NextGen Advisory Board–learn, develop, make connections, and have fun
In August 2021, my manager forwarded me an email that contained this call to action from Ericsson's Head of People. Our Executive Team was calling for NextGen Advisory Board applicants, and my manager said I should put my name in the hat.
I read through the materials on the NextGen website and it seemed like an incredible opportunity to meet some of Ericsson's top leaders and challenge myself with projects that would impact the entire company. I decided to apply, and after four rounds of selection, I received an email from our CEO… I had made it!
Meeting the Team
At the beginning of 2022, I finally met the board's other members. They were six exceptionally talented colleagues representing many different units from across the company.
Throughout the year, we spent many mornings and evenings together and quickly got to know the people “behind the screens.” We also had the chance to celebrate some big life events, including Xinyuan's new baby, Daniel's new job in Stockholm, Zulk’s first TEDx talk, and Lorin's new apartment and kitten!
Let the projects begin!
Throughout the year, the Executive Team assigned us many projects related to strategic and cultural challenges. These projects challenged our team and allowed us to further develop our project management and leadership abilities as we coordinated with stakeholders across the business, including colleagues in People Analytics, Legal, Research & Development, Strategy and Finance.
Project 1: Speak Up
For our first project, we created an automated reminder system that encouraged employees to Speak Up and provide feedback to the leaders in their organization. This project allowed us to analyze data in real time and make Fact-based and Courageous decisions on how to best improve response rates.
After the two-month assignment, we had made measurable impact on Speak Up within participating organizations, allowing us to hand over the project for global scaling.
Project 2: Commercial Strategy
For another project, we analyzed Ericsson's commercial strategy for an emerging technology in the telecom industry. Here, we learned from many experts across the company about our technology road map, competitors, and the impact this technology would have on the telecom industry over the next decade.
For me, this project was incredibly exciting because in my day-to-day work, I don't often get to interact directly with the technologies that make Ericsson an industry leader.
The result of our work in this project will help influence the strategy Ericsson applies over the coming years. It was a great opportunity that we will all look back on with pride in the future.
Project 3: Career Progression
Finally, we worked on a project that helped identify barriers to career progression. This project is incredibly important to me as an early career professional, as I hope to have a long and successful career at Ericsson. It’s only through initiatives like this that we can realize our and our organization’s blind spots and begin making improvements that will allow us to remain a top employer in the future.
Throughout the year, we were also presented with various opportunities to develop our leadership philosophies, management skills, and expand our network within Ericsson.
My favorite development opportunity was the annual Leadership Summit in Kista. This event brought together 300+ of Ericsson's executive leaders, including the NextGen Advisory Board members.
Over the course of the three-day event, we learned about the evolution of our company strategy, how to lead in a digital world, and how Ericsson serves society through technology leadership.
Surprisingly, one of my big takeaways from the Summit was from the networking activities, and it was quite unexpected...I finally realized that our executive leaders are people too!
Before the summit, I had never had the opportunity to engage with Ericsson’s senior executives. So it was great to finally be introduced to them, learn about their personal lives, and hear some of the funny stories from their early days as professionals. I learned that it’s OK to fail and that your failures make for some of the best learnings (or at least your best stories).
Another great development opportunity was being matched with a personal mentor from Ericsson's Executive Team! Throughout the year, I had many opportunities to meet with my mentor to receive guidance on NAB assignments, daily challenges, and advice for my personal career development.
Take the challenge!
Overall, the NextGen Advisory Board allowed me to broaden my perspective and dive into topics that were previously outside my domain of expertise.
I’ve learned a lot about Ericsson's technology and strategy and further developed my personal leadership philosophy. After 12 months, I'm leaving this program with new experiences, skills, and a close-knit circle of emerging leaders/friends.
I highly recommend the NextGen Advisory Board to anyone who dreams of a career as an executive leader here at Ericsson. You’ll challenge yourself, make incredible connections across the globe, and do work that will leave a lasting impression on our company.
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