With social distancing measures squarely in place, 50 AmCham Mentorship Program participants gathered virtually last Friday to launch a new season of the popular Patron-level program. With clear guidance from AmCham’s Katja Dahl Murphy on how to make the most of their mentor-mentee relationships, program participants were eager to find out who they would be paired with for the next nine months.
According to meeting guest presenter Aksel Reksten, General Manager at GE Healthcare’s 900-employee -strong subsidiary in Norway, “leadership programs, like AmCham’s Mentorship Program, are absolutely critical to developing the skills needed for an often very lonely position.”
Going on to detail his organization’s past production efficiency and global competition challenges, Reksten underscored that at GE, “every time we look for opportunities to improve upon business procedures, there is something that can be done. It is a never-ending process,” adding that “your team needs to be empowered to make changes.” These leadership lessons are especially poignant in addressing today’s unprecedented marketplace shifts.
In closing, Reksten noted especially for the program’s expat mentors that “there is no better place for return on technology investment than in Norway. It offers a highly qualified workforce, a stable, straightforward environment and solid relationships with all major international marketplaces.”
RiskPoint Managing Director and Partner Anette Fuglesang went on to specifically challenge program mentees during her guest presentation, stating, “To up-and-coming leaders, I say this: have the guts to take on challenging leadership roles!”
Such was the case for Fuglesang when, ten years ago, she received a call – out of the blue – from a former colleague to open a new subsidiary for RiskPoint in Norway. “My gut reaction was to say ‘no’ due to lack of skills and start-up experience.”
“But before I even opened my mouth, he said, ‘I don’t think you have the guts to do it.’ Then, my immediate reaction to his obvious challenge was ‘Just watch me!’ Today, we are 25 employees in Oslo and Bergen, writing a number of specialty lines of business. Failure was never an option!”
Given the abrupt changes for all businesses during the past several weeks, Fuglesang further noted, “Crisis reaction is all about people. Your first priority as a leader is to address employee uncertainty. Share your organization’s financials with your team – they deserve to understand your company’s position.”
The timely leadership insights openly shared by Reksten and Fuglesang resonated well with program participants, who expressed their enthusiasm for similar reflective dialogues over the coming nine months.
After the inspiring presentations, and based upon background input from all program participants, AmCham announced the cross-industry mentorship pairings for the 2020-21 program session. Including 50 representatives from 21 different organizations, it is the largest program group to date.