Rising Leaders: Leadership, Balancing Hard Core and Heart Core

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Elisabeth Hellemose, Branch Manager at AIG Norway, for the first virtual after-work session of the year. 

Hellemose shared how each of her previous roles guided her to finding her passion for working with people and helping them bring their own passions into the office. She explained that leaders need to have a hard edge, but the bigger challenge could be exhibiting the soft side.

She went on to outline her leadership passions, including how to make employees comfortable being themselves and voicing their needs so they can tap into their full potential as well as “loving the difference” that each employee brings to the team.

“I want to work with people that are different than me. Be that background or skillset. That makes me reflect and we can complement each other.” – Elisabeth Hellemose

The Future of the Office

With the working environment a key current theme, Elisabeth predicted that the office will have a different function than before and perhaps needs a new layout to accommodate. 

Leaders will have to be mindful of the purpose the office will play for their employees. She suggests a quiet area for employees who are looking to work in peace away from home, and a separate social area for group-work as well as to fulfill the interaction needs of employees. AIG has offered alternative workspaces to some employees who are not able to work from home. 

Leadership Challenges in a Remote World

COVID -19 has shown that employees do not need to be in the office to perform but working from home has blurred the lines of personal life and business. Hellemose noted that there can be a higher threshold to log off from the office when the office is now in the kitchen or living room. 

She feels that production and productivity have not necessarily decreased, but co-creation between functions and innovation may suffer as communication tends to become more siloed without natural interaction at the office. 

Some Rising Leaders felt that their day tends to disappear into endless virtual meetings. The group discussed how leaders can create social interaction digitally, without implying obligation. Hellemose believes that social spaces will be increasingly important for co-creation. 


Elisabeth Hellemose

Branch Manager

About the Rising Leader Program

Rising Leaders, a joint AmCham-US Embassy initiative, brings together entrepreneurs, young professionals, and student leaders in an innovative program to promote diversity and connect promising talent. Through the program, participants engage international business leaders, learn about AmCham member companies, explore careers, and gain business and leadership skills.

The 2020-21 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 17 women and 10 men between the ages of 23 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 27 program participants have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far.

For more information about the program, or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

Past Rising Leader Events

Rising Leaders Afterwork with PortalOne

For the last afterwork of 2022 and the program finale, Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members had the opportunity to visit hybrid gaming company and Norwegian unicorn, PortalOne’s brand new offices at Aker Brygge.

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