A more feminine, global and sustainable vision to work: Kristin Engvig at TEDxGenevaWomen 2013

So it's wonderful to be here and I will share with you some of the thoughts and the work that I'm doing on inspiring womеn leaders, or leaders in general, or anyone actually, to create a world in which we can flourish, with more beauty, with more trust, and more passion. So I'm going to tell you a little bit about my roots, the journey, and then, how we can expand more possibilities together. So, the journey. I grew up in Norway, on the wild west coast. My hometown is surrounded by mountains and the open sea. As a little girl my parents brought me and my brothers to all the mountains, climbing them, visiting islands, fjords. It was always nature, and with and sometimes against our will, we learned to respect nature and understand how we were also part of all of that. My hometown, Kristiansund, is built on islands, four islands, with bridges between. And the city is filled with colorful houses. So I grew up in this very creative environment with colorful houses, bridges and very unpredictable weather.

So I learned quite quickly to be prepared for change, sometimes sudden change. The wind and the rain always came from the side. However, all of this also made me understand that we have to respect nature, we have to respect the weather, because it is, after all, a lot stronger than us. One of the things that I liked to do when I was in Kristiansund was to go around to family parties. My mother drove us, or the whole family, we went around on family gatherings, birthday parties and I belonged to actually quite a nice network, where all of us could grow and feel accepted and be ourselves. And I must credit my mother for always working very hard on making sure we all felt included. On my father's side of the family, they've been photographers, we've been photographers back since 1872. And when you grow up in a family with lots of photographers it's kind of a special environment. It's not only laughing, and cheese, and these types of things; It's more, move a little here, stop. It's a constant search фор putting people in the right light.

So I grew up into the world and I learned to make sure people are included, put people in the right light, nature, we'd better respect it, and let's put bridges if there are islands on their own. And as a young woman I also looked out at the sea, and I thought I would like to understand and explore what's out there. So as fast as I could, I went on and I traveled. And my journey began. I went to Australia to live, I went back to Oslo to study, I went to Japan to work. And I traveled, I studied research, I studied marketing, I studied advertisement, PR. And I landed for more than 12 years in Milano. I learned quite quickly that what you know matters, but who you know and who knows you matter, if not more, at least just as much. I also learned that how you do everything you do is very important.

People remember you very much for how you make them feel. So, when I worked in a multinational I learned also that politics was just as important as marriage. Being young was not exactly an advantage. Mini skirts sometimes could be. I left. I traveled around the world working as a consultant, I worked as a teacher, or teaching. And I also saw that knowing someone in some of these places I went to would have been a great advantage. I triple locked my door in Sofia and in Moscow. I also saw when I traveled that not everyone was as lucky as I was, that grew up in a peaceful country, with a female prime minister, during my youth. So I thought, what can we do? You know, to put everyone up. Back in Milan, I also joined associations, I was very active in the women's network. I organized, I coordinated, I thought this was a lot of fun, and it helped me a lot, and it helped others a lot.

So one day I thought we have to do more. What if we can gather all the women? We can prepare ourselves for the future. Everything is changing anyway, and we can see, we can do things together. And this was a very strong motivation. I got together a lot of women around my kitchen table and we said, "Let's look at how we can build companies in a more conscious way" How we can get our awareness into how we build our careers. Perhaps we can build communities, there's so many things we can do. So, I started to look at this and said, "Hey, we can build a gathering, we can get people together, we can do all of this. But I needed the structure. So I started to look at how to build a structure for all our women. I thought, first of all, if we're going to do something that can be really global, that can be whole, include family values, and that can be authentic, that can be something where we can put all of us into. We need to have a structure.

I thought the best way we can do this is if everything we do is international. So I was determined that on my team I had to have someone from every continent. Amongst the speakers, they needed to come from different countries. And amongst participants too, they have to be from everywhere. We also decided that everything we do has to be practical. It has to be possible to put our dreams and ideas into action. So let's inspire each other to do something also. We also decided it has to be innovative, let's do creative things, the new way. Everything is changing anyway. So, let's be part of doing the new way. And more than anything also, let's bring in wholeness. The world today has not been in balance, it's been too much based on the masculine values of competition, of over production, and so on. So let's try also bringing a lot of the caring and sharing, and taking care of each other. Listening to our emotions as well as to the Excel spreadsheet. Follow our intuition. If you get goosebumps, maybe it's the right decision.

There is something to listen to. So all of these aspects, we thought let's put it into the formula. Also, as I did this, it grew. >From the kitchen operation, it became something тхат we could see on the global stage. And this comes to the third point. Now we are in 2013, women are leading, men are with us. We can do many things together, both women amongst women, and women and men. Young and older generation. It's an exciting time. And it's an exciting time if we work together. And there are some of my last points today. How can we expand and create more possibilities for each other? By working together. And working together for me means creating a network also. And a network isn't a place where you're going to necessarily go to use it, to take things. No, it's a place where we're going to give and we're going to receive.

It's a nurturing environment in which we can grow, in which we can feel included and feel accepted. And each and everyone of us can create such a network, by how we network, how we communicate with each other. It's a way of being, a way of trying to uplift the person that you are with. And also search for purpose, what do I have in common? What can we expand? What can we work more with? How can we make sure we are helping each other when we are in difficult situations? Because everyone has a bad day. And if you have a hand to hold we can raise each other up. So, how do we do this? How do we network? I have created a few principles that I know have been guiding principles for me in building up my organization. And I have shown it to family members that didn't really know exactly what I do, and they said, "Kristin, this is you." So it's quite exciting, so I want to share them with you too here today.

The first principle is that of being open. On all occasions, in all situations when you are with someone, be open. In fact, be opening, become conscious about your thoughts, if you're about to judge, kick yourself in doing so. So principle number one, be open. Principle number two, be ready to connect. Share with people, not only what's in your mind, of course, what's stimulating your intellect is interesting, but what's warming your heart and what makes you excited is also very important. And I think at work too, yes, we have to be professional, but we are human beings, so share at all levels. Also, be quick to contribute, you can at many times have a solution to someone else's problems. Or maybe you know someone else who can.

And also you yourself, don't sit in with things, share, people value what you have to offer. Also, take some risks. Take risks. Little by little. Life actually sometimes starts at the end of your comfort zone. So there is a lot that can happen if you take a little bit of a risk. And certainly commit. I've met so many successful women at our events over these past 18 years. And I see the key ingredient that brings these successful people to success is their committing. They make decisions and stand by them. That's a very important thing. At the same time if you're in a situation where you come across something that's not acceptable, you don't accept it. It's very important in work life, and in everyone's life, you come across a situation that is not acceptable, you never accept it. And then ultimately, we have to have fun and be light. And there is always something exciting about to happen. So my advice is also to expect magic.

My last slide, I want to go back to my roots. So this is my mother and my son. There is my mother including my son in a little piece of nature of Norway. And my dad behind the camera, putting them in the right light. Thank you very much. (Applause).