Q2 Event: Communicative Excellence - a Leadership Imperative

The Q2 edition of Rising Leaders focused on communication, with ReputationInc’s Dennis Larsen and the US Embassy’s Patrick Martino leading participants through a highly engaging afternoon session at AmCham’s offices.

Larsen, ReputationInc Oslo’s Managing Partner, spoke with program participants about the critical relationship between leadership and communication, highlighting the role of storytelling in connecting with target audiences. Martino then took participants through a crash course in international networking, drawing on over a decade of experience as a US diplomat.

Speaker Profile

Dennis Larsen – ReputationInc

Dennis has been a consultant to ReputationInc for more than a decade and is Managing Partner of ReputationInc Oslo. He is based in Oslo and London and serves clients internationally.

With an MSc in economics and MBA in Corporate Communications (with honours), Dennis’ approach to consulting is strongly rooted in science. He has been involved in academic and client based research on corporate reputation, corporate responsibility and financial communications, leading to publications and conference presentations.

Dennis helps clients enhance business performance through powerful diagnostics based on insight gained from primary and secondary research. He works across the four main areas of our offer and is keen to continue learning from every unique client situation and partnership.

When not immersed in reputation management consulting, he can be found skiing on remote Norwegian mountains in winter and marathon training in Oslo’s forests and London parks the rest of the year.

Leadership, Communication, and Storytelling in a Global Economy

Through a creative, engaging, and inspiring presentation, Larsen used the experiences of the program’s participants to underline why it is essential in today’s business world to be a skilled communicator.

“You can’t be a good leader if you’re not a good communicator,” he noted.

Program participants then described what kind of leader they wanted to become, which launched into an interesting discussion on what truly defines a good leader.

According to Larsen, the diversity of viewpoints in the room highlighted an important point – people perceive leaders in different ways. As a leader, it is vital that you understand these different perspectives, tailoring your approach to ensure that employees are engaged, motivated, and productive.

“As a leader, you’re in the human energy business!” he proclaimed.

The presentation then focused on examples of companies that took innovative approaches to fix internal communication issues, improving productivity and enhancing bottom lines along the way. Larsen highlighted leaders that understood that innovation had to begin with them, telling the story of an executive who decided to spend lunch with a different group of employees every day to better understand the issues they faced and how to engage them.

A critical component of such efforts, Larsen added, is the art of storytelling.


“Know your audience, plan your content, and deliver it,” he noted, before going on to show participants videos of different corporate leaders using storytelling to engage audiences and increase brand awareness successfully.

To close, Larsen focused on interpersonal communication, giving excellent tips on how young people can build stronger relationships as they progress in their careers, making the important point that in today’s digital world, one should never underestimate the power of a simple phone call.

“Don’t hide behind emails – call people up!” Larsen exclaimed.

“As a leader, you’re in the human energy business!”

Dennis Larsen

Managing Partner – ReputationInc

Speaker Profile

Patrick Martino – U.S. Embassy in Norway

Patrick Martino has been the Environmental, Science, Technology, and Health Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo since May of 2017.  He has a broad portfolio covering environmental and scientific policies, including the Arctic.  

Mr. Martino previously served as a staff assistant in Washington at the State Department in the Bureau of Political and Military Affairs and as a desk officer covering Denmark in the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs.  He has also served in Helsinki, Finland and twice in Guangzhou, China.  Mr. Martino joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008. 

 Originally from Wisconsin, Mr. Martino graduated in 2000 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with degrees in finance and economics.  He speaks Norwegian, Mandarin Chinese, and some Finnish. 

Networking Internationally – a Diplomat’s Perspective

Having worked for the State Department for over a decade, Patrick Martino shared how he cultivated a personal networking approach that takes cultural diversity into account, highlighting experiences in countries ranging from China to Norway.

Noting that over seventy percent of jobs are initiated through networking, Martino implored participants not to be afraid when presented with the opportunity to engage senior individuals, a point he made with a particularly relevant piece of advice he once received from a colleague.

“No matter what, always be confident that you have something important to offer!”

To conclude, Martino stressed the importance of maintaining relationships, noting, “It’s not always who you know, it’s who knows you.” He encouraged participants to find creative ways of engaging people, highlighting a variety of techniques he himself had found useful in his career.

“Focus on giving instead of getting. If they’re an expert in a particular field, send them an interesting, topical news article you saw. Send cards, reach out on social media – do the little things.”

About Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders is an initiative of the US Embassy and AmCham to provide access for young, up-and-coming leaders from diverse backgrounds to high-level representatives of the established business community. AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger and US Ambassador Kenneth Braithwaite officially inaugurated the program in April of this year.

The 23 program participants — consisting of 11 women and 12 men between the ages of 22 to 32—have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far. Participants engage business leaders, learn about AmCham member companies and gain business and leadership skills.

For more information about the program or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact tb@amcham.no.