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Leading the way

A successful leadership can be described and looked upon in many different ways. For Nina Bake, the youngest female CEO on the stock market, it means keeping the main goal in sight and making sure everyone is on the same track.

30-year-old Nina Bake, manager at Episurf AB, has had a few years to learn all about leadership. She has a degree in industrial economy, focusing on bioscience and entrepreneurship from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. In 2008 she was headhunted as business developer for Episurf, which was at the time known as Diamorph Medtech AB. The company’s focus lies in developing individually customizable implants and surgical drilling guides for the treatment of local cartilage damage in joints.

When Episurf Medical AB was formed in 2009, Nina Bake acceded in the role as CEO. When the company became publically listed, she became the youngest female CEO on the stock market. In Nina Bake’s case, the road to a successful career and leadership spells dedication, will-power and professionalism – and team work.

“It takes a lot to bring me down. If I have a goal set I make sure to get there. However, running a business is all about the team effort. It is of vital importance to me that I’m surrounded by people that are good at what they do, that are driven and self-motivated. Thus, as a leader I would say that I am at my best in a flat organization, where everyone contributes and understands their tasks. I show my colleagues the main message and idea and expect them to take their own initiatives. That way, neither I nor the company will lose track of our objectives.”

Nevertheless, running a medtech company in an industry going through big changes will let any CEO experience a fair share of roller-coaster-rides. Dealing with difficulties has been part of leading Episurf as well.

“I am faced with different challenges on a daily basis and have been for the last couple of years. For instance, when a planned collaboration is canceled, it almost feels like losing a year of progress. But I have a firm belief that if you are committed enough to something, you will eventually get around the difficulties. If the plan B doesn’t work out, there’s often a plan C waiting around the corner. I always look on a problem as something that can be solved. It’s all part of an amazing, exciting and creative journey,” she says.

Finding a long-term strategy

The trials will surely continue during the upcoming years as the company strives to expand their business. Nina Bake hopes to bring in more colleagues that will be part of the familiar atmosphere and entrepreneur spirit, where everyone strives in the same direction, as well as maintaining her leadership profile.

“I don’t necessarily mean that I am a good leader in all circumstances, though,” says Nina and continues.“If you like to work under freedom with responsibility, I would probably be the right person. But in other types of organizations you might need to act differently. Working in the life science-business specifically, I think it takes a lot of stamina, patience and focus to ride out the long cycles of the industry. Most importantly, you need to maintain a long-term strategy and create a long-lasting foundation within all areas of your business.”

What is the best part of being a leader then? For Nina Bake, freedom is without a doubt the best and most important part.

“For me, it’s very rewarding to work through the adage ‘learning-by-doing’. I like the enormous freedom of building up something and seeing the business take shape along the way. I think I would get fed up quite soon if I had to take orders from someone else. It’s really wonderful as an entrepreneur and CEO to see your business deliver, to see that whatever you take on is fully possible,” Nina Bake concludes.

Nina’s top 5 advices for a successful leadership

  1. Surround yourself with committed and professional co-workers
  2. Delegate responsibilities
  3. Clarify long-term as well as short-term goals and strategic directions
  4. Be consistent and clear
  5. Don’t doubt or hesitate! Instead, solve any eventual problem, or go for plan B