Young Women Leaders

Archive for the tag “women leaders”

How to combine fashion + local craftsmanship + recycling + social entrepreneurship

At the beginning of your career, you may not get to work with all things that interest you. Granted, you do not KNOW what you´re interested in (neither do I). But as events and time progress, you will figure more of it out. If you feel like you still do not know, think about what you do NOT want to do, I find that it is sometimes easier. You will see that at some of the groups you belong to/meetings you go to/jobs you have, you will know that parts do not interest you. By cutting those out, it may get easier to figure out what yo really do want to do. 

The next step is figuring out how to combine the things that interest you into one job/task/life. It may sometimes seem impossible, but imagine the reward and success you will feel when you actually do succeed! One person that seemingly have got this all together is Swedish entrepreneur (which is my labeling, not hers) Veronica Henryson Stavby, founder of the brand Lou & friends.

According to her blog, Henryson Stavby began selling bags made of leather in 2008. Traveling the world she has been inspired by other cultures, something that has added inspiration to her products. She writes, “it is […] very important that [the products] ha[ve] been produced in a way that is sustainible and benefit the local societies.”
One example are the boots that Henryson Stavby sells in her webshop, so called keliboots. These boots are made by old Moroccan rugs, reusing this old and beautiful material, and leather. They are handmade by craftsmen in Morocco, ensuring that this knowledge lives on. 





All pictures: keliboots.com
Lou & Friends is also supporting ActionAid,
an organization that “help poor and vulnerable women and children all over the world.” (quote: louandfriends.com). I´m not sure exactly how they are supporting ActionAid (money-wise or in some other way), but I find this to be brilliant!

All in all, Henryson Stavby has integrated a lot of factors that matter to me when buying a product: 
– Fashion. The boots look amazing! Plus there´s a lot of other products too. 
– Local craftsmanship. The makers of the boots live in Morocco and use an old traditional method.
– Recycling. The boots are partly made of old rugs, putting another craft into good (and fashionable!) use. 
– Quality. Leather boots will last longer than some plastic stuff you buy, so even though the boots are a bit pricey, it´s money well invested. 
– Social entrepreneurship. Lou & Friends support an organization that benefits women and children in the world, aka investing in the future. 

Wow! I´d like to be able to combine interests like this! 


Let´s practice the following!

Thank you everybody new who has been reading this blog these past few days!

It´s Monday and as we could all use a pick-me-up at this part of the week, I thought we´d kick it off with this quote by the fabulous Eleanor Roosevelt:

Picture cred: inspiration.entrepreneur.com

Sheryl Sandberg TED talk

Sunday morning. I spent two hours last night cleaning my balcony from old green dirt and stuff. My arms are sore from scrubbing and I just painted my nails bright pink. Next project is putting down the wooden floor out there. Maybe use one of my two hammers and do some nailing. (Yes I am trying to get the point across that I am VERY good at using a hammer and I also wear nail polish.) Probably should have done it the other way around (wood floor first, nail painting later), but I got mesmerized by this TED talk and had to do something while watching.

My friend Lindsay Beckman recommended this talk to me a while ago in one of her comments on this blog, and I finally took the time to see it. It is often hard for me to explain why I am so passionate about women´s leadership, because what most people see is that we are have equal opportunities as men and women (I know! Weird, right?). Ms Sandberg gives the arguments in about 15 minutes, she shows examples from her own life, and she notes the CRAZY few numbers of women at higher levels of leadership in the world. Watch and become inspired to change this!

Happy Sunday!

My personal inspiration part 1: Cecilia Martin-Löf

I´ve decided to write about women that have personally inspired me as a leader. First out is Cecilia Martin-Löf, choir conductor.

Growing up, I was def not the most outgoing or popular kid in school. I was self-conscious, insecure and shy in social settings where I did not feel comfortable. My parents always encouraged my activities outside of school; may it be I soccer, tennis, dance, gymnastics, painting, English classes or the student council. As an 11-year old in a new town, I was accepted to the Uppsala Cathedral Girls´ Choir, where I sang for almost ten years. 

The first few years, we had a lot of conductors coming in, mostly good ones (and a really horrible one who scared us). But there was never anyone who stayed long enough for us to feel comfortable enough in our performances. The boys´ choir of the cathedral had much more rehearsing time, were a larger group with a lot of involved parents and cash. Our little group (diminishing as the conductors came and went) didn´t get to sing a lot of fun material, nor was attendance very high. It was almost embarrassing to perform since we were not very good and it didn´t feel like people believed in us.


But during my last year in junior high, Cecilia made her entrance. She was filled with energy and new ideas, and she brought it all to the rehearsals. She was a huge encouragement to us, and put so much effort into making us better singers and friends. One of the little things she did was to supply us with a bit of money so we could buy sandwiches and eat together before rehearsals. Most girls came straight from school, and being able to have a snack before rehearsals made us talk more to each other and get to know one another and her. This is where I got to know one of my closest and best friends, Caroline. 

Cecilia also asked us what we wanted to do as singers. This resulted in us putting up a musical, written by the amazing writer/singer/songwriter Johanna Olofsson. We were still a relatively small group, but with Cecilia´s support, we managed to make it all happen. Being an all-female choir, the musical material is a bit different from when you have the range with male voices as well, but this material was used for just the female voices. Cecilia planned a weekend where we rehearsed, she got us singing lessons in groups, and she took our interest in certain boys in the other choir seriously 🙂 

I remember Cecilia inviting me, Caroline and a couple of the other older girls to her apartment just to spend time. She was so grown-up to us, had her own apartment where the floor was tilted (old house) and if you put a bottle on one side of the room, it would roll to the other side. It felt like having a big sister listening to you. At this time, we also made the choir an organization and I became its first president. 

I would never have trusted myself into this, to me, very prominent position, had it not been for Cecilia. This is the place and time where I took my first steps leading others. I was given responsibility and possibilities to take charge and leave my comfort zone in so many ways, including leading meetings, working together with the older boys in the other choir, and planning parts of our performances. I even got to play one of the leading roles in the musical and had a solo!

Cecilia made all of this easy for me. I always felt like she had my back, that me and the other girls in the choir could really accomplish anything we set our mind to. I can´t even imagine all the work she put in for us to be able to do all of these things, and she was always there for us, pushing us to go further. Cecilia was always filled with energy and positive attitude, and she was always willing to discuss issues with us. 

We only got to work with Cecilia for about a year and a half, but she created a great ground for us to stand on for the future, both musically and socially. Cecilia is now the chief conductor for DR Pigekoret in Denmark and Lund´s Academic Choir (if Wikipedia is still correct). I´m so happy that I got to work with her, and the impact that she has made in my life. Thank you Cecilia. 
This is a picture that shows how I remember Cecilia conducting: happy, energetic and powerful: 

Photo cred: listinblog.blogspot.com

First Aid Kit says you´re baller

Image(Photo cred: Svenska Dagbladet)
Last night was the Swedish Grammy Awards and group First Aid Kit won 4 out of 6 possible prizes they were nominated for. Yohoo! During one of their thank you-speeches they said the following (my translation from Swedish):

“We have to dedicate this prize to all young girls who dare to go their own way and do their thing and will not get pushed over by all the ideas of how you´re supposed to look”

Way to WIP IT First Aid Kit! It´s important that successful female artists support and encourage other women. Why? Because it means a lot to have support, that there are other successful women out there knowing that it isn´t always easy to go your own way and look the way you want to. First Aid Kit aren´t your “traditional female artists,” they dare to go their own way and to make the music they want to make. It also seems like they have the freedom to look and act they want to, and they do it with honor. I think it is wonderful that they chose to support and put light on young women that do what they want to do.

First Aid Kit consists of the sisters Johanna Söderberg and Klara Söderberg. This is their website: http://thisisfirstaidkit.com/

Here are two of my favourite songs with First Aid Kit:

Let me know what you think!

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