Being a Successful CEO as Both Male and Female with Caroline Farberger

If you don’t know Caroline Farberger’s story yet, my latest conversation with her deserves your attention.
Caroline is a professional chairperson and board member, Tech Investor, experienced CEO, keynote speaker and author. Up until 2022, she was CEO of the Swedish insurer ICA Insurance, having spent a total of 25 years in the financial industry in several senior management positions. In addition to her line management experience, Caroline has also been a dot-com entrepreneur and consultant with McKinsey.
Caroline is the first senior business leader in the Nordics to speak openly about her gender transition, having formerly lived as Carl Farberger. Consequently, Caroline has become an advocate and ambassador for diversity and inclusive leadership.
In the podcast episode 095, Caroline shares her experiences as a CEO before and after her gender transition. She talks about the many differences in leading a company as a man first and then as a woman, how her authenticity helps her build trust and connection with female colleagues as well as why inclusive leadership and driving gender diversity and inclusion in companies can only help them thrive. Caroline also shares some practical tips on how to embrace diversity in your team and the biggest thing they learned during their time as a CEO and leader.
KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Caroline has been a CEO as a man and as a woman and can see from their own experiences the many key differences including how others respond to you on a daily basis.
  • When living as a male CEO, Caroline genuinely thought they knew a lot about gender diversity, but it only took a few months after becoming a female CEO to realize how much they didn’t know and how difficult it was being in business as a woman.
  • Being a female CEO, meant that women trusted Caroline more and were more open about their specific challenges.
  • Men often feel under pressure to feel and be seen as strong, they don’t show vulnerability. This means they often miss authenticity and others will not show vulnerability to them either, excluding true transparency within a team.
  • Inclusive leadership allows every single person to be themselves and bring their whole selves to work. This is a big advantage to any business.
  • As a leader, you want to facilitate discussions, so everything is balanced. You need to make everyone feel at ease so that they can be authentic and speak with truth.
  • It’s not enough to simply accept diversity, you have to celebrate it.
  • Caroline recognizes that when they were living as a man, being a CEO was very closely associated with their ego, it was something they measured their success by. Now they are living as a woman they have managed to live more aligned with their values.

BEST BITS
“When I lived as a man I didn’t have the complete picture of what was going around me, I have a filtered one”
“I realized I had a rather excluding management style I was told by women after my transition, I was told I have a very dominating management style”
“If you are not part of the solution of creating more including culture you may subconsciously be part of the problem”

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