Some of my humble climate story-updated
Some of my humble climate story, updated 2023
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 Non-Executive Board Director at TietoEvry Oy (Publ) creating purposeful technology, at Zalaris A/S (Publ) maximising value of human capital, at Cint Group (Publ) accelerating better stakeholder understanding, at Transtema (Publ) making the net work, at Ografy driving sustainability with Science of Where, at BoardClic improving board governance and as Chair at Artipelag building creative experiences.
I am also a Board Member at the Climate Governance Initiative in collaboration with World Economic Forum and Chair and co-founder at the Nordic Chapter, Boards Impact Forum, accelerating sustainability & climate transition. For the Climate Governance Initiative, where I am the Chair of the Strategy Committee and Member of the Communications Committee, we have expanded to 23 chapters covering 50 countries internationally. We have supported the chapters with both content and delivered Global Summits reaching close to 100.000 board members.
As Boards Impact Forum we have collaborated with the majority of the significant Nordic board networks, reached more than 10000 board members, run online sustainability programs, webinars and virtual peer exchanges. In addition, we have contributed with presentations, teaching and workshops at many of our partner board networks. We have run several research programs and shared results, built up website and social media presence, and developed content including good board practices, several intelligence guides, and an appreciated board climate learning game.
Some previous board mandates has all added to my sustainability journey. My experience from Chairing the Risk, Governance and Compliance services and SW provider FCG Group in Northern Europe, supporting clients in a fast changing world adapting to increasing disruptions and new regulations also added great insights in guiding sustainable and trustworthy companies.
From my background as board member during six years at the INSEAD Directors Network, building up the international board network, I ran over 70 webinars and discussion exchanges amongst international board members, many on sustainability, climate and governance effectiveness. and amongst other things, initiated the Boardroom Pledge to Reduce Plastic. All has come in useful when building up the dedicated sustainability board networks and trainings. I have continued to engage via INSEAD, collaborate with and contribute to INSEAD Corporate Governance Center, Mentor Board Members via the INSEAD Directors Network, engaged at the board of the local INSEAD Alumni, and contribute to the yearly Nordic IN-Board board training program.
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 digital and sustainable opportunities needed to create a better world. At Digoshen we share insights, provide advice, training, facilitate networks, run a blog and a podcast “Exploring Leaders” with focus on Board, Innovation and Sustainability. We have built up a digital engagement platform to improve board network exchanges. We engage in academic research and have co-published several books including ”Boards AI Leadership, the future of Corporate Governance” and “Leading a Board, Chairs’ Practices Across Europe”. I also advised the European Commission on digitalization of corporate governance.
I have engaged myself in several Board Sustainability Programs at INSEAD, Board Programs at Harvard, and I have joined the Climate Reality Leadership started by Al Gore. The sustainability topic is complex, a systemic change is needed and corporates and their leaders and boards will play an important role in that change. I am also a Fellow at the Institute of Coaching Harvard Medical School, which is contributing to my insights on how to effectively engage with leaders, boards and executives.
I am revisiting and including approaches on climate and sustainability impact into my own board work, our research and advisory, influencing via Keynote Speeches and Moderations, educational and digital content.
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.
Sharing some of the Sustainability Board Insights via this ESG Intelligence Guide
Stockholm March 2023, Liselotte Engstam