Please meet our new General Manager, Gabriella Augustsson, and learn more about her background, her visions for the chamber and plans for 2022. You will also learn about her secret escapes in Hong Kong.
- Gabriella Augustsson
Hi Gabriella! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Of course! I've been living abroad, in different parts of the world for most of my adult life - on my own, with my husband and with our three (now grown up) children. It has always been, and still is, a wonderful journey as well as an enriching experience on many different levels, not least professionally.
I’ve worked with international relations and the image of Sweden for 20 years, in Stockholm at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the embassies in London, Washington, Beijing and Seoul.
At the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, I worked with the image of Sweden, providing funding and directions for our embassies across the globe and preparing Sweden's participation in the World Exhibition in Dubai. Over the years, I have both produced and been an integral part of many large projects, for example: laying the foundation of a Thai pagoda in northern Sweden, constructing and implementing a new way of working with public diplomacy and outreach at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, promoting sustainability and the creative industries in a blue and yellow bus across the USA, fundraising and organizing seminars, concerts and an outdoor festival in London, reinventing the Swedish National day in Beijing and helping to inaugurate Gothia Cup in Qingdao.
I have also been fortunate to work closely with the Swedish Chamber - on many occasions - in London, Washington and Beijing and I am excited to be a part of SwedCham Hong Kong and together with the board and our members take the organization into the future.
What do you wish to achieve as the General Manager of SwedCham?
Thanks to my predecessors Eva Karlberg and Christian Bergenstråle, SwedCham Hong Kong stands firm on a strong foundation.
I believe that a successful chamber starts with strong leadership, a well-planned strategy (with room for spontaneity!), successful execution of events and - most importantly - engagement from its members.
In these times of unprecedented changes, we need each other more than ever. I want to strengthen the sense of community in our networks. I want to keep SwedCham relevant by being engaged in current affairs and the business community at large. I want to provide opportunities for education through events and dialogue. I want to gather information on what our members want, what works and what to focus on.
What plans does SwedCham have for the year 2022?
Times of change and uncertainty call for a reliable network and I am pleased that we are working closely with Team Sweden, the European- and the International Chambers of Commerce to channel issues in policy and create surveys. Together with Team Sweden Hong Kong we are conducting the Business Climate Survey - be sure to participate!
We are hosting Experience Sharing Lunches on current topics, co-hosting an APAC CEO Series that gives an insight into the minds of Swedish business leaders and a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Series to further the agenda with likeminded.
We are introducing Let’s Meet - a new flexible format for industry specific knowledge exchange. Within SwedCham Academy we are offering two brand new classes - Swedish and Swedishness. More to come!
In these particularly tough times for many in the larger community we are organizing a virtual competition called Race to Raise to benefit Pathfinders and Domestic workers in need,
March 12 – April 12.
Our Annual General Meeting is planned for May 17 at the Soho House and the Midsummer Celebration, organized by the Swedish General Consulate and co-hosted by SwedCham, at PMQ on June 10th (restrictions permitting). And you can certainly look forward to a big-bash Crayfish Party in the fall.
According to you, what is the greatest benefit of being a member of SwedCham?
There are many benefits! Maybe the most important ones are that it gives you an opportunity to build networks within, and beyond the SwedCham community as well as a chance to work together with others, to impact mutual areas of interest. And you will of course have access to all our events; seminars, workshops as well as social gatherings and unique Swedish seasonal celebrations.
"...it gives you an opportunity to build networks within, and beyond the SwedCham community as well as a chance to work together with others, to impact mutual areas of interest."
Finally, when you are not working, do you have a hidden gem in Hong Kong?
My (maybe not so hidden) gems are the outlying islands! Already on the ferry from Central, watching the captain skillfully maneuver his way between the massive cargo ships and the old junks, with a school of flying fish playing in the wake of the stern, I am in a zen mood. I love spending time on Cheung Chau with its myriad of sea food restaurants, serene temples and coastal hikes... or on Lamma with its mellow mood, mom & pop stores and Sham Wan beach (accessible only part of the year since it’s a nesting site for green turtles)... or on artsy Peng Chau with fun galleries, cool coffee houses and octopuses, softly swaying in the breeze as they are hung to dry on the side of the board walk.