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FutuStories - Meet Sonja, Managing Director Sweden

01-12-2020Culture

Sonja heads up a truly international team at Futurice Sweden, and it's this diversity that makes life at the office exciting for her. She believes in the power of looking at things from multiple angles, which helps her to solve puzzles both at work and at home.

Maria Sabbah

Head of Marketing, Stockholm

As female leaders it’s important that we promote young female candidates. We also need to make sure female leaders aren’t just lifted up in softer areas like HR, sustainability or diversity, but that they’re regularly employed in all management positions without it being made into a big deal. I don’t like to be pointed out as a female MD for example – I’m an MD and I happen to be a woman.

Sonja Profile small

What does your role at Futurice involve?

As the CEO of Futurice Sweden, my role is to make sure that we have the right people doing the right projects for the right clients, and also that we’re evolving and becoming established in our local market. My job is very varied – on a day-to-day basis it can involve anything from discussing pricing with a client to considering strategy on a global level.

What inspires you?

I love it when someone’s passion aligns with what they’re good at – that’s when work becomes interesting, easy, and even inspiring. I’m also impressed by people who have a deep knowledge of a subject that I know nothing about. For example, I’m currently reading a book about eels, which is a huge topic; it’s fascinating for me when people are so into their niche. I also think it’s really inspiring and admirable when people do altruistic things that are for the benefit of others and not at all about themselves – it motivates me to bring a little bit of that into my own work.

What are people often doing wrong in this field?

I think people often go for the obvious solution without thinking things through. If you’re making a product, it’s easy to assume you know what people need – and even though this gets talked about a lot, big mistakes still get made in this area. It could be as simple as forgetting to check that a new service you’re introducing is available in the required languages. At Futurice, we come in to help companies gain an external view, to look from different angles and discover what the people using their products or services really need.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like anything to do with puzzling and solving things, from jigsaws to escape rooms. I’m really loving Lego Architecture and Lego Flowers these days – it’s great that they do loads of stuff for adults now! I also enjoy Japanese puzzles like Hanjie, where you have to use numbers to figure out which squares to fill in and the final result is a pixelated picture. Aside from that, I also swim a lot and read books – mostly fiction, as I tend to fall asleep when reading non-fiction books!

Is there anything about you that would surprise people?

I think lots of people will be surprised about my love of puzzling actually – not many people know that about me! Another thing that not many people know is that I actually worked as a developer for about half a year. Here in Stockholm, people are often surprised that I’m not Swedish – when I speak Swedish they think I’m from Gotland or the north of Sweden. Maybe people can’t place me based on my accent, so they just guess.

What can be done to get more women into management positions?

There’s already a lot being done, but I’d say the most important thing is that you need role models. Lots of male leaders tend to take younger male leadership candidates under their wings, so as female leaders it’s important that we promote young female candidates. We also need to make sure female leaders aren’t just lifted up in softer areas like HR, sustainability or diversity, but that they’re regularly employed in all management positions without it being made into a big deal. I don’t like to be pointed out as a female MD for example – I’m an MD and I happen to be a woman.


Interested in reading more stories about us and our people? At Futurice, we celebrate diversity and cherish everyone's unique journey. Check out our Welcome Home page and get inspired by more journeys shaping our culture. If you would like to read more stories and get to know our people, our sites and the community better, check out the global version of our FutuStories Booklet.

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