Lunch with Nicolai Mikkelsen – Driving your Career in Sustainability and Beyond

On February 18th KvinnoKapital hosted a virtual Event with Nicolai Mikkelsen on “Driving your career on Sustainability and Beyond”.

Nicolai Mikkelsen is Executive Director, Head of Innovation and Board Member at Michael Page (Switzerland) and in his position, Nicolai currently focuses most of his efforts to meet the very strong demand for executives within sustainability. He spent over 20 years in recruiting. In 2008, while working in Monte Carlo he became aware that enrolling women at the top should be prioritised and began to mentor and advocate for women in his recruitment practice.

Nicolai focused on three areas during this interactive session: the recruitment landscape for women in Europe, how to drive your career forward knowing your skills and how to orientate your career towards sustainability.

We were very happy to see the many “raised hand” symbols popping up during the virtual seminar so that the session turned into a real interactive discussion between Nicolai and KvinnoKapital members.

Nicolai painted an upbeat recruitment landscape for 2022: the recruitment market is currently very strong in Europe, with companies not only looking for talent but also paying attention to D&I when hiring. Companies have become more and more aware of the importance of having mixed teams and diversity at all levels: on the board of directors but also throughout the different company layers. Nicolai was therefore positive to a large paradigm shift in the coming years. “Although women participation is increasing at all levels, there is still a need to force the curve,” he warned.

The Nordics, UK and France are currently leading the ESG/Sustainability waive which has moved from niche to mainstream. So how should you drive your career forward in the ESG space? “Learning as much as possible on ESG/Sustainability is key, in every position,” Nicolai said, “from investment to marketing to Human Resources.” Nicolai’s key advice was “to incorporate sustainability stream as much as possible in your own daily workload.” In Strategic roles, companies are looking for experts in engagement, NGOs experience, public speaking/skills around ESG/Sustainability communication. In Technical roles it is key to learn about ESG/Sustainability data collection and handling. For example, ESG reporting and how to measure Carbon Footprint including Scopes 1,2,3 are currently challenges that companies need help to tackle.

“Invest as much as you can. Learn as you go and, whenever possible, invest in education and become an expert in a particular topic,” Nicolai added.  “No one is an expert on all aspects of sustainability at present, all are learning.” Women should not be intimidated to apply and test their boundaries by driving their career on a path within ESG and Sustainability. “We should get involved in our organization as much as possible to learn as much as we can. Women should not be intimidated nor limit themselves,” he concluded.

Claudia Stanghellini
Claudia Stanghellini
I have worked at AP3 from 2002 and became Head of External Management in 2013. Our mandate covers traditional long only active and passive, and hedge fund investing.

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