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2014 - Lisa Parfelt

The 14th winner of Female Economist of the Year is announced - Lisa Parfelt.

Lisa's speech at the Gala Ceremony

Thank you, Your excellences, ladies and gentleman, BBB:s, friends and family. Being here tonight, receiving this precious award is a dream coming true. I am deeply honoured and most grateful.

The new millennium was only two days old when I found myself on a trip to Lanzarote, together with my dad and my younger sister. As always, my dad planned our vacation poorly. No research about our destination, no pre booking of accommodation, just a vague idea that everything would be just fine. Sitting on a local bus, late evening, surrounded by total darkness and not even knowing where we were heading, I saw the despair in my dad’s eyes when he admitted he was lost. So I told him: - Let ́s get off at the next stop! He looked at me and said: -But there is nothing more than darkness out here, we need a room for tonight, which we may find if we stay on this bus. I told him to trust me; I had this gut feeling and knew that we needed to catch this moment. A few minutes later we walked into the lobby of a 5 star hotel, just in the middle of nowhere. I was 12 years old, and we had a great vacation.

This illustrates that now and then we need to take a step into the unknown in order to succeed and not just passively wait for our journey to start. If you want to achieve something, you need to get rid of fear, take some risks, but foremost, you need to dare. This also concludes that if you want something bad enough you can get it, as long as your will is strong. Therefore, my motto is as follows: Posse est velle! This Latin expression means, ”If you have the will, you have the ability”.

Will is a powerful thing. The will to speak up where no voices are heard, the will to see and correct injustices, the will to fight for equality amongst genders, the will to dare. Shortly, the will is the main key to success in life, no matter if it ́s on a professional or a personal level.

I would like all young women in the business society to embrace the power of will. I sincerely hope they will be spared the following experience: In a course about ”Advanced Power and Negotiations” during my exchange semester at Fudan University, one of the topics were ”Gender Issues”. The professor asked all the male students how they would expect women to be in a working situation? They were asked to shout out the first word they thought of. The students, representing 9 different nationalities, responded with words like: Soft, comfortable, gentle, irrational, pretty etc. I was chocked. Only ONE guy had something else in mind. He said INDEPENDENT! I said, FINALLY!

This example tells us something about how far we have come with equality in the business society of today, or at least among the bright brains who will be the future leaders in that society. It feels like one step forward and two steps back. We are still looking at the horizon, but there is no ship of equality coming our way. It’s a privilege and an honour to be given this chance, to be able to encourage and support all young and bright women out there. I hope that in a near future, when women and business are discussed, the first words that come to mind will be: Posse est velle!

I have many people to thank here today. The BBB girls and previous winners, thank you for not only being supporting and encouraging, but also inspiring. To Veronica, Jonas and Agnetha, thank you for all your hard work during this process. To principal Lars Strannegård and the SSE staff, for providing me with excellent academic studies and 5 years of joy. To the rest of the selection committee, for believing in me. To Björn Löwenhielm, thank you and congrats for the title of Best Male Support. To Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon and the Spotify crew who just appointed me to "Difference Maker". This award is certainly making difference to me and will hopefully justify, fortify and multiply my quest of being a part of Spotify. To my dear family, for love and support. I couldn’t have done this without you.

And last but definitely not least, thank you Barbro. For creating this scholarship and for all the passion you put in to helping young career women. You are a true role model and a source of inspiration. Thank you for all the support you have given me and for always making me smile. I want to take the liberty to speak for all us of us here tonight, Barbro, thank you for being you.

Thank you all.

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