Senior Vice President IT of Cluster Sweden/Denmark/Iceland
“Go for it! You can reach your goals, just believe in yourself and fight!”
Every child has one role model when they are young; mine was our neighbor who was a senior manager. She inspired me with all the stories that she was telling me about her life and career. I knew that I wanted to become like her one day but I did not know how and which path I should take. After some time and after some work experience, I realized that a key element for a woman to have a good career is to have good education.
My first manager role in Schenker was in 2002, I was a Department manager within IT and I worked hard with my personal development to become a successful leader. Being a manager requires the ability to deal with many employees and to have good connection and communication with people. I think it was my advantage that I always had a good network and I was able to have great communication with my colleagues and staff. Few years later, in 2006, I became IT Development manager, meanwhile, I was invited to be part of the IT Board for Sweden, since my supervisor was thinking that I had an interesting and different view on things and that I was a “pusher”. It’s a strength to the company to have a diverse management team and my contribution was a different mind-set and perspective. That was the moment that I felt that being a qualified woman was an advantage for Schenker, because in IT sector, women are a minority and we all know that heterogeneous groups make the best performing teams. I worked hard throughout the years, I developed myself, I learned a lot, I was educated, therefore, it was not only because I was a woman, but I was a qualified woman and I could take over my new role and the responsibility.
In 2010, I became the CEO for Schenker Privpak, a subsidiary to Schenker Sweden with focus on e-commerce and B2C/C2C parcel business. It was a big step for me. The CEO of the company at the time called me and informed me that he was leaving and suggested me to apply to the position. A lot of colleagues around me started to encourage me to apply for that position as well. At that moment, I thought that it was too big of a step for me, too many hierarchical levels to step up, to become a CEO. I spent quite some time investigating the role and what it would mean to enter this role. This is very different for men and women, because when I talked to my male friends, they were changing positions/” moving up” without much thinking or investigating the role, but I needed to be sure of myself before I accepted the new role. I always knew that I can take on new challenges, solve things quicker and always bring new perspective but I always took my chance and time to investigate the role before I applied for it. One more important element of a successful career is talking to people. I talked to people, I listened to them, I got new ideas, opinions and information. I think without interacting with colleagues, friends and other managers, I couldn’t be able to make this career. And of course, a supportive boss is a success factor, and luckily all my Schenker bosses have been great!
Nowadays, I am more confident and I know my qualifications. But, of course, It takes time to develop yourself; no one knows exactly what life brings, but it`s important to take the chances. In my career path, sometimes I wish I could have planned my path in a more controlled way, but nevertheless, it turned out to be exactly how I wished for. I was lucky to have a supportive husband all along, who took a lot of responsibilities at home that gave me the opportunity to develop myself and focus on my career.
To conclude, I want to suggest young women out there, to not be afraid to take a step into the opportunity, because professional career is about making mistakes, asking, learning & developing. I believe that one of the most important elements of success is the willingness to learn and take on new challenges, it was my main “driver” in my career. I didn’t know this in the beginning of my career but when I look back I know that it helped in all the career steps that I took. Women should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and never go with the flow, try to have a rough career plan written down, this will make your career path clearer and easier to achieve. And be part of the team, especially when you are in a higher position. It might be one of the reasons why in top positions, there are less women, since it’s hard to enter “the inner circle” when you are a minority. But, Hey! Women are ambitious so take the chance if you are in the right place, at the right time with the right people, because this is where career development starts. Be ready to take new challenges; I know that I am.