Some of my humble climate story.
I became very interested and engaged in environmental issues in my youth, and decided to focus my university education on the topic.
The only education available at the time were a version of the program for geotechnical and civil engineering, so I joined that education and graduated with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology.
As I were to applying for jobs at the time, I was met with the response that they didn’t hire girls….. It made me so furious that I didn’t think I could get a decent job in Sweden, so I applied for a job at NASA in US, and got it!
After some time the construction company Skanska hired me, and later on I joined IBM, who were in desperate need of computer and development insights which I had from my time at NASA.
From that followed a long international executive career at IBM (US). During my career I have run major international business areas and major transformational engagements, and always with a focus on innovation and transforming the world for the better. At IBM I was for example responsible for the Strategy and Change Practice and part of the Business Transformation Outsourcing business. For IBM I run their first mobile strategy for the company itself and the related offerings. I was also responsible for the first and most successful implementation and operation of sustainability motivated congestion charges provided by the company to a city.
I continued with an executive career at HCL, where I was part of transforming the company from hierarchical leadership to be run with a focus on employee first. And with responsibility of Nordics and Northern Europe we run many engagement for our customers in re-engineering their physical products for a more sustainable, lower cost and higher value propositions, and eventually we took over and operated entire R&D units. While supporting CSR initiatives I also run a successful initiative including a yearlong mentor program between a dozen principals at the Stockholm high schools (gymnasium) and a dozen of the Indian leaders working for me, where the Indian leaders shared the international perspectives and the principals shared the Swedish perspectives and promoted environmental practices that was transferred with participants into India.
Board & Advisory
Following my operational career I decided to move into board work to continue to develop companies and influence them to create a better world. I now hold a portfolio of board mandates at digitally transforming and sustainably focused international companies.
I am chairman at FCG Group for responsible governance. I am Non-Executive Board Director at TietoEvry Oy (Publ) facilitating a data-driven brighter future for millions, at Zalaris A/S (Publ) maximising value of human capital, at Transtema (Publ) connecting smarter cities, at S-Group (esri) driving sustainability with Science of Where, at INSEADs International Board Director Network (IDN) pursuing corporate governance excellence & at IMIT Foundation promoting Academic & Industry Research Exchange. At IDN, amongst other things, I initiated the Boardroom Pledge to Reduce Plastic, organised several Sustainability for Boards webinars and organised the discussion amongst 65 international board members on the pandemic impact on sustainability and climate.
I am also a partner in a Business Angel driven Venture Capital Firm STOAF and I coach startups, many of them with a sustainable focus. I coach for example TrusTrace, which is in the business of creating Trust through Traceability with Circularity, Traceablitiy and Sustainability tools including a Climate Action Tool and initial focus on fashion industry.
In addition I have founded Digoshen – a modern Think Tank where we believe in Responsible Business, Responsible Leaders and Responsible Governance and we amplify the voices of the purpose driven leaders needed to unleash the ocean of business and digital opportunities needed to create a better world. At Digoshen we share insights and inspiration and provide advice, training, facilitate networks and perform research. I have advised the European Commission on digitalization of corporate governance and we recently released a book on ” Boards AI Leadership, the future of Corporate Governance”.
I have engaged myself in several Board Sustainability Programs at INSEAD and I have joined the Climate Reality Leadership started by Al Gore. I am further increasing my insights into how companies leaders and boards can work better at including climate and sustainable practices in their companies strategies and oversights.
The topic is complex, a systemic change is needed and corporates and their leaders and boards will play an important role in that change.
In addition to the three academic research engagements about boards that I am already engaged in, on how boards impact corporate renewal, boards role in AI leadership and evolving Chairman practices, I am revisiting and including approaches on climate and sustainability impact into own board work, our research and advisory and influencing via Keynote Speeches and Moderations, educational and digital content via Digoshen Board & Leadership Programs, via Chairman Programs at Swedish Academy for Board Directors and as communication chair at INSEAD Directors Network.
Besides the time with my dear family and friends, I cannot think of a more meaningful way to spend my time and influence the world for the better.
Stockholm July 2020 Liselotte Engstam