Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Jan Grønbech, former head and longest serving Country Manager of Google Norway, for an impactful session on lessons learned throughout his career.
Grønbech passionately recounted the story of how he ended up leading the launch of Google Norway in 2005 after various positions in digital advertising both in the United States and Norway, including developing Norway’s first online newspaper at Aftenposten in 1995.
Grønbech went on to outline several things he has learned during his tenure with Google; the importance of having a collective “why” for any company, the significance of purpose-driven employees, and that innovation should be the focus rather than perfection. Building on his experiences thus far, he also announced that he has launched a startup.
When asked what he looks for in talent now versus 14 years ago, Grønbech noted that today’s young professionals are very talented and ambitions. That said, they have training in many of the same subjects he studied 30 years ago.
Grønbech sees a big shift in companies’ hiring procedures. Today, any work experience is important – with less focus on degree and educational background. At Google, emphasis has transitioned from hiring talent with the most impressive resumes to prioritizing attitude and aptitude for learning.
Competencies Grønbech and his team looked for at Google were:
He expressed that each work experience has shaped him in some way. His first real job was as a cleaner at Holmenkollen Park Hotel, where he experienced his first “leadership-wow moment.”
The session also touched on topics such as social platforms and media’s responsibility in combating misinformation, how to become a changemaker within an organization, and the future of news media in Norway with focus on diversity and inclusion.
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.
Rising Leaders and AmCham members gathered at Airthings’ Oslo headquarters in November. CTO and Co-Founder Erlend Bolle kicked off the meeting with a candid, humorous retelling or the Airthings story, highlighting key moments in their incredible journey from Norway-based startup to international scaleup.
Rising Leaders participants visited Yara International’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Senior Vice President of Food Systems Transformation, Pablo Barrera Lopez.