Believing in the power of change through the Ashoka Support Network

With 36 years of experience working closely with young entrepreneurial talents in the corporate world, whereof 34 years in executive management positions, Bodil Eriksson has taken the decision of becoming the newest Ashoka Support Network member in Sweden.
ASN Breakfast
Source: Bodil Eriksson & Magnus Uggla, ASN Breakfast

After a long career of almost 40 years in large Swedish corporations and with 20 years of serving on Board of Directors, Bodil’s decision to start collaborating with Ashoka was founded on her determination to seek new ways of sharing and leveraging her experiences with companies and young entrepreneurs. 

Bodil Eriksson

Having left an intense life in the business and corporate world, Bodil’s main areas of expertise are in strategic communication, branding and positioning, consumer insights, governmental affairs and sustainability, with broad experience in many different sectors such as food and pharmacy retail, forestry and hygiene consumer. 

Four years ago, as CEO of Volvo Car Mobility, Bodil built up the mobility company M from scratch, purely based on the vision of democratizing technology and safety for many by developing a concept where you no longer have to own your car, but simply use it. 

Two weeks ago, we had the pleasure to meet Bodil and ask her a few questions about her motivation to support the Ashoka network:  

“I am in the fortunate position of being able to forge a new agenda for myself. I feel especially motivated to pass on my energy, hope and resourcefulness to Ashoka’s leading social entrepreneurs”  

  • In your opinion, how can changemakers help transform our Nordic societies towards more just, sustainable ones? 

The challenges our world and societies face are complex. I believe in the power of change in humans, individuals and consumers as forerunners to a better future. Changemakers are all individuals that have the strength to pursue and lead the way to this. 

  • What are you hoping to contribute to the Ashoka Nordic community based on your previous experience?   

I am already in awe of what I learned about the Ashoka entrepreneurs and fellows, their commitment and their vision to drive change and provide real solutions for society and individuals.

I don’t yet know the ways in which I will contribute, but I will be listening intently and take it from there. That, by the way, has always been my “go-to-recipe” for starting my own mind working on how to solve problems.   

  • During our last conversation, you mentioned that the red thread that connects all the companies you have been working in is that you have always been recruited to create change. What has that meant for you in your roles?  

Above all, it has required a capacity and openness to understand the context in which my business found itself and find solutions to the situation. What hurdles, problems or obstacles exist that are hindering us to reach the progress or change required?

It requires integrity to dare to state sometimes unpleasant or unwanted facts, and it requires ingenuity and vision to see the path forward. 

  • Since you joined the international ASN community this month, you have already registered for ASN activities and Ashoka’s Systems Change course. Why did you decide to join these initiatives? And what are you hoping to learn from, out of this Systems Change learning  journey?  

I want to learn as much as possible about Ashoka, its organization, and its activities to see how best I can be of service. Hence, I am hoping to learn other and new perspectives of where and what change is needed, and what are the hurdles for change not already happening. 

  • And lastly, could you share one personal & professional experience you are proud of?   

I have many things I am proud of, and that makes me smile. If I would mention one, it would be my initiative during my employment as Executive Vice President at Apotek Hjärtat, to support the Gundua Foundation in Kenya with Healthcare. We established and built a Healthcare station as people in the area had too long to travel for Healthcare. Our staff was granted to go and work there and the response from our employees was incredible and it made a huge difference for the people in the area. The initiative still holds after a decade. 

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Founded in 2004, Ashoka Support Network is a global community composed of 350+ leaders worldwide in more than 40 countries.  

Since 1980, Ashoka has supported more than 3800 leading social entrepreneurs across the globe by providing them with financial, knowledge and logistical support.  

If you want to be part of this mission, read more about the Ashoka Support Network and contact us