New Episode of Breakfast With a CEO

Written by Kelly Fisher

In this week’s podcast, Breakfast With a CEO, we hear from Grete Aspelund, President of SWECO’s Norway Branch.

SWECO, which is Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy company, employs over 17,000 people and is established in thirteen countries in Europe. Grete took over as President of SWECO’s Norway branch in 2015, and oversees over 1,700 employees throughout all of Norway. She joined the podcast to talk about the demanding task of being a CEO, and how she navigates this challenging role.

Work is Demanding, Find Your Routine

Grete thinks that we don’t talk enough about how challenging being a CEO is. You are always “on”, and in a way, representing the company. Additionally, it can be difficult to balance everything in your life completely, since being a CEO is both time and energy demanding. One of the keys to Grete’s success has been finding those routines which help her perform, but more importantly finding routines that she enjoys, like exercising in the morning and taking her dog for a walk.

Become a Leader

Grete really believes that you are not born a leader, but instead learn to become one. One of the keys to being a good leader is that you view every day as a training day, where you should learn from the day’s successes and failures. This requires reflection, which Grete sees as important to build into your working schedule so that you can really pause and think about your growth and development.

Supporting Equality in the Workplace

As a woman leader in an engineering company, supporting equality and diversity is very important to Grete. To actually achieve equality and diversity, it requires that the CEO is actually engaged and believes in this goal, just like any other goal that a CEO might have for a company. As Grete noted, one of the important ways to nurture diversity and equality in the workplace is to make sure that all of the employees are being given the same opportunities to challenge themselves and learn from new situations.

To hear what Grete thinks are the most important traits for a leader, and how she handled the first days of the Covid-19 crisis, listen to the podcast here: