An interview with Kicki Wallje-Lund
Kicki Wallje Lund is an enthusiastic and passionate woman. She strongly believes that what can help someone to be resilient is to trust his/her own abilities to cope (not easy) and to become determined to cultivate an attitude of survivorship and trigger positive emotions. She has realistic optimism, believing that the situation will work out for her and all involved but knowing that it will require hard work on her part. She thinks that when you’re happy it’s easier to enjoy the moment and even joke about your past mess ups and have a fun time planning the future. But none of it deters your happiness in the present moment.
She enjoys spending quality time on her amazing farm and has always her eyes set on her new projects, especially when it comes to technology, and the impact it will have on our future. It should come as no surprise, then, that she became the chairman of the board of Embracer Group. What might be more surprising is that her life had a rough start. She left a dysfunctional childhood home when she was just 15, her parents telling her in no uncertain terms that she would never make it on her own. That was more than 50 years ago and Kick is still proving them wrong, every single day.
The moral of her story: It is up to you to make of your life what you want.
Today we interview Kicki Wallje Lund.
Everybody has a story to tell, what is yours?
I was fifteen years old when I escaped from home. My mother told me I would never manage without her. I told her “I will always manage without you”. That conversation was the best that could ever have happened to me, it made me strong. I left school and I got a job as a typewriter at a big Insurance company. It was my very first job, I was very proud and happy to earn my own money.
At the same time, I met my future husband. Today we have lived together for 52 years. I am still very much in love with him (almost every day ☺). He has truly deserved a medal of honour as he put up with me all these years…as I have always had lot´s of passion (I call it) – my husband might refer to it as a “powerful temperament” ☺.
When I was 23 years old, I decided it was time to change focus, from being a housewife to get a proper job. I was becoming bored and wanted more excitement. And, excitement I got. Over the years to come, I devoted all my time into hard work in order to try to achieve great things. At this time, the term “work-life balance” was not yet invented ☺.
Over time, I got valuable experience of business and operational development from various international IT companies where I eventually held senior positions and in which I primarily worked within the bank and finance industry. I lived and worked in London for many years as well as in New York, where I experienced the worst terrorist attack in American history. On the most beautiful morning with bright, blue cloudless skies when I had just arrived to my office (as was next to the New York’s World Trade Center) two airliners flow straight into the two iconic skyscrapers. The building where I had my office was evacuated. I was standing on the street, watching people that jumped out from the buildings to escape the fire. It was a horrific sight. I had to run away from the huge dust cloud caused as the Tower One then collapsed. I thought it was war. A couple of hours later, nearly 3.000 people had lost their lives. That was the September 11 attacks, as often referred to as 9/11. I will never forget. Then I moved back to London.
You didn’t have the easiest life growing up. For those who didn’t have a pleasant childhood and have no good memories of it, what advice would you give them to follow their dreams?
What things can help a person be resilient?
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am a hard worker, always trying to bring energy and passion into everything I do and I am always optimistic for what can be achieved (maybe a bit stubborn as well as might be annoying for people close to me, both at work and at home ☺).
What are your core values?
o Work hard, “you don´t get anything extra if you do not give something extra”- is my motto.
o Setting high ethical standards and treat others with respect in order gain trust.
o I am enthusiastic with lots of energy (too much some may say…) – I never get tired.
o I am trying to always be caring and generous – my family and friends are very important to me.
What inspires you as a person?
What motivates you every day?
It’s never too late to…. (finish the sentence ?)
What does it mean to you to be the Chairman of the Board of Embracer Group?
How would you describe your leadership style?
If you believe in tests/assessments made on my leadership behavioural style, it says that I am “an independent and outgoing person, that I like challenges, take responsibility for my actions, that I am dynamic and that I am impatient but enthusiastic (most of the time)”. I am not sure that all this should be considered 100% positive…
I do not like mediocrity – I always try to inspire and energize people in a positive way to stay focussed and work hard in order delivering on promises made and to make things great. I am also a control freak, as is not always appreciated. I once learned, “the devil is in the detail” and that is something I strongly believe in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the video game industry. Could you summarize how it has affected the Group?
You have always worked with technology-driven companies. When did your interest in this topic begin?
”Oh My God” This photo just proves that I must be growing old This is now 40 years ago!”
Fifteen years later, when I had worked for several American IT companies, I invented and created the Knowledge Lab – a global centre in London for innovative researchand development and new thinking. This Lab mainly focussed on advanced research to understand consumer behaviour in the future of the Financial Services industry. It was all about to identify, create and exploit emerging technologies in the new, networked economy at that time. We were winning several prestigious awards and generated some great publicity and got international media attention. The Financial Times wrote “the Knowledge Labs is one of the leading research centres for retail banking technologies”. I was extremely happy.
My interest and my passion for technology continued to grow over the years and has never ended.
Why is Technology crucial to a company’s long-term success?
From your point of view, why should all businesses embrace sustainability?
How do you organize yourself to do so many things?
How COVID-19 is impacting your daily work?
Why did you decide to live on a farm?
How can we contribute to a better world?
We hope you visit Finca Solmark soon. What do you think about this ecological project?
What are your goals for the future?
Right now, I have ordered a new beautiful greenhouse to be built (my husband is in shock, he is convinced that I will be bored after a week in the greenhouse). I am soon also going to buy me a horse. Our daughters are having horses, but I would like to have my own horse. And finally, I am going to spend a lot of time to take photographs, I love my camera and I love nature photography. That is my goals for the future.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our followers?
Enjoy these words of wisdom:
“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt