June 11, 2024

A CEO with over 20 Years of Experience in IT: The Story of Paulina Illman Lindefeldt 

Paulina, CEO at IT Consulting group

A CEO in the world of IT for over 20 years with an innate ability to lead. Paulina is CEO at One Agency and CEO of our group. With a degree in Business Administration and Finance, she landed a job as a Business Analyst at an IT company right after finishing her education. This led her to a developer role, where Paulina learned that she enjoys managing teams.  

Read her full story in our interview below.  

1. Can you describe what a regular workday looks like for you?

I’m a morning person, so I get up early and either take the morning train to work in the city, or work from home (which I do about 2 days per week). I sit down to sort out my emails and plan the day ahead.

My working days are mostly divided between meetings with my management team, in-house staff at One Agency and the team at Stella (yes, I also have a boss 😊). I try to squeeze in time to meet with consultants and always try to prioritise attending any social event.

I travel to the regions Malmö and Gothenborg on a regular basis, which is a part of my job that I really enjoy; it’s healthy to get out of Stockholm and get a different perspective on everything. Of course, I spend a lot of my time on administrative tasks. I would like to have more time than I have at the moment – both with our customers and for doing sales. Like most CEOs I dream about having more time to just think strategically, especially from a 12-18-month perspective.

2. How did you arrive at your current role? Has it changed over the years? 

I have an education in Business Administration and Finance, but I have never worked a single day in that line of work. I started out as a Business Analyst in the IT-sector right out of university in 1995, and that led me to a role as a developer for a few years. At some point the development team started to expand and somebody needed to manage it. That somebody happened to be me. I realised that I both enjoyed and was quite successful at managing teams. And that was the start of my journey as a leader, a path I have been faithful to. It is, to be honest, my only skill. Eventually, around 2004, it led to my first job as a CEO. 

3. Was it a role that you always aimed for or is it something that happened along the way? 

I have been a CEO for almost 20 years. It is not something I consciously planned for to happen, but I guess it has become my choice of career. It is a very fun job! I am grateful that I have been given the chance to experience it. I enjoy the holistic view, diverse tasks and pressure it comes with, believe it or not. Pressure is a privilege, as they say in tennis. 

4. What is the unique set of skills that you bring to the position? 

I think one of my biggest strengths is my ability to make decisions. Also, I like to think that I can separate important matters from less important matters and thereby use my time well, but also act swiftly when needed. I am not good at, or even interested in micromanagement – so I guess another strength I like to think that I possess is that I put a lot of trust in the people that report to me and give them a great amount of independence.  

5. What is your management style, in that sense?

I think leading by being a good example is important. By that, I mean having good common sense, a strong moral, and generally trying to be a good role model. Management style wise, I like keeping everyone informed, involved, and engaged in what our goals are, why we have chosen them, how we will get there and what everyone’s contribution in the plan is. 

6. Which traits and skills do you think make for a good employee?

Being responsible and taking full ownership of your tasks and your job is essential. I have a hard time with laziness or avoiding to step up to do the things that must be done. I also encourage and appreciate independence and being proactive. It is better to try and fail, than not try at all, right? Finally, to me communication and transparency are very important. Speak up, be specific, tell me what you think – I cannot read your mind. But always be kind. I think that a lot of issues within organisations would be solved if we all communicated better and earlier with each other. 

7. Would you like to share any of your previous work experience?

My industry experience over the years comes mostly from banking and finance, industry and telecom. Competence-wise I have a sweet spot for testing and quality assurance. More relevant knowledge regarding my CEO role is my previous experience from M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions). I have both sold and bought companies, and I have also been bought. I found this valuable in the process we are in now in New Group. 

8. Do you have a unique problem-solving process that really makes an impact for clients?

I am not sure that it is so unique, but I always like to remind myself and others around me, about the customer’s journey, i.e. who is the customer’s customer? How does our customer earn their revenue? Really try to understand their business. Why do we develop this thing? How will it benefit the customer? Will they earn more market shares? Increase their revenue? Showing real interest and curiosity in our customers’ everyday life has been very helpful to me in doing business. Plus, it makes it so much more fun. 

9. How do you stay updated on trends and news in your domain?

This is an area that I feel I could always do better in. In these times of information overflow it is impossible to not feel like you are never fully up-to-date. I read quite a few daily papers, I listen to the news, and I subscribe to several newsletters. This is what works for me.

10. What about Polar Cape’s reputation, market position and services do you think is most exciting?

I especially like the seniority, the seriousness and the tangible strong professional aura that surrounds everyone at Polar Cape. This is what customers see as well. I think Polar Cape is well positioned on the market – with its access to well-trained and highly educated employees. 

11. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love spending my spare time with my sons (Simon, 22 and Daniel,15). We usually hang out in the garden, go for walks in the woods, and of course, go for “Swedish fika”. I also spend a huge amount of time playing tennis, which is one of the things that I enjoy most. I read a lot, do yoga, and enjoy cooking and entertaining our friends together with my husband.