The STAR program – Strategy to Achieve Results

Only 16 per cent of the top managers in the ICT industry in Norway are women. This is not enough. Abelia, one of the member organizations in the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) and the ODA network have therefore established the STAR program in cooperation with consultant and senior researcher Anne Grethe Solberg at the Labor Research Institute (AFI).

The STAR program is aimed at change management throughout the business. The top management’s active engagement to improve gender balance is crucial, and Hans-Petter Mellerud has committed himself to the project by inviting eight managers from Operations, Consulting, Finance, Quality & Compliance and HR in Zalaris Norway to participate in the STAR program with training sessions and seminars on topics such as strategic thinking. The participants are: Frida Devlin, Siri Abrahamsen and Ida Sigrid Loeng (Consulting), Charlotte Brandsæter (Finance), Mona Haslevang and Wenche Kvalvaag (Operations), Marthe Corneliussen (Quality & Compliance) and Kristin Burø Bekkedal (HR).

In the whole STAR program, there are participants from ten companies with a top management who is consciously motivated to improve gender balance in the management. These companies are: Zalaris, Telia, Telenor, Evry, Sweco, Capgemini, Kantega, Sopra Steria, Microsoft and Abelia. Zalaris is participating on parts of the STAR program with some internal mini-seminars/sessions held just for our group, and we have some sessions together with participants from the other companies. The other companies are participating on an extended part of the program that also include internal mentoring and several training sessions with the external facilitator.

The opportunity to participate in the STAR program has been very inspiring. We have developed an internal network where we are sharing knowledge and learn from each other. We have become part of an external network of woman managers in other companies, we have participated on both internal and external seminars on strategic thinking, we have learned about career codes and we have been given practical tools to handle various situations and challenges in our roles at work. We have been challenged on how we think about ourselves in our roles, what our ambitions are, what the main challenges are and how to achieve our targets. We have also been taken out of our comfort zones while participating in role-plays to solve cases, and to act as observers to the role-plays – a very meaningful way of awareness raising to the topic of strategic thinking.