“What advice do you wish you had gotten when you started your career?”

Helena Stjernholm
CEO, Industrivärden

“To succeed, you must pursue something for which you have a sincere passion. Try to find opportunities where you can truly contribute with visible results. Whether you are applying for a job or working in a full-time position, spend some time understanding the broader picture and the challenges faced by the employer. Then, look for assignments where you can play a crucial role. Last, but not least, choose a good manager who wants you to succeed. No matter how good you are, it is hard to succeed without a supportive boss.”


Anna Malmhake
CEO, The Absolut Company

“If I could go back in time and give my 25-year-old self some advice, I would say, ‘See your career as a marathon; not a sprint.’ Forget perfection this week, and focus on your ability to perform over the long haul. Respect the balance between work and rest, and do not get too upset about minor setbacks. Also, I would have told myself the importance of building strong friendships at work, which as a highly enjoyable endeavor, shapes you to become a better person plus makes for the highpoints of any career.”


Natalia Brzezinski
CEO, Brilliant Minds

“To me, the groundbreaking nature of an entrepreneur or female leader often conflicts with the traditional mold or ‘advice’ shared by a different generation. What worked for older professionals may not apply in our fast-evolving world. While experience and big community of supporters can help you succeed, you also need to trust yourself in knowing what serves you best. After seeing how many criticisms are often veiled as advice, I wish that my younger self would know when to take advice and when to follow my gut and heart.”


Bodil Eriksson

CEO, Volvo Car Mobility

”First, I must say that today’s young professionals are much more aware and mature than I was in my twenties. Yet, if I were to share any knowledge that has helped me over the years, it would be the the impact of ownership structure. The business logic and culture is impacted if you are a listed company; cooperative or family run business. Another is the importance of your manager’s leadership values. Ultimately, you want to grow and develop your business persona, so it is important to choose a boss that can help you.”


Marissa Shorenstein
President, Northeast at AT&T

“There are several things I wish I had known. I wish I was told at an early age about female empowerment. Rather than shying away from the concept, it should be embraced. I wish I had recognized that being a role model does not mean achieving perfection—one can try to do it all while sharing the challenges. However, what I am glad I learned is the importance of paying it forward. We must nurture tomorrow’s female leaders and provide them with the necessary tools for confidence and success.”


Fredrika Gullfot
CEO, Simris Alg

”I wish somebody would have told me to get assistance with administration and similar tasks. Too many women, including myself at younger age, fall into the ’good girl trap’ and spend a lot of time keeping things neat and tidy, rather than focusing on results and developing executive skills. When I founded Simris Alg I made sure to hire other people to keep my paperwork and books in order, rather than wasting time on something I am frankly quite bad at. Focus on your core areas of expertise and get help where needed.”


Charlotte Erkhammar
CEO, Kreab

“My ideal advice would consist of several parts. First, learn from a boss whom you respect, since that is how you will become a better boss yourself. Second, if you do not feel comfortable with your position; colleagues; and the working atmosphere, leave and move on to something else. Third, surround yourself with people who know other things better than you do. Remember: Do not get stressed over minor things. As always, sleep on it first and act later if you are upset. Finally, learn to be a good listener by listening before you speak.”


Barbara Annis
CEO, Gender Intelligence Group

“I wish somebody would have told me what not to do as a female executive. If I had known these pitfalls—not making bold requests; avoiding being too self-promotional or being too hard on myself; believing that recognition is only directly related to hard work; taking on grunt work as opposed to something more high-profile—it would have saved me from many costly mistakes. At the end of the day, women should show their authentic self and stop trying to fit into the male-driven society. There are many powerful female qualities that could enrich a successful business in a remarkable way.”



The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce (SACCNY) produces and publishes well-read articles which reach the Chamber’s entire membership and extended. Content is focused on Swedish-American business and ranges from in-depth interviews with industry leaders to topical articles relevant to startups and young entrepreneurs.


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