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Q&A: Ulrika Hammarström, CEO & Founder, SCRO

Ulrika Hammarström, CEO and Founder of Scandinavian CRO (SCRO) was recently awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in Uppsala, and NLS asked her about building successful teams, her leadership style and women in life sciences.

This prize is awarded by jury to an entrepreneur who has performed above and beyond and whose company has demonstrated long-term economic stability.

Read more: Ulrika Hammarström awarded Uppsala’s Entrepreneur of the Year

According to the jury, the Entrepreneur of the Year has distinguished herself by demonstrating a high standard of performance in the advancement of effective and successful methods that improve people’s lives.

How would you describe your leadership style?

“I strive for authentic leadership, where culture and values ​​are the basis for creating a workplace characterized by psychological safety and trust. It’s not something that’s built in a day, it’s created every day of the week and something that we do together. Within the framework of our values ​​and culture, I believe in personal responsibility and a space to grow and develop as an individual. It is fundamental that employees trust each other and dare to show their weaknesses and ask for help, but also dare to show courage and challenge themselves and others to develop – both in their profession and as human beings. This applies both to me as a leader and to my employees.”

It is fundamental that employees trust each other and dare to show their weaknesses and ask for help, but also dare to show courage and challenge themselves and others to develop.”

“As a leader, I want to be personal. I am a big believer in the power of listening. By listening to employees, customers and other stakeholders, you create trust and commitment. One of my most important tasks as a leader is to inspire others and identify a guiding star to steer towards. As a company, it is important to achieve our goals but it is also extremely important to have fun and enjoy the journey towards our goals. Fun at work means different things for different people and it is important to find each employee’s driving force.”

What is important when you build a successful team?

“In our employee surveys, we receive high marks for team spirit. Having values ​​that are clearly anchored in the organization provides a framework for the team on how to act and communicate. By working with self-leadership and personal development, you can create an understanding of how each person function on an individual level, and how the team members can synergize into a high performing team. Feedback should be a natural element within the team in order to develop and achieve success. Everyone in the team has a part in giving feedback to each other.”

By working with self-leadership and personal development, you can create an understanding of how each person function on an individual level, and how the team members can synergize into a high performing team.”

“It should be easy to ask for help and in meetings and on chats you should be able to share experiences and advice freely. This is something that our employees have created themselves. It’s nice to see and something that makes me extremely proud! Again, I believe that psychological safety and authentic leadership are decisive factors.”

Any thoughts on how we can promote more women to take on leadership and management roles in the life science industry?

“There are many incredible, ambitious, and competent women in our industry. There are also many women in leading positions in the life science industry, but at the very top there is still a gap. By highlighting role models, creating networks, and promoting mentoring, we can go further. A mentorship does not necessarily have to be industry specific. Sometimes it can be redeeming to have a mentor who comes from a different industry.”

There are many women in leading positions in the life science industry, but at the very top there is still a gap.”

“I myself have always had the attitude of not being afraid to ask for advice and help when I need it, and I have had several fantastic mentors and sounding boards, both in life sciences and from other industries. I think that many people want to help. All you have to do is ask!”

Photo of Ulrika Hammarström: SCRO/Liisa Eelsoo

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