Member story of Elaine Weidman Grunewald

Elaine is a global sustainability and development expert and has worked in the private sector for over two decades as a corporate executive, an investor, and a tech founder. Her consistent advocacy for the private sector’s role in solving sustainability challenges has played out in multinational as well as startup environments.

She is an adviser to numerous start-ups, companies, and CEOs. Formerly, she was SVP and Chief Sustainability and Public Affairs Officer at Ericsson, and a member of the Executive Team.

What’s your professional background?

– I have worked for more than two decades as an international executive with a focus on sustainability & ESG, technology & digitalization, public affairs, impact investing and corporate development. My belief has always been that the private sector’s role in solving sustainability challenges is crucial.  I have worked in multinational as well as startup environments, with investment funds and on public boards. I co-authored a book on the urgency for business to lead the charge on sustainability: Sustainability Leadership, a Swedish Approach to Transforming Your Company, Your Industry and the World (2020 Palgrave MacMillan), together with Henrik Henriksson, who at the time was CEO of Scania.

What is the most important feature as a leader?

– A great leader is passionate about their vision and their journey, whatever field that may be in, and they have an innate ability to bring others along on that journey.  Good leaders get “stuff” done, but they also dare to trust their team, and delegate.  A few qualities I appreciate include emotional intelligence, empathy and drive as well as being able to listen.

What value has IWF Sweden brought to you?

– As an American I was fortunate enough to experience the IWF global network, and I realized how valuable that could be in Sweden, so I have been passionate about helping to build up the Swedish network.  I find the experiences, intimacy and openness that women share in our meetings encouraging, inspiring, and incredibly informative, and many times we often leave with some very practical and hands on advice.