my kids, silence, an amazing psychologist and her toolbox of mental exercises..🙏🏽

It’s when you hit the bottom that you see the true faces of people around you. Some are only there in fair winds and sunny weather. That can be pretty tough to realize when you feel completely skinless. But it’s a good and humbling lesson.

I’m forever grateful for those of you who were there for me in many different ways and forms. Who provided support, time and friendship through a really rough patch – instead of pulling the rug from under my feet.. Who shared your weaknesses and fears, so that I didn’t feel so alone in mine.

Sorry if this post come across a bit touchy-feely, but I don’t believe in just sharing the perfect facade – and the contrast of this date last year and this year feels so enormous. Somehow everything I went through last year was necessary, as it opened some new doors mentally as well as physically.

So I’m reflecting quite a bit over this, filled with an overwhelming gratitude for the genuine people that I’m so lucky to have in my life.

I really don’t take any of you for granted…

And if you don’t know me and read this, I hope that it can be a reminder that behind most of the people who appear strong and “successful” when you swipe through the feed, there’s usually also a lot of struggles, scars and hardship that we don’t talk about so much, and most often a lot of insecurities that we try to hide.

This one goes to all who dare to be open, also when things aren’t so good.. And to those who are in a struggle just now. Hang on, just breathe and keep hope.

Sharing is the best survival tool we’ve got❤️

Take care!

PS; The Oslo Innovation Week Code of Conduct works pretty well across life in general .. It’s so basic and called by many names – Ubuntu, the Golden Rule, etc.. #BeNice

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..

Water Lovers! Ocean Friendly Sunscreen❤️

Love the beach but don’t want to screw up the ocean ecosystem? Check this out! No more messing up coral reefs & seabed with chemicals from your sun lotion.

I just spoke about sustainable shipping at the Passion For Ocean lecture festival, and discovered something that will enable me to enjoy the beach with a better conscience!

Biotherm launched ocean friendly sunscreen last year, and I can’t believe I didn’t discover it until now…?! I will be changing my products ASAP and encourage you to do the same! (PS: this post isn’t sponsored- just fueled by pure excitement!!)

20 April I’m heading to the Seychelles for the African Shipowners Association’s Annual Summit. Obviously you need to cover up or wear sunscreen, and I couldn’t stand the thought of messing up the local ecosystem..

As I know this is a concern to many of you, check out this info about Biotherm’s products and their cooperation with environmental superhero Sylvia Earle!

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!

An Asset More Profitable Than Oil… #TEDtalk

Before introducing a really good TEDtalk; Did you know that Norway has made billions based on women’s participation in the labor market? Without the increase in female workers, Norway’s onshore GDP would have been 3.300 BNOK lower than it is today.

The average onshore GDP growth in our country has been around 2% annually, and around 10% of this is due to increased use of labor force. This growth primarily comes from female workers.

In other words, assets similar to the entire Norwegian Oil Fund would have been lost if Norwegian women’s labor participation was as low as in the OECD average. Recent research conducted in Norway also shows that if women worked as much as men during the past 40 years, this would have added a 2.300BNOK profit to the economy. To wrap it up; women is good business!

The world finally starts realizing that investing in women is profitable. Japan and South Korea are both at the bottom of the OECD gender equality index. And sharing some key similarities beyond geographical region; masculine cultures, negative financial development and low birth rates. Both needs to boost their economies, and look to Norway & the Nordics for inspiration on how to grow their BNP through increased inclusion of women in the workforce.

A few years ago, I shared my thoughts on innovation & leadership at the Global Woman Leaders Forum in Busan, South Korea. Leaders from across North East Asia were gathered, and I was quite surprised to realize how much focus they had on Scandinavia experiences/models, and the amount of inspiration this region found in what we’ve done in the Nordic/Scandinavian countries.

Being born during the past decades, as a woman in a developed country, is like winning a global lottery. We have access to education & opportunities our female ancestors couldn’t dream of, and hold the opportunity of choosing our own spouse – or to remain single and independent. We can change the future of our children, and of our societies. But still, there is a long way to go.

My hope for the future is that this opportunity and freedom applies for all women across the world in the future. Without thinking that my own culture is better than other cultures, it’s clear that many countries haven’t yet succeeded in achieving & realizing the potentials brought by equal opportunities. Cultural change takes time, and we need inspiration and proof representing success stories.

Hence, I think that a lot of the Nordic models and experiences on gender equality and workforce robustness can be adjusted to fit other cultures, mixed with new thoughts from across regions and serve as great inspiration for other countries (in completely different parts of the world) who wants & needs to innovate and succeed with a bigger employment rate within their societies.

And as leaders of an increasing number of countries work hard to utilize this potential, I wonder how shipping corporations can adapt the same understanding, linking gender inclusion, best practice sharing and economical growth.

Who will be the diversity champions, demonstrating increased productivity, competitiveness and bottom line results? Which male leaders will contribute in driving this change? When will it be mainstream to realize that investing in women is a good business case? If you still doubt me I would advise you all to check out an excellent diversity front runner – AliBaba! Founder Jack Ma claims female executives are his secret sauce to success.. (China is by the way doing a lot of interesting things in general when it comes to succeeding with diversity, spearheading Asia on this issue…)

With this backdrop I recommend spending some minutes watching this excellent TEDtalk by Norwegian politician Hadia Tajik.

Introduction: “Can you put a price tag on oil? Of course you can. But can you put a price tag on women? Hadia Tajik asks the important question, what is the female workforce worth to the society.”

Norway’s youngest Minister ever shares valuable insights on why and how society can capitalize on 50% of its talents. A thought-provoking TEDx talk for shipping leaders.

In TradeWinds: Making Fair Play Pay💰

About time that the industry’s leading newspaper #TradeWinds starts looking into the gender equality issues – I hope it continues!

Super happy to share my thoughts on this important topic. What they didn’t include is that I also told the journalist that a global tool for the industry to explore, track and measure segments/companies’ current state and eventual performance improvements, would be a superb opportunity for an organization like DNV GL or other global big-data collectors to grasp.

I fully recognize that it might be complex and difficult for smaller shipping companies to work on their data in a meaningful way, but that’s also why I aim to identify and share a vast span of gender equality tools with our industry; no matter the size and type of company I’m willing to bet that there are creative and smart ideas used by other companies that could do the trick for yours!

PS; A few fact errors in the article (e.g. Nor-Shipping is a partner on WISTA Int Conference, not in my project. And the speculations on new role not completely correct😉)

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

100 Tools for Gender Equality: No.2 – Clear KPI targets

I’m super excited to hear what kind of specific gender equality targets and KPIs your company have in place! And are they linked to your bonus schemes?

We measure leaders and organizations on pretty much everything these days. We link KPIs to areas that we perceive to be critical for our financial and operational performance, representing a competitive advantage or alternatively risk exposure. Supply chain performance, environmental performance, financial performance, efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction – you name it!

We usually define these areas and KPIs primarily based on the need to create profit, (even though some spearhead companies also want to perform ethically responsibly) – and that’s the beauty of succeeding with diversity. It pays off!! So even if you don’t care shit about gender equality – educate yourself and get to work if you want to improve your financial returns…!

“Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” (McKinsey – Diversity Matters)

Performance-based incentives based on how you deliver on a range of specific and measurable KPI targets is quite common. But we also know that people in tend to put just a little bit extra effort into the areas that they’re measured on. Not only due to eventual bonus triggers, but also because a specific KPI targets provides a shared focus and direction from top mgt. – it’s clear for everyone what we want to achieve.

Hence, an efficient tool for an organization who wants to succeed in building better diversity, is to identify measurable KPIs on recruiting and retaining females. They could be linked to individual or collective bonus schemes, but they can just as well work based on a clear commitment from the board and mgt team – through all layers of the organization.

I’ve included some good examples of gender equality related targets and KPIs used among some maritime companies. Feel free to share other examples with me – this is not a “one size fits all” solution.

DNB: All leaders are responsible for identifying a top male and female candidate before final selection, in recruitment and reorganization processes. When recruiting leaders, there are clear requirements to identify female candidates and actively encourage them to apply. When planning changes in mgt.teams, leaders have to ensure specific focus on improving gender balance. 50% female participants on internal leadership and talent programs. Minimum 40% female candidates on the lists of successor candidates for business critical positions. Works towards ensuring 50% female lawyers within their legal department.

Siemens: Clear target to increase the ratio of female leaders within technical roles, project execution and sales from 12% to minimum 20% within a five year period. Identify key important leadership criteria, and conduct structured development initiatives for women related to these criteria. Ensure that 50% of the seats in their talent program are offered to females. Siemens has also defined a specific target for recruitment; at least 20% females among the group of newly educated.

Here’s a useful video on a gender target-setting toolkit from Australia. This presentation from Dr Graeme Russell shows organisations how to set gender diversity targets using the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s target-setting tool.

Download the target-setting tool from the Workplace Gender Equality Website

I’m super excited to hear what kind of specific gender equality targets and KPIs your company have in place! And are they linked to your bonus schemes?

Have a great week!

#WomenWhoMoveTheWorld #WISTA #WomenInShipping

When work equals passion!

To me, nothing is more rewarding than being able to work on a variety of progressive and innovative projects that corresponds with my personal values and beliefs. Experiencing that in my own small ways, I contribute towards something good. It adds purpose to life 😃  

Getting paid doing what I’m passionate about, makes me feel extremely fortunate. I work quite a bit, and often cannot prioritize more than work and family, but still I don´t think of my professional obligations a drag, rather it´s the opposite – I don´t find enough hours in the week to do everything that I´d like to achieve. 

Combining a quite global career with two small kids, doesn´t really leave much time for traditional hobbies. But the ownership and passion I have for my job, actually makes most of it feel exactly like dedicating my time to a hobby.. Reaching a hairy goal, delivering above expectations, having a passionate dialogue with someone in a meeting, experiencing that bubbly feeling of excitement before a presentation. A few examples of small and bigger elements that really fuels my batteries!

From my experience, I think you can create (and grow) this type of motivation in any job. I guess I always got just a bit more involved than average in any job I´ve had, even while working behind the counter of a Shell station or other “routine” jobs that I had in the earlier stages of my career. Taking pride in contributing towards others, delivering above expectations. 

Taking pride in the work you do, no matter where in the organisation you´re based or which level you´re at, is something I really believe makes a difference. I think that personal drive, purpose and a sense of ownership is a much stronger factor for success and deliverables than any bonus scheme, salary raise, status, title or perks. That same drive and purpose is also a huge strength when we experience challenges at work, or go through rough periods in our personal lives.

Life is rarely just smooth sailing. It brings along some hardship we cannot influence – which we just have to tackle – and other things that we can actively influence along the way. Our attitudes and taking responsibility for one’s own behaviour and happiness is something we can influence quite a lot. My personal view is that each and every one of us has a responsibility for motivating ourselves, and finding some element of purpose in life. As well as contributing as a positive resource towards those around us. Both aspects helps quite a lot in creating a platform for a life far better than money can ever buy, and beyond the more superficial layers of our society.

That’s some unfiltered thoughts from my side. So how about you? How do you motivate yourself and others around you?

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Diversity – Beyond gender!

A tribute to Sunu, Rani and Iman: Growing up in Norway, my path to independence and creating a safe, healthy life for myself and even with an challenging, exciting career to top it off, is like running a marathon but starting 1km before the finish line, while most of the others have to run the whole distance. Even as a school drop-out entering an industry without any ties or network to begin with. You don’t work anywhere near as hard as them to get the same opportunities.

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Norway still has a way to go, as the development here stagnated for a while, probably because we were given a false impression that equal opportunities were already accomplished, following the doors opened by the first female Prime Minister. However, through the past years we suddenly became alert of the retaining gap and refuelled the focus on diversity and the efforts pursuing equal opportunities. Partly, I would assume, due to the fact that several granted rights were threathened and challenged, as our new governments started off on a different and slightly negative path. But subsequently also due to the fact that our two eminent female role models, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Fishery, has taken an active stand – talking directly and openly of the fact that the private sector needs to clean its act and achieve better diversity.

Their voices and messages are important. Too many other voices try to silence the debates, claiming that we already have “everything” and shouldn’t complain. That we’re lacking solidarity, and should rather focus on what we could do for women in regimes suppressing them. Voices trying to explain the lack of gender balance on executive levels with the women’s (gender based) lack of will to take on leadership roles, and that we should allow them to choose freely rather than pushing women into high level roles.

Well, guess what; I don’t agree with those latter voices. Imbalance doesn’t provide basis for actual choices, neither does unconcious bias and fingers pointed at hard-working mothers (accusing them of sacrifying their kids’ wellbeing for the sake of a career). And many fathers don’t get to choose freely either; who said it should be their responsibility to take the heavier burden as breadwinner of the family? Real choices require real balance.

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Speaking of solidarity; if we stop pursuing equal opportunities, who will inspire our friends in other regions? If we step down, will it be easier for them to step up? If we don’t demonstrate the capabilities as leaders and experts not being based on your gender, who will slowly shift the mindsets of their male counterparts?

Women in business are important role models, both for younger girls in their own community and for girls and women in other communities. Not to mention, for the conservative male (or female) leaders in power positions.

The leader path needs to be walked on to stay open, and we are responsible for not only keeping it open but also widening it for the girls and women entering in our forstod. Women in business also hold the responsibility to look over our shoulder, to see if there’s someone following the same path. And then inviting that someone to walk beside us rather than increasing the distance between us, generously sharing our own experiences and insights.

Our responsibility is to provide mentoring, enable and inspire others to join our journey – which is both challenging and exciting!

In my case, I made a very conscious decision to focus specifically on mentoring and supporting talents from backgrounds and regions outside of Norway. This is under-utilized potential, and the lack of ability to ensure sufficient diversity also across cultures, religions and ethnisity is damaging our prosperity and opportunities for the future. I find the role of mentoring to be just as rewarding and developing for myself as its supposed to be for the mentee. I get extremely inspired and motivated through the small achievements and mental journeys we travel together – growing new perspectives, insight and reflections while I share my existing ones. My goal is to motivate and support, trying to push and challenge them to reach beyond their comfortable zone and pursue opportunities they thought beyond reach.

I try to make sure that I pay forward what some of my role models and mentors/inspiration sources have given me along the way; a nudge, a challenge, an advise, an acknowledgement of which potential I see in them. Tools to provide better self-confidence and turn risk into reward.

This post to mark the Women’s Day is specially dedicated to three younger women who inspire me;

Rani from Karachi, for your amazing journey pursuing your life mission to teach others

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Sunu from Kerala, for your quest and adventure exploring the world of green ship recycling

And to my newest acquiantance, Iman from Djibouti – I’ve just barely started to get to know you, but I’m already convinced that your strong will, intelligent perspectives and hard work will get you exactly where you need to go.

I’m cheering for you all – inspired and humble! Girls like you make me very optimistic for the future!

Happy International Women’s Day everyone – use it to support and drive change for the better!

Through Nor-Shipping, we’ve also celebrated this day launching a new initiative to promote and champion the most powerful and influental female leaders of global shipping. More visible role models for the next generation!

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Birgit

 

Thoughts on Talents & Growth

Today the digital Norwegian business magazine E24.no presented its annual ranking of Top 100 young leadership talents, from the entire span of industries. Good representation from our industry, with TeamTankers’ brilliant CFO Andreas Reklev awarded Finance Ace of the year.

A huge thank you to Christoffer for nominating me this year! I was (positively) shocked to make the short-list of Bridge-Builder of the Year. Especially as I just recently started in my new job, and haven’t proven anything yet. Definitely, this ads some extra pressure – and motivation – moving forward… 😉

The speaker from Norwegian Business school shared some great thougts on how we perceive talents; Talent and leadership should not be considered as static (=you got it or you don’t), but as something you can nurture and grow. If you as a leader evaluate or categorize your team members based on the former, you will make them stagnate and probably get your initial views confirmed. But if you identify the strengths and growth potentials within each individual colleague/team member, and seek to support and enable those to develop, you have the recipe for a healthy, trust-based environment where all can thrive and contribute so much more.

Value-based leadership and room for learning by failing – the key message 😊

Enjoy your weekend! // Birgit      
 

When a personal crisis hits you – how do you handle it as a leader?

thin string

This is something I reflected a bit on earlier today, as I´ve experienced many different leaders throughout my 16 years of working in various fields and roles. The personal situation of a leader will affect the organisation and co-workers one way or the other, so what is the best approach?

The traditional way, of course, is to keep it together and pretend all is well. Separate business from your personal life. A leader is someone the others need to look up to, a person who has to be strong and able to handle anything – both personal or professional challenges. Also, it could create insecurity in the organisation, or even worse, someone could try to take advantage of the situation and jump for your position. So better keep your mouth shut and keep your personal challenges to yourself. Right?

leadership pillars

Well…. I don´t completelly agree (of course). My experience, both as a co-worker and a leader, is that openness is always the best approach. It might cost you a bit more, ´cause displaying your weaknesses or vulnerable situation can be tough. Ifyou see that you are put in a situation where you´re not likely to perform as usual, people tend to read some signals even if you don´t share. That´s what creates insecurity. Also, it might be that during a difficult period in your personal life, you might react quite differently than you normally would; with irritation, anger, sarcasm, lack of patience, sadness, silence, mood swings, etc. Those kind of reactions are much easier to deal with for those around you if they know and understand why. Opening up towards your co-workers also brings the potential for several positive benefits;

  1. Easier to delegate, share workload and reduce the pressure you´re facing
  2. Reduces the extra stress of having to wear a mask, trying to pretend all is fine
  3. Increases the co-workers trust and confidence in you, by showing that you´re human and that you trust them
  4. Provides extra opportunity of others getting to test & demonstrate their capabilities
  5. Strengthens the shared team feeling “Yes, we can!”
  6. Reduces the risk of negative impact for the organisation/corporation, as it´s less probable that your situation and eventual errors/uncompleted tasks will affect the everyday work. You are not, after all,irreplacable – others cancoveryour areas just as well
  7. Increases the probability that co-workers will feel confident enough to be open in return when they´re facing a challenging situation,which again will reduce risks ref. to deliverables & reaching targets
  8. Builds a better fundament for respect, openness and honesty – which in turn creates so much more loyalty than any salary increase or bonus scheme

innovation-needs-a-culture-of-trust-and-openness-to-flourish

My message here is simple. I have a strong belief that we all perform best if we are trusted and treated with empathy. If we experience that our co-workers and leaders truly wants the best for us, want each other to prosper and grow, and that it´s not expected to be flawless or “perfect”, we don´t need to wear a mask at work. It´s so much easier to be ourselves, and so much better for creative processes and the ability to innovate and create change.

trust openness

This requires that you as a leader leads by example; displaying your own challenges, weaknesses and eventual limitations to expect ref. to availability and job performance – daring to share

who you really are as a person. And being generous – utilizing the situation to allow the people you´re working with to take on new tasks/responsibilities, test their limits, grow and develop to hopefully be even better at it than you. It requires that you know yourself well enough to dare let go of control (which is just an illusion anyway…), and it requires some level of confidence. Don´t be afraid to let others outshine yourself. A good leader has the talent of bringing out the best potentials in others – that is what defines you as a leader.

On my part, I am far from perfect. I can be impatient, too quick at concluding when I get a “great” idea, and I get really frustrated and annoyed if people don´t deliver what we have agreed (unless they are open and let me know in advance, so that we can actually re-plan and shift priorities). Also, for better and worse, I am really direct and can definitely step on people´s toes unintended. I expect a lot from my self, and almost as much from others. And I expect people I´m working with to be self-driven, meaning that once we´ve made plans and delegated responsibilites & tasks, I expect not having to be a baby-sitter. I can definitely be quite tough, and have been working a lot trying to adjust my style to various personality types. It´s a never-ending process, where you also learn a lot. We never know the perfect approach, but as long as we try our best and aim for an open and trust-ful environment, I still think miracles can happen… 😉

lead-learn

Including personal example of my way of handling a difficult time 2 years ago; My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was still Chairing the YoungShip Oslo branch (while being Secretary General of YS International). The timing was not the best, as it was in the final preparations for the general assembly, budgets and re-elections, with a lot of deadlines and deliverables. I knew my limitations, and understood that I had to delegate the work that I couldn´t handle on my own. The mail is in Norwegian, but basically explains the situation and how this effects me personally and professionally. I had talked to several before sending the mail, agreeing some new responsibility splits and identified the capacity of the others; so I also listed the key most important areas and tasks that had to be handled, and asked the great team of board members I was working with to let me know which areas they wanted to take over. It all went really well, thanks to their dedication and team-work, and I felt so relieved in letting go of the responsibility at that specific time, knowing it was all in the best hands possible.

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