Activities

YLBC Alumni Spotlight: Karolina Lindén

We interviewed Karolina, who worked at the Swedish Embassy in Riyadh this summer, to ask her about her experience at Young Leaders Boot Camp last year.

Could you give us a short introduction of yourself?

My name is Karolina Lindén, I am 26 years old and I come from Gothenburg in Sweden. I have a BA in Arabic and will finish my MSc in Industrial Engineering in January. I have my professional background at Volvo Group, ABB and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I am the oldest of three sisters and have a big family, most of them on the Swedish west coast.

Why did you apply to Young Leaders Boot Camp?

Young Leaders Boot Camp and Women for Sustainable Growth were too good of a match for me not to apply. The combination of the Middle East and Scandinavia with leadership and personal development was just awesome.

The combination of the Middle East and Scandinavia with leadership and personal development was just awesome.

Tell us a bit about your connection to the Middle East and the Gulf.

I worked at the Embassy of Sweden in Riyadh as Third Secretary this summer. I have worked, studied and traveled to a few Arabic speaking countries including northern Iraq, Sudan, Syria and Egypt.

W4SG and YLBC gave me access to a network of senior business women in the Gulf. Personally, that meant I had friends in Riyadh when I arrived, which helped me get to know aspects of Saudi Arabia that I would not have seen otherwise. It was also important for my professional development to learn from a senior business woman and discuss leadership and different career paths.

W4SG and YLBC gave me access to a network of senior business women in the Gulf. Personally that meant I had friends in Riyadh when I arrived, which helped me get to know other aspects of Saudi Arabia that I would not have seen otherwise.

How do you feel YLBC has had an impact on you? 

YLBC has given me a network of ambitious women all over Sweden and in Arabic speaking countries. I also think that the camp gave me a lot of important leadership tools and an experience to share with the rest of the group.

It was liberating to be in a group where everyone was a leader already and not having to deal with people questioning women’s leadership abilities and potenital. Instead we could start from our previous experience and expand our skills. All leaders should get that opportunity. After the camp we have all kept in touch and supported each other in challenging times and in difficult decisions. And we have also shared successes. We are a sisterhood in its true meaning.

 We are a sisterhood in its true meaning.

What stands out as most memorable from the camp?

Many of the women have very different backgrounds from my own. Learning from their experiences and being able to share my own was a powerful thing. Hearing other people talk about their successes and challenges taught me a lot about myself and gave me good tools to handle tricky situations.

I hope that the sisterhood will continue to grow. We already discuss important decisions and career paths, and that is something I embrace and hope to continue to do now that I finish my engineering degree.

Do you imagine yourself as a leader in the future?

I do consider myself as a leader and believe that I will work in that capacity later on as well. Leadership can take many forms and I think that I will have good use for the tools and the network YLBC provided me with both professionally and personally throughout my life.

What is on the agenda now and what is your next step? 

I am currently doing my master’s thesis in Humanitarian Logistics combined with an internship at UNHCR in Budapest. We work with a strategic model to place warehouses in optimal locations to shorten the time it takes to provide people of concern with relief items like tents and blankets at a lower cost. We are also looking into scenario planning to look at future humanitarian demand. I graduate in January and then it is off to new adventures!

Any last words?

I think that W4SG is filling a gap with Young Leaders Boot Camp by providing a true service to our communities. We need more women in leadership positions, stronger relationships between the Gulf and Scandinavia and creative tools for personal development.

I wish this could be an experience for all ambitious leaders, and not just the lucky few. I am happy to be one of those lucky ones.

I wish this could be an experience for all ambitious leaders, and not just the lucky few. I am happy to be one of those lucky ones.

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This website has been made possible with support from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket). Support came within the program “Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship” under the project “The Golden Rules of Leadership“.

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