Women in sports! Lean in!

I have an exciting day ahead of me. I’m in Bergen! Some months ago, I was invited to the minister of culture to round-table debate concerning women in top positions within sports! You don’t say no to a minister!

Last year, I had chronicle in a daily news paper in Norway. The theme was Women in sports – Lean in! I am reposting it today in English! Happy reading!

Today’s special! Leadership and Life Snap Chat!

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Women In Sports! Lean In! (Published in Dagsavisen June 15, 2015)

The board of directors in The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports has a good female representation, but the percentage of women in executive positions in sports politics is decreasing. The president of the Norwegian Football Association, stated in June 2015, that we must use gender quotas more. I do not believe in his strategy. Organizations must facilitate the long-term development of both administrative and political leaders. Perhaps those who have been in a top executive position for a “lifetime” should know when it is time to let go, and let others take over. Women must give themselves and others support, and perhaps a kick in the butt.


A personal story

A friend of mine recently contacted me, telling me that she was asked to take a position in the board of directors in a sports organization. The nomination committee representative told her that she was asked primarily because she was female, and that they had to fill the female quota. She is, in my opinion, very much qualified for the position, but the fact that they were required fill the female quota seemed more important than her qualifications.

For years, I have been interested in increasing the percentage of female leaders and being a role model myself, both in the world of sports and in my job as a partner in Deloitte.

During the 2000’s, The Norwegian Snowboard Federation conducted the project PowderPuff Girls. Three young sports leaders wanted more female leaders, judges, TD’s etc. The project was started on their own initiative. After the project had made some progress, the board was asked for support, and the association contributed by providing facilitation. The project was quickly recognized by the entire community, and received a lot of attention. The result was more women in various positions, such as several potential board members and one president.

In order to get more women into board and top executive positions, both women and the organization must facilitate. I do not have the solution, but I do have some thoughts and input.


Organizations should:

  • Make sure that nomination committees have a diversity, when it comes to gender, age and ethnicity.
  • Plan long-term, and identify female leader talents early on. Facilitate and make sure that women are challenged in terms of tasks and roles. Women are often evaluated in terms of what they have achieved, while men are often evaluated in terms of what their potential is. Be aware of that, the next time you assess candidates!
  • Internal women projects should as far as possible be run by resources with a strong inner motivation, vs. board-decided top-down projects. The projects should involve both women and men. The project owner should be in the top management.
  • Show trust by facilitating for the projects, instead of managing and controlling, by giving economic support, assist with administration and communication.
  • Have an open dialogue about the top executives internally, administratively and politically. Today’s top executives should continuously consider whether it is time to step down. New and younger talents, both women and men, could be what is necessary to take the organization to the next level.

Women should:

  • Do not doubt your qualifications! The nomination committee has done this assessment, and there is a reason for why they asked you. Look around. It is not as if today’s top executives are superhuman.
  • Lean in! Ask someone to suggest you as a candidate, or do it yourself. Show your strengths and make yourself available. Update your CV on LinkedIn, register your name in board databases etc.
  • Promote yourself! Remember that the position is not secure even if the committee nominates you. Get influential people to support your candidacy. The reelected board member Marcela Bustos is a very good example of how to do the latter.
  • Set boundaries and delegate! Clearly state what your available time and prioritization is.
  • Be part of the top executive community! Use your relations to other top executives in order to receive advice and discuss matters.
  • Create your own leadership style! Do not attempt to copy your predecessor. Take advantage of the opportunity. Norwegian sports needs diversity, including the top executives.

I Can’t Believe TEDx Picked Me!

Some weeks ago, I attended TEDx Oslo. A truly inspirational day! Where ever I looked, people in the audience had stars in their eyes. This is religion! For us, this was Christmas eve, New year’s eve and a birthday celebration, all in one day!

The challenge – Be the Change

When all the great TEDx talkers had left the stage. It was time for the audience to lean in. A contest was launched. 10 people would be picked to be a part of the Be The Change program. The challenge penetrated my heart. I had to do, what must be done to be a part of this program. I caught the challenge on my camera, before I ran off!


My Application For The TEDx 2016 Challenge, Be The Change

Below I have copied parts of my application.

1) TEDx Oslo 2016 – the most inspirational talk and why!

I have always admired women standing out from the crowd. Women with a clear message, challenging the established. For me, the 10 points went to Elise By Olsen. I think everybody in the audience were surprised when a young women with pink hair entered the stage. Elise gave us a clear message and new insight.

Elise is a true role model. She is an important role model for her generation Z. And she is different, giving us a diversity in role models. You can watch her TEDx talk here -> YouTube – Elise By Olsen – TEDxOslo

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Photo: screenshot from YouTube

2) Where in life am I today?

Many times I have been the first (or youngest woman) in new positions, both in my business life and being a sports politician. I am a twin mother, a business leader in a male dominated industry, a spouse, a globetrotter and a blogger. I use my blog to show the world that you CAN be a leader and have a life.

Role models is key part of my inner motivation. I strongly believe, that there are too few female role models in top executive positions, both in numbers and diversity. Some diversity might be out there, but different female CXO role models are difficult to spot.

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From my blog post – My battle between motherhood and career

Media loves to expose the extreme versions. They call them Taarnfrids! A caricatured super business woman running in high heels. She is closing business deals on her cell phone, while leaving her sad looking son, dressed in a suit and bike helmet, in a locker at the central station. Or CXOs who did not take any maternity leave. I do not condemn their choices. There is no one size fits all. We need more real role models!

3) Where do I want to be in one year?

A secret! 😉 I will not share this part of my application! Stay tuned, and follow my journey! 😉

The wait

I waited and waited. I checked and checked my e-mail. The decision was postponed. But finally, Thursday morning, it was there! It is a fact! I am one of the ten lucky ones to be at part of the Tedx Oslo Be the Change program!

Ready the a TEDx change!

I hope you will follow my “Be The Change” journey here on my blog!


Cecilia :*


So Angry! I Did Not Sleep For Three Nights!

A friend of mine just called. She had attended a meeting, where the person who asked for the meeting made her feel invisible and ridicule. He used well-known suppression techniques. She knew they had different interests. She had prepared her message well. But she got totally paralyzed, when he arrived late, gave a monologue and left the meeting!

I Could Not Sleep!

Suppression techniques! That’s what we call them. I have experienced it so many times. My worst experience was a negotiation some years ago. The top management did not show up to meetings or responded to our calls. They made us feel invisible. Whatever we presented, it was not good enough or they just ignored us.

Normally, I am a cool cat. But a lot was at stake. I felt insecure, frustrated and angry! I laid awake night after night or I would go snowboarding to reflect.  Why didn’t I do this or say that? How do we deal with it?

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Time for reflection after having experienced suppression techniques

The five suppression techniques!

Doing research for this blog post, I found out that the expression suppression techniques, hersketeknikker, came from a Norwegian, the psychologist and philosopher Ingjald Nissen. He analyzed it in 1945 his book Dictatorship of the psychopath, where he discussed the German catastrophe. (Source: Wikipedia).

The expression was later popularized by the Norwegian politician and feminist Berit Ås. She defined five general suppression techniques.

  1. Invisibility – when you are forgotten, overruled or bypassed. Just like my negotiation experience.
  2. Ridicule – when you get laughed at, mocked or compared with animal behavior.
  3. Retention of information – when you do not get the information you are supposed to or bypassed.
  4. Condemnation – whatever you do it is not good enough. You do your best, and the response is always too passive or too ongoing. I would say that Sheryl Sandberg’s statement about women, unfairly, being called “bossy” is a clear suppression technique.
  5. Inflict of blame and guilt – you get ridiculed, humiliated, exposed and defamed. One example is “Don’t worry your pretty face”.

(Source: Wikipedia)


How can awareness of suppression techniques be your weapon?

Do I use suppression techniques? Oh yes! I have retained information. I have made people feel invisible. But I never ridiculed or made people feel guilty. I guess my strategy is smaller actions. Like many women using suppression techniques, mine are often “backstage”.

  • I am very aware of meeting set-ups. Where and how do I sit at the table. Don’t sit at the far end. Sit next or opposite to the most influential person in the room. Or place yourself to be the most influential person in the room. Elevate your chair. Stand up if you make presentations. Invite people to your home ground, if you want to win the battle.
  • I am very aware of how I speak. Do I address someone by their last name or surname? I inform consciously, what and in which sequence. I am aware of how I use my voice.
  • I am very aware of how I act. A typical female suppression technique is to put my hand on someones shoulder or arm when I make a statement. A Norwegian top politician, today – the secretary of the treasury Siv Jensen, once asked if she could kiss her opponent, today – NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg. I have not done this yet :).


I hope this blog post has increased your awareness. In my next blog post, I will share my best advice on how to deal with suppression techniques!


Have a wonderful Sunday!


Cecilia :*


The importance of doing nothing!

As you might have noticed, I have many irons in the fire! Maybe, too many? Since Easter, I feel like I have been doing something 24/7. Twins, work, blog, more work, working-out, more work, too little sleep and more. I always try to be efficient and get the most of the day. It is good to get things done, but my brain has suffered from information overload. Is my effectiveness my worst enemy?

My brain needed a break

I felt a need to do nothing and log off. A long weekend at my parents farm up north was just what I needed. Four days at low speed, spending valueable time with my family. The valley is far away from everything and close to nature. The internet connection is slow. My mobile network does not reach the farm, at the very end of the valley. Perfect! I was forced to log off and downshift.

My view this Sunday morning at 6 am, Flatum, Roevassdalen

I have enjoyed doing “nothing”! Going to bed before 10 pm and sipping my morning coffee at 6 am. I have had some morning runs accompanied by complete silence, only broken by singing spring birds. My eyes have rested the slowly moving green stream, from the nearby glacier. Plenty of time with my twins and walks in beautiful surroundings. Being away from the busy city life and doing nothing has been like a vitamin pill.


Doing nothing is good for your mental health

It feels like my brain has been down and re-booted. Research shows that doing nothing is good for our mental health. The scientist Andres Smart, the author of Auto-Pilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing, used the latest findings in neuroscience to show that our brains need idleness. As a matter of fact, doing nothing leads to happiness. (Source: Tom Hodgkinson, Independent.co.uk)


My own experience is that doing nothing has been good.

  • I breath slower
  • I get new ideas
  • I have time to reflect and think things through
  • My brain feels more sorted
  • I have more energy

I am ready for a new week! I hope, you feel the same!


Cecilia :*


Adele Taught Me 5 Things about Leadership!

Last night, I went to the Adele concert in Oslo. This was THE concert happening of the year in Norway! The arena was packed. Adele! What a woman. What an artist! She blew us all off!


It has been some years, since my last concert. This was the best comeback concert ever. By far, one of the best concerts I have been to.

Hit after hit after. Her voice is spectacular, her lyrics dramatic (a lot about love :)) and she sings to our hearts! Adele is authentic. She shares her story and passion. That’s why we love her! A lot of personality and humor. This lady is one of a kind, and she is only 28!

After the concert, I was inspired! Here are five key take aways that any leader can learn from Adele!

5 Leadership Advices – Adele Style

1) See people and be interested. What’s your employees story? Give a compliment! Do you know your employees birthdays? Dare you to take lead on their birthday song?

2) Don’t act like a primadonna with your nose in the air. Okay, you are the leader and you believe you are important, but get your nose down.

Adele talking and laughing, while the audience takes selfies with her in the background :)

3) Don’t let anyone ruin your life! If you have anyone that annoys you over a long time, don’t let them ruin your life. Tell them to F*** off! Hehe, these where Adele’s exact words!

4) It’s okay to be nervous! Adele is a super artist. She shared stories about how she is nervous before a concert.

5) Work is important, but remember that the most important in your life is your children! Remember to get out of the office in time, to be there when they grow up!


And I just have to share two leadership thoughts on some lyrics!

  1. Hello, it’s me! I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. Relations are important, both in your professional and private life! It’s never too late to pick up the phone and say – Hello! And take it from there.
  2. Do you see my heart on my sleeve? A famous Norwegian football coach often talked about playing with your heart on the outside of your shirt. I believe the same goes for the business world. Lead with your heart on your sleeve. People will find you more authentic, believe in you and the vision and eventually follow!
Adele, what a great personality she has!

Definitely a great experience, which I shared with this three girls, my best friend, my niese and her friend!

Four excited girls in the audience! :*

I Am Checking Out Other Women!

I am on a mission, on a search, and some weeks ago I asked for help! Can you readers and my followers in social media help me to find the best female leadership blogs (-> Help me – I am searching for the best leadership blogs).

I have received so many good suggestions! Right now, I am wondering how to find time to check them all out. Maybe, I need to invite some friends over for a blog day, where we go through them all? Please, let me know if you want to join! :)

But right now, it’s Sunday! Here is the list! Wow, approximately 50 female leadership bloggers! I get goosebumps! 😉 I am going to check out these women!

Photo: Stian Schioldborg
Time to check out the best leadership blogs, written by women! Photo: Stian Schioldborg


The Best Female Leadership Blogs!

Take a look! Find your favorites! Be inspired by a whole lot of girl power!

Businesswoman posing near white car and showing her slim and slender legs near her car. Successful lady in grey skirt posing on pink high heels. Toned image.

Phew! A long great list! I look forward to check them all out! A big thanks to Jesse Lyn Stone for sending me an impressive list with many of these great women!

Who is missing?

Have I missed out on your favorite? Please, make a comment below!


Have a great Sunday! I will have a fantastic day! Adele!!! concert tonight!


Sunday love!

Cecilia :*

Photo: Storypick.com



I Said No!

Super Tuesday! This week, my advice is short and might seem simple. Just say no! Still for many of us, saying no can be very difficult!

If you have checked out my Instagram lately, you know that I’m a fan of quotes. A couple of weeks ago, I posted this one:

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”

The famous quote belongs to Herbert Bayard Swope, the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1917 (www.goodreads.com).

Say no with style

The following weeks, I had several episodes where friends asked me for advice. One was afraid to burn bridges, if she spoke out how she really felt about a specific subject. Another friend, said yes to everybody. Now, she was running from one task to the other. The days did not have enough hours.

My reply to both – My recipe for failure, try to please everybody!

Photo: Stian Schioldborg, Magenta Studios
Think it over, before you say no! Photo: Stian Schioldborg

The quote is an important reminder! Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to say no or stand up for your opinions. It is normal to feel uncomfortable, when you say no. You feel guilt, especially if have the competence and your heart says: Yes! We are also afraid to be rejected and not asked again.

Most important, it is so easy to say – Yes! It feels so good and everybody are happy! The only problem is that you have too much on your plate already. Now, you added another task to your long list. The people will just be disappointed, when they realize that nothing is happening.

Don’t say maybe, if you want to say no!

When you say no, you have to do it with style, humility and confident. Do not fall into the maybe trap! Show understanding and explain your situation. Practice loud with a colleague or in front of the mirror.

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Don’t say maybe, say no!

These days, I say no to after work and weekend activities. I get invited to several social gatherings a week. It would be great join, but it jams my schedule. Sorry folks, but this twin mother knows her priorities!

Have a great Tuesday! Speak up or say no! I am sure you will feel relieved!

Hilsen Cecilia :*


How to be Successful on Instagram? My IG Challenge!

Time for an Instagram challenge. The jungel of social media can be difficult to get through! We cannot be everywhere. For my leadership and life blog, Facebook and LinkedIn are my main accounts! Nevertheless, lately I have fallen in love with Instagram.

My Instagram Challenge!

A month ago, I did not have that many followers on Instagram. At a meeting with my agency, they told the tough truth – Your Instagram account sucks! It is a mess! – Argh… I needed to step it up! 

With a  broken Instagram heart, I went home! The tough feedback gave me energy, and I challenged myself! I made a strategy and I am sticking to my plan!

The goal – 1000 followers before the end of May!

My old Instagram look!

This is what it used to look like. I just posted a picture now and then, used different filter, without much thought.

old IG

Top five Instagram advice!

I decided to learn from the best. I googled – How to be successful on Instragram? I read many good advices. I look on other accounts. I loved the advice from Huffington post, the Dailtekk and Forbes!

Finally, I decided to follow these five advices:

  1. Make a strategy and stick to it!  I have decided to present two sides of my life on Instagram, leadership and sports! In addition to pictures, every second post is an inspirational quote.
  2. Instagram is all about about style! The Instagram account should look like a painting! Think about the next picture, when you post one today! All pictures should have the same look and size. If I use filters, I use the same!
  3. Hashtag! Choose hashtags that communicate your post, but not too many!
  4. Interact with others ! Relations are always important, also on social media! Like, comment and give others good accounts a shout out! My good friend Camilla, aka Treningsfrue, gave me a shout out to her 67.000! followers. Thanks! :*
  5. Follow your heart and have fun! 😀 This is my own advice! The moment you are untrue to your heart and posting increases your stress level, reconsider your strategy. One unexpected benefit from my challenge has been the fact that I need to take more pictures! I need to step up my photographer skills!

The new look!

First and most important, I am having a lot of fun. I love testing out new ideas. For Instagram, I am sharing a combination of inspirational quotes and pictures from my world as leader and work-out addict.

Before I started on my new strategy, I tested posting a big “instatile” picture. Nine pieces complete the sunset at Guincho beach, Portugal. Pretty cool!

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Time to go for the new look. This is what it look likes today! A much cleaner look!



Please follow my Instagram (ceciliaflatum)! Help me get to 1000! Only 300 to go!

What is your best Instagram advice? Please, share it!


Have a great Sunday!


With Insta love

Cecilia :*

How my Instagram looks like today!



Best of TEDx Oslo 2016!

I am a big fan for TED talks. During my twin maternity leave, I often listened to TED talks on my many stroller walks. They have given me inspiration, new knowledge and insight. Today, I was in the audience at TEDx Oslo 2016.

TEDx Oslo 2016

The theme for TEDx Oslo 2016 was a new consciousness.

Ben Malley talking about experiences, empathy and making “Murmur”

We live in an era when it is a luxury to disconnect. Technology enables us humans to create and share content to an extent that has never been possible before. We have access to endless information about the world, its challenges and realities of people that are miles away from us (from www.tedxoslo.no).

From the right – Marina Staubo (chief of volunteers YOG 2016), Christian Aass (ICM, lokalii.com) and an enthusiatic friend :)

Where ever I turned and whomever I talked to, they all had stars in their eyes. True TED talks lovers. During the breaks, there was hear a constant humming. The participants were making new relations or deepening old relations.


My highlights of the day!

TEDx Oslo did not disappoint us. A variety of good talks and music pieces were presented to us. I have picked these four highlights of the day.

1) Elise By Olsen, the world’s youngest editor-in-chief

Wow! This 16 year old young woman is the world’s youngest editor-in-chief (Recens paper). She represents generation Z. With a strong message, a well prepared performance and a cool attitude, she gave us new insight about how our youngest generation is thinking and their capabilities. Elise, you rocked!

Elise By Olsen at TEDx Oslo

2) Harald Eia, the perfect combination of comedian and  sociologist

I think we all were a bit curious on what our Norwegian star comedian and TV personality, would bring to the table. Harald Eia was no disappointment. The topic was – In which society is it easiest to get rich? His message about how the welfare state creates more winners, than losers was well received. And we all got a good laugh from time to time!

3) Glenn D. Rolfsen, a practical psychotherapist

Glenn D. Rolfsen, a psychotherapist working in corporate health service in Oslo, gave us all some good advice. He presented a clever and easy guide to prevent backbiting at work. Yeah for project #Gossip2016. I will share his advice in an upcoming Super Tuesday post!

4) Sven Mollekleiv, the longstanding President of the Norwegian Red Cross

Mr Mollekleiv was the last speaker. He is the longstanding President of the Norwegian Red Cross. He is a very experienced humanitarian voices and have been on the stage a couple of hundred times. I must admit, that tears were running down my face when he presented the human tragedies in the world. He gave tributes to four Red Cross volunteers. The power for humanity is strong. And his last message was – We cannot care for everybody, but we can all care for someone.

Svein Mollekleiv at TEDx Oslo

A day well spent! I love learning new stuff, get inspiration and meet new people. If you want to develop, you must learn to know people different from yourself!

I already look to next year’s event.

Did you like this post? Please feel free to share it!


Thanks TEDx Oslo!


Cecilia :*

PS – For inspiration 2-3 times pr week, please subscribe to my blog (registration bottom to the right)

Cec og Kath
A great day, and I also met the inspiring Kathrine Aspaas! I cannot wait for her new book!

10 things you should tell your employees!

Super Tuesday! I started off this week with a 12 hours work day! I claim to be super efficient. This does not mean that I always have short days! This Monday was long, but it was great. The main reason for this was my colleagues. You can work as efficiently as you like. But if you don’t have the team with you, it’s useless! Check out the 10 things you should tell your employees.

Every day, I am surrounded with great people. This super Tuesday is dedicated to you guys! <3

10 things you should tell your employees!

  1. If you perform well, I will give you credit in public
  2. If you underperform, I will tell you in private
  3. If you mess up, I will be there for you, and take the punches
  4. If I step on your toes (check out blog post), tell me!
  5. I will give you freedom, when it comes to approach, how and where you work, but I expect you to meet agreed deadlines!
  6. If you have trouble in your life, tell me, if you feel comfortable! This will make it easier for me to adjust your work day!
  7. Don’t be afraid to bother me! I try to be accessible, but sometimes I have too much on my plate. It is perfectly okay, to come to my desk, call, sms, Skype and stalk me, if it is urgent.
  8. If you think I suck at something, tell me!
  9. Let’s laugh together, every day! This is just our work. There are more important things in our lives!
  10. We are a team. Ask yourself: – How can I be a great team member?

Have a great week, folks!

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cec på sykkel

Cecilia :)