Smart Women – Big Ideas – March 7 lunch

On March 7, KvinnoKapital together with Nordea had the privilege to arrange a lunch meeting to talk about “Smart Women – Big ideas”. Thank you all for coming, so great to see close to 80 women from the industry gathered.

After a brief introduction by Karolina Qvarnström on KvinnoKapital, where she talked about our network, history, aim and activities, Nordea’s Filippa Strandänger welcomed us all and introduced our guest speaker for the day, Barbara Stewart.

Barbara Stewart, CFA, is a Canadian researcher, writer and speaker focusing on women and finance, who has a long-lasting relation with KvinnoKapital and regularly finds her way to the Nordics.

Barbara is considered one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance. During the 2009 financial crisis, she was frustrated by the media depictions of women as powerless creatures lacking knowledge and confidence. To set the record straight, she researched, wrote and published an annual series of Rich Thinking® white papers, launched every year on International Women’s’ Day. This year she released her ninth instalment of her Rich Thinking series, Smart Women – Big ideas

The report tells stories based on numerous interviews with successful women across the world. This year, Barbara asked questions like “Where do you get your ideas? When did you get them? How long time did it take you to realise them and how much did you invest?” During her talk, Barbara gave us ample inspiring examples of these women’s big ideas, leading to change, and she categorised the motivating factors in three categories

  1. Carpe Diem – based on a window in the market, a time-sensitive opportunity
  2. Self- actualization – to achieve your full potential
  3. For the greater good

In conclusion, many great ideas seem to combine two or more of the above.  What many had in common was the willingness to ask for support from other women and Barbara emphasised the importance of continuous networking to share knowledge generously and inspire each other.

Another theme that has been recurring in Barbara’s research has been to change the conception of women being risk-averse to risk-aware. Women are definitely willing to take on risk and constitute a key target market for many companies commercially. Yet, according to her studies, many fail to see that you need a different way to talk to women, according to her studies Barbara stated. Women prefer a communication based on storytelling and life lessons, often “live communication” in the form of quotes, videos or podcasts. Something to keep in mind for everyone.

Barbara ended her presentation with an open invitation to keep the conversations going both in the network but also with her, on LinkedIn, on twitter or through her web page, where you can also access All Rich Thinking studies.

After a coffee break allowing us all to network, there was a panel discussion on the theme of “Driving a career in investment” where our speakers shared their stories and particularly what great ideas had formed their careers under the guidance of moderator Claudia Stanghellini from AP3.

Participants were Kerstin Cooley, Managing Partner at Brightly Ventures, venture capital company, Anne Reichenberg Gustafsson, Editor-in-chief at Nordsip, an ESG focused site and newsletter as well as Filippa Strandänger, Head Sustainability Ambassadors Forum, Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea.

All three panellists have indeed made active career changes when their current positions felt too safe or not leading to personal satisfaction or development prospects.

Aline told us about her journey from the top financial analyst to the cool hedge fund manager who found her inspiration to change again by another person talking about having fun at work. She realised how important that was and has found that joy in her current role at Nordsip. 

Kerstin founded one of the first venture capital firms run by women six years’ ago, together with a partner. She then saw the need for supporting early-stage tech companies. She used her network to link those companies to potential investors.

And finally, Filippa, who became frustrated over the difficulties to spread the thinking around sustainability within her organisation, got the idea to set up a company-wide Sustainability Ambassador Forum within Nordea. This Forum is very active and actually driving much of the development.

Claudia asked if these ideas could be categorised as Carpe Diem, self-actualisation of for the greater good. The conclusion though seemed to be that even if the ideas often stems from timing and a specific opportunity, the best ideas are often linked to a greater good and leads to self-actualization.  A perfect combination.

Again, the importance of keeping good relations with everyone you meet and actively network to help and inspire each other was highlighted. A highly suitable end of this great networking event.

A warm thank you to Filippa at Nordea for arranging this lovely lunch.

Lena Ellertsson Freedman
Lena Ellertsson Freedman
Curious, fearless and responsive communications professional with experience from international companies in real estate, finance and technology.


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