Tag Archives: Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders Afterwork with Airthings: From an Idea to a Global Scale Up

Rising Leaders Afterwork with Airthings: From an Idea to a Global Scale Up

Rising Leaders and AmCham members gathered at Airthings’ modern Oslo headquarters.

CTO and Co-Founder Erlend Bolle kicked off the meeting with a candid, humorous retelling of the Airthings story, highlighting key moments in their incredible journey from Norway-based startup to international scaleup.

Founded in 2008, the company’s products have made radon detection easy to deploy, as it is accurate and user friendly. The products have changed access to monitoring and analyzing radon and other indoor air pollutants.

Fast forward to today, and the company has established offices in the US, Canada, and Sweden, with over 140 employees from over 30 nations. Over 300K monitors have been sold worldwide.

Creating sustainable hardware products from start to finish - and everything in between

Airthings’ Sustainability Manager Erwin Hasselbrinck shared his background from Greenpeace, his passion for the environment and how he approaches his mission of creating a sustainable hardware product from start to finish.

Hasselbrinck continues establishing Airthings’ circular principles – embedding UN Sustainable Development Goals into Airthings’ core business. The key has been to involve employees across all departments in the search and assessment of solutions to create circular and sustainable business practices and value chains.

With the recent launch of their newest indoor air quality monitor, the Space CO2 Mini, considered the company’s most sustainable product to date, they have managed to reduce carbon footprint by 50% compared to their first all-around product in the same category. Loaded with features, Space CO2 Mini is equipped with additional sensors for temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, noise, light, virus risk and occupancy.

Erlend Bolle

Erwin Hasselbrinck

Not only is the hardware more sustainable, the addition of these new technologies and sensors helps facility managers to radically reduce energy consumption and use energy more efficiently while proactively fostering a healthy indoor air climate for occupants, benefiting both the planet and their bottom line.

As buildings use 40% of the world’s energy – and 30% of that comes from heating, ventilation, cooling, and lights – being able to make data-driven decisions, regulating according to when people are actually present, and reallocating energy usage when necessary, unlocks significant cost savings.

The presentations were followed by a highly engaging group discussion where participants could ask questions, followed by the opportunity to mingle with representatives from Airthings and AmCham member companies. AmCham thanks the Airthings team for their hospitality, willingness to share their stories and taking the time to answer questions from the group.  

About the Rising Leaders Program

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

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

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Rising Leaders: External Perspectives with Pablo Barrera Lopez

Rising Leaders: External Perspectives with Pablo Barrera Lopez

Rising Leaders participants visited Yara International’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Senior Vice President of Food Systems Transformation, Pablo Barrera Lopez.

After a detailed overview of Yara’s history and mission, Pablo shared his personal career journey and how he landed his first role at Yara. Pablo grew up in Haugesund and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration and a Master of Science in Finance, both from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH). After nearly five years of working at Boston Consulting Group, he was eager to influence the direction of a company and wanted to work internationally. Yara fit the bill. During his eight-year tenure at one of the most international companies in the country, he’s held diverse roles ranging from strategy and business development to supply chain and even Country Manager of Yara Chile, his parent’s homeland.

Currently, Pablo still works at Yara, however he has been seconded to IMAGINE as the Executive Director of the Food Collective. There, food and beverage company CEOs address issues in the food industry to systematically collaborate on challenges across the value chain. 

Pablo emphasized the importance of connecting with colleagues outside of one’s function and exposing oneself to external perspectives – “otherwise, you become too operational.” He considers himself to have a very low threshold for reaching out to others and really enjoys learning and connecting with stakeholders across the value chain, which is a critical aspect of his role at IMAGINE. He encouraged the Rising Leaders to truly understand their organization’s strategy and figure out a way to uniquely contribute to it.

AmCham thanks Pablo for his willingness to share his personal experience with the group and Yara for their hospitality.

Speaker

Pablo Barrera Lopez - Yara International

About the Rising Leaders Program

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

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

After a quick overview of Accenture facts and figures, Eik-Nes shared his personal career journey within Accenture. His original plan was not working in a corporate setting, but rather playing professional soccer.

Eik-Nes holds a Master of Science in Energy Management from BI Norwegian Business School and has particularly good memories from studies at UC Berkley. San Francisco is close to Torbjørn’s heart, and he considers it his second home. After his studies, he came across an article about Accenture by coincidence, which ultimately led him to the company. “My career started with a lot of coincidences – as I am sure will be the case in yours as well.”

Accenture’s core values and culture have fundamentally remained unchanged since he started in 1996 and are a key reason for why Eik-Nes has stayed at the company for the past 25 years. His various roles within the company provided him new opportunities to learn, be challenged and grow, giving him the feeling of having “new jobs many times, moving to completely different industries with new people and leadership within Accenture.” He did, however, stress that being promoted is not a source of happiness in and of itself, emphasizing that participants should focus on enjoying their work while maintaining a good measure of patience.

Participants posed some quite challenging questions on topics such as work-life balance and diversity, leaving him with “valuable areas to reflect upon.” AmCham would like to thank Eik-Nes for his willingness to share his personal journey with the group and the Accenture team for their hospitality.

Torbjørn Eik-Nes

Accenture
accenture.com

About the Rising Leaders Program

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

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Never-Ending Missions

Rising Leaders: Never-Ending Missions

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Lars Erik Grønntun, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Kahoot! who shared his leadership experience and thoughts on building highly innovative yet resilient teams.

Grønntun walked participants through pivotal career choices that led him to his current role with the leading global learning platform – from getting involved in politics at a young age, taking a risk by starting his own agency at age 23, and hosting a TV-program, to becoming head of Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Leaving his role as Global President for Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a leading global communications consultancy, to join the EdTech company Kahoot! in 2020 was a significant shift, nurturing Grønntun’s entrepreneurial spirit.

In his new role as COO of Kahoot!, Grønntun contributed to the revision and development of the organizational structure, while maintaining dynamic teams. Kahoot! was growing exponentially already before 2020, but the pandemic contributed to a significant shift in daily habits.  Schools, businesses and friends turned to virtual tools to interact and learn remotely, with Kahoot!’s organizational structure becoming a key and never-ending mission.

“The rockstars or engine room of Kahoot! are the engineers and product teams. Corporate is there as support.” Grønntun would describe his leadership style as contextual, saying “if people know where you are going and where the goal is, they will know how best to contribute to get there. Smart people don’t like to be bullied around.”

Lars Erik Grønntun

COO & CMO

“Kahoot! is a global company, it just happens to be from Norway.”

Lars Erik Grønntun

According to Interbrand, Kahoot!’s Global Brand Strength Score is comparable to long-established global brands such as Nintendo, YouTube and Sony, making it one of Norway’s biggest brands. Today, 97% of Fortune 500 companies are using Kahoot to engage and train employees. In the past years, Kahoot! has acquired seven companies, including US-based Clever, a foundation from which Kahoot! will expand its K-12 tech-app to the international market.

When asked who he looks up to, Grønntun told Rising Leaders that rather than having specific mentors, he identifies admirable qualities in people he works with, such Eilert Hanoa, Kahoot!’s CEO, who “has an incredible work ethic and stamina – and must be cut from a different type of metal.”

To those embarking on their careers, Grønntun emphasized the value of staying within an organization, rather than shifting  employment for the sake of change, as a long-term presence allows you to build networks, understand the culture and accumulate knowledge that, in turn, can be capitalized upon over time.

Photo: Gambit

About the Rising Leaders Program

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

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Empowering Your Own Growth

Rising Leaders: Empowering Your Own Growth

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Thomas Enstad, Managing Partner at Hudson Nordic, who provided inspirational insights and tools for presenting oneself while evaluating motivating factors.

Enstad began the discussion by enlisting participant opinions on the qualities that make a good leader. He went on to explain the process that his team undergoes to identify and accentuate the best traits in leaders, enabling them for success.

Executive Presence

Executive presence is the combination of personality and character traits that make a dynamic executive. It’s the ability to inspire others to be assertive in their roles through the consistent demonstration of confidence and clear leadership.

Executive presence can be defined in three aspects: the ability to build trust (Character), establish credibility (Substance), and drive execution through others (Style). Enstad expertly explained the facets of each, then asked Rising Leaders to reflect upon areas they recognized in themselves, where they felt challenged, and how they could improve.

Speaker

Thomas Enstad

Managing Partner

“Within the current great resignation, the more traditionally led organizations have been the hardest hit...the focus has transitioned to become much more human-centric, focusing on employee well-being.”
Thomas Enstad, Hudson Nordic

Outlining a “Personal Development Plan,” Enstad encouraged participants to unleash their true potential by creating opportunities to think about personal goals and ambitions in a structured way.

Organizations are observing a generational shift in leadership; whereas leaders traditionally have focused on external stakeholders, there is now an altered perception of leadership and how we create results. “Within the current great resignation, the more traditionally led organizations have been the hardest hit,” said Enstad. The focus has transitioned to become much more human-centric, focusing on employee well-being, with Enstad noting that female-led companies are better able to retain talent. Further, the pandemic has also contributed to an increased focus on work-life balance. 

About the Rising Leaders Program

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

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Women in Tech Leadership

Rising Leaders: Women in Tech Leadership & Coffee Tasting

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders and AmCham members gathered at Oslo Retail Association’s elegantly refurbished offices on Karl Johan.

Participants were joined by Ann-Kristin Nomerstad, Brand Manager of Starbucks Norway along with Starbucks’ own Coffee Masters for a private coffee tasting. Celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year, the international chain started selling roasted beans from a single location in Seattle in 1971 and has since become one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The Coffee Masters shared their best brewing tips and offered insights into both US and Norwegian coffee culture.

AmCham member Defigo, a property tech company, specializes in controls and keyless access for residential and commercial buildings. They made their official entry into the North American market in October 2021.

Defigo CEO Hildur Smaradottir, with a background in psychology and journalism, recounted the opportunities in her career that led her into the tech field. Hildur has since spent 15 years in various commercial roles in the tech industry. She also described challenges she has faced as a female leader in the industry.

Even though women constitute almost half of the workforce, they hold less than one third of the leadership positions in tech. Smaradottir stated that companies are missing out on a substantial opportunity as reports show that tech companies with a representation of female leaders have increased profitability, compared with companies with no female leaders (BCG). Although there is no ambition gap, Smaradottir mentioned that women being more critical of their own technical skills may lead to fewer applications from women for tech roles.

Ann-Kristin Nomerstad

Brand Manager for Starbucks Norway & Sweden

Hildur Smaradottir

CEO of Defigo

Charlotte Jørgensen

CSM at Defigo

To lead a team, trust is vital. In order to build trust you must be humble.

Hildur Smaradottir, Defigo

Charlotte Jørgensen, Customer Success Manager at Defigo, gave participants insight into her role and the impact of COVID on the workplace and supply chain. She also shared her hiring experience, joining the startup, and the transition from co-worker to leader within her team.

A majority of Rising Leaders participants work in or with technology, with females comprising approximately two thirds of the current cohort. The group discussed strategies to create greater gender diversity as well as sharing tips on hiring processes.

About the Rising Leaders 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 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders Program 2021 – 2022 Reception

Rising Leaders Program 2021–2022: Off and Running!

AmCham and the US Embassy recently welcomed new members and continuing participants of the Rising Leaders program at a reception at Villa Otium with remarks given by Chargé d’affaires a.i. Sharon Hudson-Dean, Public Affairs Officer Jillian Bonnardeaux, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs guest speaker Jo Sletbak, and AmCham Norway Managing Director Jason Turflinger

Sharon Hudson-Dean recently began her assignment as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, coming from a three-year position as U.S. Consul General in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Hudson-Dean has over two decades of experience as an American diplomat and has represented the United States in several countries. We look forward to working closely with her and her team going forward.  

Jo Sletbak is a Senior Advisor in the Unit for Business Relations at the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since starting his diplomatic career in 1990, Sletbak has held several impressive positions both at home and abroad. From August 2017 to end of July this year, he served as Norway’s Consul General to San Francisco and the Western US. Sletbak reflected on his experience working with Norwegian companies in the states.

Program participants had the opportunity to meet with AmCham Board members as well as Embassy staff to discuss US-Norway trade and investment, sustainability in modern business, and Norway’s blossoming start-up culture. 

This year, 15 new members to the program will join continuing participants in engaging with business leaders and attending informative events. Rising Leaders come from a wide range of personal, professional, and academic backgrounds. Ten countries are represented amongst the participants – a group that includes student leaders, diplomatic staff, young professionals, and entrepreneurs. 

The 2021-22 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 20 women and nine 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 29 program participants have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far. 

We thank the U.S. Embassy Oslo for hosting a wonderful introductory session and look forward to continued collaboration for the fourth edition of the program. We also want to thank the outgoing Rising Leader board for all their hard work and dedication to the program for the past two years. 

Speaker

Chargé d’affaires a.i. – Sharon Hudson-Dean

Speaker

Public Affairs Officer – Jillian Bonnardeaux

Speaker

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Jo Sletbak

Speaker

Managing Director – Jason Turflinger

About the Rising Leaders 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. 

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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: From Startup to Multinational and Back

Rising Leaders: From Startup to Multinational and Back

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Marco Forestiere, Country Manager at Amgen Norway, for a session recounting his experience in transitioning from a small business to a multinational company, and back to his passion for entrepreneurship.

Originally from Italy, Forestiere has extensive healthcare and technology industry experience as a former telecom engineer. He explained candidly that he had no clear purpose when he was starting his career and walked participants through critical moments in his path, from working at Accenture to starting and tanking his own company, to going back to school for his MBA and serving 11 years at Indiana-based multinational Eli Lilly.

Forestiere highlighted that a “career is not a linear path” as he shared the ups and downs he experienced, but admitted that timing was an important factor. His career took a turn to pharma by chance. He originally applied for his first role at Eli Lilly thinking it was the coffee company Illy. Starting with an unpaid internship, he rotated domestically for five years before taking on international roles in the US and Czech Republic. Although extremely grateful for the investment that Eli Lilly made in him, his roles left him longing for increased autonomy.

Joining Amgen, Forestiere was looking to find the startup passion once again. Amgen is one of the world’s largest independent biotechnology pharmaceutical companies – dedicated to discovering, developing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative human therapeutics for serious illnesses. With his background in IT and a more limited healthcare background, Forestiere noted the importance of trusting his team, and acknowledging his own limitations.

To Forestiere, Amgen still feels like a start-up: starting with biotechnology in the 80s, they are still experimenting. He easily recognizes himself in the purpose: to help people and improve lives.

Speaker

Marco Forestiere

Personal Connections to Employees and Colleagues

Inspired by the trust that was placed in him by his former manager, Forestiere’s true purpose is connecting with and developing people.

He finds it important to be in touch frequently, ask questions about what employees and colleagues do outside of work, their passions, and to build personal connections so that people are comfortable enough to speak up. It is about the balance of the inside and the outside of work. Investing- such time and focus has been even more important during times of uncertainty such as the pandemic.

“What I have told you has been my professional CV, but I have not told you about my family and the personal events that shaped my decisions. At that time, I was also starting my family – that was another important start-up.”

Importance of Fun at Work

Inspired by one of his employees, Forestiere believes that fun should be incorporated wherever possible in work. According to him, fun is a “refresher of the mind” and an important contributor to performing well and thinking clearly. “It is not about how you work, it is about how you create energy.”

If you work with fun, you can work forever.

Marco Forestiere

When asked what his team has done to foster fun, he lists several examples including the gamification of tasks and challenges, hosting a cooking show where he shared his favorite recipe, and inviting a member of their IT team (a secret Aikido master) to teach a private Aikido class.

Following the presentation and discussion, Tu An Ngo from the US Embassy led a short session on building a meaningful vision statement with examples and steps to create one of your own. Forestiere noted the importance of allowing yourself to change the vision statement as you go along, as things may change, but to set the purpose as it serves as a guard rail.

2021-2022 Rising Leader Board Elections Announced

After the inspiring presentations, sitting Rising Leader President announced the election of the new board and the open positions participants can run for. The new board will be in place by May 28th.

About the Rising Leaders 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.

Applications for next year’s program will open on June 1st with a deadline set for June 30th. Stay tuned for more announcements via LinkedIn.

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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Reflections from 15 Years at Google

Rising Leaders: Reflections from 15 Years at Google

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.

If you get an opportunity where you have no idea, always say “yes.” If I had not said yes back then, I would have never ended up at Google.

Jan Grønbech

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.

Speaker

Jan Grønbech

Hiring Talent Now Versus 14 Years Ago

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.

The gap between what academia can provide and what employers are looking for is bigger than ever.

Jan Grønbech

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:

  • Role-related knowledge
  • Leadership, gravitas, credibility, and, using math and data, the skills to persuade
  • General cognitive ability – the process of problem-solving rather than the solution itself
  • The “Googliness” X-factor and the desire to work with a candidate, in addition to humility, constant curiosity for learning new things, and willingness to cooperate

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.

About the Rising Leaders 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

Read More »

Rising Leaders: Be a premissleverandør and get yourself some handlingsrom

Rising Leaders: Be a premissleverandør and get yourself some handlingsrom

Rising Leaders participants and AmCham members were joined by Curt Rice of Oslo Metropolitan University for a virtual afterwork session.

Originally from Rochester, MI, Dr. Rice only intended to go to Norway for one year but ended up staying for the last 30 years and becoming the first non-Norwegian to be at the helm of an institution for higher education in Norway.

Dr. Rice shared how his career development has been driven by his conviction that discovery of new knowledge, research and education are essential to improving society. Making universities better, therefore, has the potential to make societies better. Yet at the same time, he sees growth in science and research skepticism – and the increased responsibility of research advocates.

Leadership as a Tool to Reach Your Goals

Dr. Rice believes that those who want to lead should always ask themselves: What do you want to do and what will it take to make it happen? In his opinion, leadership is a tool for accomplishing something, not simply a goal in itself.

Don’t go into leadership because you think you will be a good leader. Go into leadership because you have something you want to get done. Leadership will give you handlingsrom.

Dr. Curt Rice

He says the most important step when preparing for a leadership role is to become a premissleverandør* – define what you want to get done and get people to buy into that. This in turn gives you handlingsrom.* The reason to get into a leadership position is to create space to achieve goals

*Handlingsrom – space for action.

*Premissleverandør – contributor to policy formulation.

Speaker

Curt Rice – Rector

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Diversity & Multicultural Leadership in Norway

Dr. Rice is preoccupied with gender balance & diversity in higher education and leads Norway’s Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity in Research. He is proud to say that over 50% of professors at OsloMet are women, but that home office has shown a dramatic decrease in research submitted by female researchers, which is why he believes these women should be invited back to the office first.

When questioned on multicultural diversity in Norwegian higher education, Dr. Rice says there is diversity in Norway, but in his opinion, almost all the diversity is imported. Very few leaders are children of immigrants, from his perspective he sees a lot of PhD students but not yet professors. He is optimistic that the next generation of leaders will be more diverse. He also sees that companies are becoming more interested in having diverse workforces.

As a foreigner himself, Curt quickly found that Norway is a very network-based society. He feels that some criticisms of him were perhaps harder because he was not Norwegian, though quoting Churchill when explaining that focusing on the pushback and criticism would not help him get to where he wanted to go.

He personally loves being a foreigner, because it gives him a little extra room to voice his opinions. The Rising Leader participants themselves represent 16 different countries with a majority growing up outside of Norway.

About the Rising Leaders 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: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

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