Own Your Story with Wenche Fredriksen


August 1, 2022



About This Episode

On this week’s episode of Culture by Design, Timothy R. Clark is joined by Wenche Fredriksen, Senior Vice President Head of Diversity & Inclusion at DNB, Norway’s largest bank with over 10,000 employees. Wenche wears her heart on her sleeve as she tells Tim her story and explains how she found success in failing, being average, and being human. She encourages listeners to bring their full selves to work and advocate for psychological safety in their workplaces.

It all started in a Norwegian fishing village (01:45). As the first in her family to finish high school, Wenche searched for role models in unexpected places. When asked, “isn’t it enough?” in her current education pursuits, Wenche responds: “No, it’s not enough.”

Don’t minimize differences, maximize them (07:00). Born in the north of Norway, Wenche speaks a dialect of Norwegian that wasn’t commonly heard in her profession. Everyone in the corporate world spoke the southern dialect, so what did Wenche do next?

Diagnosed as a burned-out perfectionist (09:05). Wenche is really vocal about the 3-year gap in her CV. What caused it? A serious case of burnout that left her questioning why she couldn’t be human at work. 

Sharing doesn’t lead to connection, sharing is connection (17:05). Why do we hide the laundry basket on our bed in Zoom meetings? Why do we pretend that life begins and ends at work? Being authentic at work means sharing things about your personal life. 

A unique motherhood experience (20:55). As the adoptive mother of two children from Colombia, Wenche has found insight into issues that she otherwise wouldn’t have come in contact with. She talks about coming face-to-face with racism and micro-aggressions directed at her children, and how diversity in her family has contributed to her commitment to the DEI world. 

Use an abundance mentality (28:20). Wenche gives her advice on how to embrace the stories of others. She highlights the need to avoid compliance, chase commitment, foster respect, and connect with change agents who have initiatives of their own. 

A plug for psychological safety (35:00). Learn why psychological safety matters to Wenche, and why she values cultures of rewarded vulnerability. 

About Our Guest:

Wenche Fredriksen is the SVP Head of Diversity and Inclusion and DNB (the largest bank in Norway with 10.000+ employees). Previously she worked at Accenture for 30 years, having roles in consulting, HR and as Nordic Diversity and Inclusion Lead for many years. Wenche is an inspirational storyteller who actively uses her life experiences to drive change and build a more diverse and inclusive world.

Her work has been profiled in the media numerous times (Huffington Post, Personal & Ledelse, Ledernytt, Podcasts ++). Her work has been recognized externally on several occasions.

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