Each week we will give you a Q&A on their experience with SHE Leads and about their ambitions as leaders. This week we spoke with Helene Johansen Facchini, Head of Marketing and Communication at Caverion, a building and industrial services company.
What are your ambitions as a future leader?
I want to be part of creating something awesome together with awesome people. Both in terms of what the company does, and how it does it—especially in relation to the employees. If you inspire people, treat them well and give them freedom you will be amazed at what people can do.
What would be your goals as a leader?
To inspire others to follow their dreams and reach their goals, while enjoying the journey and not working yourself to death. I don’t believe you have to have core hours for office employees, or that executives need to work 70 hours a week to be successful. It seems old fashioned to me. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that you can work from anywhere, at any time. I encourage my team members to break up their day, go for a walk or a run or whatever. The result has been that everyone is more productive, delivering better results and happier. So, I see my main responsibility as a leader is helping my team succeed while they maintain a healthy balance – in their own way.
What are the three words that your employees would say about you as a leader?
Who is your role model?
My mom. She was in her early 20s, had three kids including me (I was barely one) and her only education was homemaker school. When my father suddenly died from a heart attack, she said she had two choices. She could sit down and cry and go on welfare. Or she could pick up the pieces and get herself an education. She chose the latter, and today she runs a successful business, Regnskapsjefen, with twenty employees and owns her own office building. She now also has five kids. Nobody inspires me more than her.
What are the lessons in your professional career that you have learned the most from?
Some years ago, I had this terrible headache for weeks; it was very strange, as I never get headaches. Eventually I got worried and checked with Dr. Google, which of course said I had a brain tumour. I went to see a real doctor, and she did all kinds of test, but found nothing. Then she asked me, how are you doing at work? Before I could answer I broke down in tears. She nodded and said, there it is. I had been working crazy hours and running myself into the ground for months, skipping exercising and cooking (which I love) to have more time to deliver at work.
I tried to argue, but the doctor insisted on two weeks full sick-leave. My boss agreed and said he did not want to see me online trying to work. During those two weeks I used the time to reflect on the choices I had been making. Nobody asked me to work that much. Nobody asked me to prioritize work over my health. I had created an immense workload for myself by always saying yes, and at the same time initiating my own projects which I knew would be beneficial for the company to reach it goals. I of course wanted to keep delivering at work, but something had to change, because I wasn’t going to be any good to anyone if I ruined my health.
I reached out to my colleague Therese, our then work health and safety coordinator for some help on what to do. Within two days I was enrolled in a stress management course at Diakonhjemmet hospital in Oslo. Learning what gives energy and what drains me, what brings me joy and what does not, and most importantly: to listen to my body when it tells me to slow down, was a life changer.
It changed my behaviour. Now I know that if I have a lot to do at work, exercise and making time for shutting my brain off in the kitchen is what I need to prioritize to perform better. Also, I think the reason I got back on my feet before it was too late is because I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. The experience is what shapes me most as a leader. I know how important balance is, and I always try my best to ensure my team members and colleagues have the tools and focus to achieve it. In the end everyone is better off from it, both yourself as a person, and the results you produce at work as a healthy and happy self!
Why did you join SHE Leads? What did you hope to learn from the mentors?
Nothing happens if you stand still. I grab any chance for development, and with the level of the other participants, between the educational part of the program and the mentors, it was a no-brainer to join SHE Leads. From my mentor I really appreciate a different point of view than my own, and the push to move on the plan we have developed together.
What do you think would be your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
My growth mindset and always being solution oriented is some of my biggest strengths – where there’s a will, there’s a way. However, my excitement to get things done fast can sometimes lead to lack of detail, so I always make sure I have a detailed orientated person in my team. We all have different qualities, so it’s about diversity in both personality and skills.
What are the key takeaways from SHE Leads?
When you tap into the knowledge and power of others, there are no limits to what you can do.
Why would you recommend future leaders to join SHE Leads?
If you want to really dig into where you want to go, why and how—then join SHE Leads. The program is fantastic, but it’s really the other participants and mentors that make it. •
Check out SHE Leads Virtual, launching 2021.