“Authentic leadership means leading in accordance with one’s values and personality”

– Anne-Katrine S. Hagelund, Founder and CEO of Born Global

Workshop Nepal, ferdige bilder

It all started with a unique dedication, based on a true and sincere wish to empower female leaders around the world and thus create a foundation for unimagined possibilities. At presence, eight years later, Born Global is a viable little organization working with organization and leadership development. They have worked with more than 300 leaders in Asia and Africa. More than 30 facilitators from Norway have inspired these leaders to empower leaders in their respective countries. Entrepreneur Anne-Katrine Stabell Hagelund (born 1960) is the force behind Born Global. She is a visionary who makes waves that grow into tsunamis of faith, strength and knowledge. She focuses on authentic leadership – and with a powerful voice and impact she will, through her work in Born Global, continue to inspire and empower even more leaders around the world.

Anne-Katrine believes that consciousness when it comes to authentic leadership will motivate, inspire, so you can lead from your own core. The best person to find solutions to your problems is you. Furthermore, she is convinced that empowering female leaders and making them more visible in society in general, will strengthen the cultural view of women, of their roles and their possibilities! Join us on a journey in involvement, entrepreneurial spirit, philanthropic mindset, powerful human connections, change in the form of a new found strength, strengthened self-image and knowledge, all of which open us up to never ending possibilities and a self-reinforcing leadership methodology. A journey that demands courage, confidence in the future, playfulness and last,but not least, the belief that anything is possible!

It has been a long time since the little girl found the answers she was seeking. Through her determination, her visions and strong faith in the power of the individual, she created the organization Born Global, which has inspired and strengthened role models worldwide. Anne-Katrine S. Hagelund is the founder, main sponsor and owner of Born Global, which was founded in 2005 and has conducted leadership development programs in Kenya, Uganda, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Laos, Bhutan and Nepal. Born Global is a politically and religiously independent organization, run pro bono by a woman’s strong commitment and desire to make a difference, as well as giving a voice to humanitarian organizations. Its main target is women in countries where women’s rights have a weak position.

A journey through Asia led Anne-Katrine to Nepal, a country she felt a close connection to. Through Save the Children she was connected to a project in Nepal, working to get girls away from prostitution and into education and work.

– I was happy to discover that there were female employees in Save the Children’s partner organizations and seeing how well they worked with women and children out in the field. When I had meetings with the organizations, however, and saw these women standing silently and respectfully behind the men, who were sitting down, I thought: What happened to their evaluations and knowledge? Then and there I felt a strong, unknown togetherness. I, too, have found it difficult to come forward with my views and opinions, and I fervently wanted to provide them with opportunities to strengthen their self-image and develop some skills that would enable them to participate actively in the discussions and the decision making process. «We were both eager to give women strength and provide them with opportunities for growth, both personal and in the role of a leader.»

At Save the Children, Anne-Katrine meets Sita Ghimire, who at the time was working for Save the Children’s trafficking project. Two different women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different opportunities, but with the same objective!

– We were both eager to give women strength and provide them with opportunities. It gave us an amazing feeling when we saw women in our training evolve from not wanting to present themselves to take the floor on the third day. A tremendous growth had taken place.

After completing a successful pilot program lasting two years with 35 female leaders from Save the Children, being asked to run a workshop for the whole top management in Save the Children Nepal was a great recognition. Organizations from several countries had merged, and wanted to focus on change management. Furthermore, they wanted the entire female staff to go through the pilot program. In a strongly male dominant culture we had considerable challenges when it came to developing female leadership in the country program, Gunnar Andersen explains the reason Save the Children, Nepal hired Born Global to run a workshop for their employees.

«The program’s biggest achievement was probably developing and strengthening the
self-confidence of the participants.»

– Gunnar F. Andersen, Country Director, Save the Children, Vietnam

– That was when that I realized that the approach and methods I had developed through my work in Norway and Nepal were not influenced by the cultural context in which they were implemented. This was an exciting revelation. I was motivated to look further into what we were actually doing, says Anne-Katrine. To Anne-Katrine it is essential to understand which system we come from and which framework we are born into.

– If we don’t, we fight against a shadow we don’t see. And if we don’t dare to think out of the box, we won’t go any further. Entering into the unknown is frightening, but it is also a skill that can be taught and strengthened. Oftentimes we don’t choose the changes in our lives, be it in our private life or at our place of work. Being equipped with some good, personal tools can be a great help. It is important to reflect. I experience so many strange things in my life, and if I don’t sit down and reflect over my experiences, I lose out on a lot. Reflecting can make me discover additional layers of a situation or a remark. I can see the purpose of something I find difficult, and use it to grow. I can turn the mirror on myself and see how my own words and attitudes are reflected through my interaction with the surroundings, and take responsibility for them.

– It is all about being able to communicate on all levels, including the silent communication. «Making room for silence is making room for happiness here and now – wherever and whenever.» Anne-Katrine has seen what silence means to her. This is why she uses it in her trainings.

– Many people have a eureka moment when they realize what silence actually gives, and how many answers we can find within ourselves if only we take the time to listen. Being in what is important, not only being in the world physically, but being present in our emotional life as well. Noticing what is happening with our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Having the guts to just be in it. When we truly try to recognize our emotions, we come in contact with our intuition, are able to listen to our gut feeling and use it as a guide.

– I believe in the natural flow of things, in the little life as well as in the larger one. I believe that following the natural flow of attraction between people, resources and needs, is a good starting point from which we can create something together. This makes me curious. How are we going to work together? What can this become? Large or small, long term or short lived?

– You never know. And when the energy fades out, it’s time to change, develop or wrap it up. This requires presence and flexibility. I have to put aside my ego driven wishes and adjust my map to fit the terrain, not the other way around. We bring this attitude into the way we build up and implement our workshops. With a basis of professional knowledge and experience, this is a dynamic way of work.

«We express the wish that they will become closer to their authentic self and more secure in their leadership role.»

– They use their own examples. Often, they speak their own language, which we don’t understand. That gives them the opportunity to be honest and not be afraid of misunderstandings. I feel that this is an important quality of the workshop. They can create a network based on trust and, perhaps for the first time, speak candidly about their work life.

«The more you rest in your own core, the more you will treat others with respect, through the choices you make and through all that you do.»

– When you rest in your core and nurture it, it takes up more space in your charisma. We become more authentic through this training. It is as if your soul shines through more easily, and your personal core values become more evident to you. The more you rest in your own core, the more you will treat others fairly through your choices and actions. We have a lot of influence by being who we are. Not by what we choose to be or what we purposely show, but through who we are by simply wander through life wearing our unique perfume.

– And that brings us to the term «role model». I have many role models who inspire me and teach me a lot. They all have one unique trait or a field in which they excel. This is something for me to strive toward. I believe we are role models to several more people than we naturally think of.

«When I read the comic «Nemi» I think; Yeah, well, perhaps it isn’t all that weird that I walk around the garden blowing soap bubbles because they look beautiful.»

– I love comics. They are all about stripping down the conversation. It’s «cut to the bone» all the way. Cartoons are amazing, because they tell us something about the expression. A drawing shows a body language which makes you get the point. Certain characters live their lives in brilliant ways, and make points I recognize as true in my own life. The character «Nemi» is like that. She has been able to bring her childishness with her into the adult world. When I read the comic «Nemi» I think; «Yeah, well, perhaps it isn’t all that weird that I walk around the garden blowing soap bubbles because they look beautiful.» Or stay in bed reading books all day. A true Norwegian doesn’t do things like that, but Nemi does. So I do, too.

«Why do I do this? I do it because I believe in awareness, core values and authenticity»

– you are who you are. Don´t fight to be someone you´re not. You will always loose that fight.

 Born Global, Kiri, Cita

The door

A captain of industry was looking for an able and wise manager who would have the skills and the person- ality to take over the organization when he retired. He invited the best managers from his own company and who might serve his purpose. On a particular day, all the possible leaders were assembled in a great hall of a mighty palace. The captain of the industry addressed the hand-picked managers:

«I have a problem, and I want to know who among you has the capacity to solve it. What you see in the wall behind me is the biggest, mightiest, and heaviest door in the country. And I wonder: Who among you, without assistance, has the power to open it?»

Some of the managers simply shook their heads. It was just too big a problem. Others examined the door more closely, discussed the height and the weight, remem- bered theories of problem solving they had learned in business school, and admitted that it seemed to be an impossible task. And when the wisest and most respected had accept- ed defeat, all the others capitulated too. Only one manager approached the door and gave it a thorough close-up examination. She tapped it, looked at its width and depth, noticing the nature and lubrica- tion of its hinges. She checked it thoroughly with her eyes and hands. prodding here, pushing here, poking deeply, centered herself, and pulled gently on the door.

It swung open easily and effortlessly. The others had made the assumption that the door had been locked or jammed. In fact it had been left slightly open- and the carpentry and design were so excellent so only the slightest touch was required to open it. The captain of industry had found his successor! He assembled all the managers – and said:

«Success in life and industry depends on certain key things we have just seen demonstrated. First, rely on your senses to fully understand the reality of what is going on around you. Second, do not make false assumptions. Third, be willing to make tough decisions. Fourth, have the courage to act with boldness and conviction. Fifth, put your powers into action. Finally, do not be afraid to make mistakes.» 

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