International Women’s Day: Frida Finnström

Edee Carey2021-03-12

We’re continuing our celebration of International Women’s Day by interviewing four inspiring women in our organization each week of March.

This week, we’re featuring Frida Finnström, Managing Director of Sweden.

Tell us about your background.

I might not have the typical background you think a managing director in the IT sector would have. I studied at a culinary high school and after that I had different roles within the hotel and travel business. I love working with dedicated people and creating experiences that result in smiles and memories, both for the team and our clients.

How long have you worked at LINK and what has that journey involved?

I’ve been with LINK for 2.5 years, but I have known the company longer, I was a customer before I got the opportunity to join. I started working with products and projects, and pretty soon I got the responsibility to lead the customer care team as well. I couldn’t have had a better start – I got to learn the business from the inside and out. Two years of working daily with products and customers, as well as with a business focus in the leadership team, gave me a great foundation for my current role.

Tell us about your role now.

Today I’m responsible for the Swedish business in LINK Mobility and I’m leading the organization towards growth.

My strong conviction is that our staff is our greatest asset so I’m putting focus on culture, teamwork, and leadership. I want to succeed together with my team and with our customers.

What has it been like as a woman in the tech industry?

I love this industry and I have felt welcomed, even though I don’t have a tech background. I think it can be beneficial to have another background because I can see possibilities and challenges from another perspective.

However I have been in some situations, where I’m certain that I have been ignored or excluded in some way because of my gender. It‘s my male colleagues that get the questions, invites or offers, even though they should have gone to me based on job function or title.

What does this year’s theme of #ChoosetoChallenge mean to you?

It means that we need to make an active choice every day to not stop fighting for equality and equal rights. To achieve equality, we need to acknowledge not only the obvious differences between gender but also pay attention to the small things. It might be an unfriendly comment made in the lunchroom or the unanswered question during the meeting. Based on the fact that we create awareness, we can also change. Everyone needs to open their eyes and ears for this. It’s not just up to women to work towards change.

What is the biggest challenge working women face today?

I would say that it’s the never-ending expectations. We get them from society, but we also put them on ourselves, and we need to stop! It’s enough to perform “killräckligt bra” (a play on the two Swedish words “men” and “enough” meaning that if you’re a man, it’s good enough, but if you’re a woman, you need to do more).

Women can’t be expected to be the mood managers, super performers, doer´s, yes-women, loving partners, present parents, best friends, paddle players and winter swim-enthusiasts. We don’t have to be top performers at everything we do. Women should be allowed to be human, just as men are.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Don’t worry about what other people think of you and your choices. They either don’t care or they are busy worrying about their own stuff. Focus on what you want to do and what makes you happy. Create your own moment.

Who is your biggest influence?

Tough one. Like I’ve already mentioned, I don’t think we should focus on finding the perfect woman (or person) that has it all. Therefore, I’d like to cherry pick some qualities that I admire from different people. In my closest group of friends, I truly admire the motivation, self-leadership, determination and the ability to always be there for each other. Self-confidence and entrepreneurship is something that I saw in my grandma. And I admire the strength and voice of Fanny Widman (worked in the IT industry, but now has a podcast in which she discusses what it’s like being a woman in the tech industry and life as a working woman in general), and just look at Hélène Barnekow and her profession and calm appearance (MD of Microsoft Sweden). Just to mention a few.

What are you most proud of?

I’ll have to say that it’s the managing director position that I have today. I was pretty certain that I would have some kind of career in LINK, but I never thought I would get the benefit to lead the business and I never dared to dream about an MD position at all.

What is the most important message from International Women’s Day young women should hear?

The future needs you! The world is constantly changing and we need fresh new ideas to evolve and adapt. You will see and approach challenges in a way we don’t currently. Your openness and our experience will be a perfect match!

Next week, we’ll share another interview to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Stay tuned!

About International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day occurs each year globally on March 8th with the goal to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality. They focus on philanthropy, collaboration, uplifting women, and call to action. This year’s theme is Choose to Challenge, meaning choosing to actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it. It’s a commitment to challenge inequality and show your solidarity.