By Maja Vik
Kindred Group is a founding partner of the 2018 Women In Tech. The conference is held in Stockholm on Thursday 8th March, for the fifth consecutive year. Our Chief Commercial Officer, Ebba Ljungerud, will be speaking at a leadership panel. We caught up with Ebba for a quick Q&A.
The theme for this year is: ‘A brave new world’, to highlight that sustainable innovation calls for brave innovators. What does this mean to you and how is this incorporated into the Kindred culture?
Innovation has always been at the heart of our business. It was when we started in 1997 and equally remains so today. We were the first operator to truly go mobile, even before Apple had launched the first iPhone. Our innovation arm, Kindred Futures, is a true testament to that continued commitment.
We operate in a very fast moving industry, so with this in mind it’s important to be agile and take advantage of arising opportunities. To be able to grow, I think it’s important to dare to try things, dare to fail, and learn from those experiences. We have a forgiving environment, and as we grow it’s important to keep that, as part of our culture.
This year WIT is hosted as a full day event. What’s your own expectations and what do you hope to achieve?
I have heard a lot about it over the years, so it will be very interesting to experience it in person. I look forward to seeing the great speakers, good discussions and thoughts. We joined for the first time as a sponsor last year, and are equally excited to sponsor WIT in 2018, this time as a founding partner. I look forward to sharing more on who we are as a company.
You will be speaking at a leadership panel. What’s your greatest strength as a leader?
I’m good at balancing empowerment. I recognise and trust the skills of my team, and delegate thereafter. A key part of this is based on motivation and encouragement, inspiring loyalty and commitment.
What are your thoughts on the gender imbalance in technology?
Well, 34% of our employees are female and 26% of those are managers. While I don’t think this is good enough, we are in a male-dominated industry with both gambling and tech, which means that we have to work actively with multiple factors around gender imbalance. I think for a company like Kindred where we recruit so much from within, a large part of the challenge is to make sure the workplace itself is equally good for women and men, so we also build and recruit a good balance to manager positions.
Initiatives such as WIT are great, as they encourage and empower women already in tech, in addition to women wanting to pursue a career in tech. They also make us visible to potential employees, who might not have considered us before. We still have lots of work to do here, but I also think we have so many great people, both women and men, in the whole organisation, so I do see some encouraging signs for the future.
What advice would you offer to career individuals looking to get into the tech sector?
Dare to lean in and to participate. Don’t be afraid of doing unfamiliar things. Be open-minded, and not too set in what your career path looks like; there are many ways to reach your goal.
And lastly some fun facts. What’s your favourite tech gadget?
My iPhone X.
Kanelbullar or köttbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns or Swedish meat balls)?
What’s your favourite app?
Citymapper, would not get anywhere in London without it. And Spotify.