Ashoka Nordic announces executive leadership changes

Ashoka Nordic’s director, Emma Lindgren, who has been holding different leadership roles for six out of seven years at Ashoka, is now passing on her role to Amanda Sundell, Ashoka’s country manager in Finland over the past two years. In this blog post, Amanda and Emma share their insights on this new transition and the next steps forward.
Emma Lindgren and Amanda Sundell
Source: Emma Lindgren and Amanda Sundell
  • Emma, can you share with us what have been your main highlights from your nearly seven years with Ashoka? 

Emma Lindgren: The people in and around Ashoka – staff, Ashoka Fellows, young Changemakers, partners and ASN members - all empathic, entrepreneurial, and committed to social change.

They are the most bold and skilled people I’ve ever met, who will not stop doing what they are doing until they achieve the changes they wish to see, while at the same time leading with empathy.

I will make sure that the network of changemakers that I have gotten to know, continues to be part of my life. Of course, I highly value the knowledge I’ve gained around social innovation, leadership, system change, impact, partnerships & ecosystem building. 

  • What are you most proud of over the last two years in your role as Nordic Director? (main transformations that you have seen within the sector) 

Emma Lindgren: I am proud of the whole development journey we’ve done over the years. When I started, we were a newly established, small Scandinavian office, often piggy backing on large Ashoka offices such as Germany, UK and France. Today we are a region that pioneers new social innovations and host international talents and partnerships. To give you an idea, over the past few months we have launched the Changemaker Map in 4 Nordic countries and are active part of 2 new key SE-ecosystem building alliances in Sweden and Finland, while extending our global partnership with IKEA Social Entrepreneurship B.V. for another 3 years.  

Community Day 2019
  • What will you bring with you from your time with Ashoka in your new endeavours? 

Emma Lindgren: The vision of Everyone a Changemaker provides a powerful framework to social change that I will always bring with me. In essence it means mobilizing resources and forming a team around a system changing innovation solving a problem, while empowering influential partners and networks to contribute to the mission. 

  • Amanda, what are you looking forward to as you take on the Nordic Director role?  

Amanda Sundell: I’m excited to take on this role at a point in time where we have just completed the comparative analysis of the field of social entrepreneurship across all Nordic countries and have a clear vision of how we can do even more to support our community and new social entrepreneurs in the region. We have a committed team and I’m looking forward to working more actively across the Nordics, compared to the two past years when I have focused on Finland foremost.  

  • How will the team develop in the next months? 

Amanda Sundell: We have two fantastic new colleagues joining us in December, who bring a wealth of experience in the field with them. Both Pegah Afsharian, who will lead our community in Sweden and Johanna Vierros, who will drive our search and selection efforts to ensure we keep electing the most promising social entrepreneurs into our network, have extensive experience of working as social entrepeneurs and developing the field. I look forward to creating new initiatives and partnerships with them! 

  • What impact do you hope to achieve in the near future? 

An EACH world is by definition, one where everyone has the capacity and opportunity to contribute and to create positive change. When everyone is a changemaker, there is no place for systems of oppression and hierarchy because no groups dominate or exploit others. In fact, when everyone is powerful the systems that perpetuate inequity get dismantled and rebuilt to enable equal access to opportunities and embrace the incredible range of perspectives, narratives, and lived human experiences. 

Amanda Sundell: Over the next year, Ashoka will continue to engage in collaborative initiatives to strengthen the field of social entrepreneurship both in Finland and in Sweden. It’s encouraging to see that there is more national emphasis on advancing the field now and that public institutions are willing to take a role in this. We will continue to engage the leading social entrepreneurs in the Nordics and, in January 2022 we will be able to announce our new Ashoka Fellows so stay tuned! 

In addition, throughout the third edition of the Dela programme, 12 leading social entrepreneurs will collaborate with selected experts from the global social innovation and corporate sector to develop their impact-scaling strategies, testing elements of it in practice. 

And, after establishing a pan-Nordic network for Young Changemakers - the Nordic Young Change Leaders' from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, will continue engaging with the Ashoka’s global network, taking part in the upcoming Changemaker Dialogue, a course hosted by the European Fellowship platform that aims to spark a collective journey to make sure every youth can be a Changemaker. 

We are also happy to announce that the winners of the 2022 Changemaker of the Year award in Finland will be launched in January, kick-stating a mentorship program for the winners from February to June 2022. 

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