Cultural Diversity: Meet our Design Manager Charlotte
My name is Charlotte, and I’m a classic 3rd Culture kid!
When I’m asked where I’m from, I have a short answer and a long answer, depending on context and who is asking. I’m ½ Swedish ½ Icelandic, but had an unusual childhood. I have a big family in Iceland, but don’t really speak the language since my parents spoke Swedish at home, and we never lived there. Because of my father’s job as an electrical engineer, my family moved across the world depending on where his next project was. Most of my education was in international schools, where each grade could have up to 15 different nationalities. By the time I graduated high school I had lived in 8 countries.
Your nationality doesn’t necessarily have to play into it
Cultural diversity to me is a group of people with different backgrounds (values, customs, language) and lived experiences. Besides typical diversity aspects like gender, age, ethnicity etc, I really believe that it is our whole background that shapes and differentiate us. Where you were brought up, places you have travelled to, people you know, interests you have. At work you often get to know colleagues on a professional level like their role and competencies. But there is so much more to learn about each other. I’ve been so surprised and impressed by people in this organization that have done so many exciting things in their lives and sit on so much knowledge, perspectives and experiences.
Different work styles
I’m coming from work life in the USA, where people gave you a side-eye if you left the office before 5:30 pm. Here in Sweden 5:30 pm is working overtime. People in Sweden also have no problem booking a 5-week vacation, that surprised me! The Swedish business culture is less hierarchical which I appreciate a lot. I feel that our CEO and Senior Leadership Team is very approachable and available.
Maybe that German phrase is a double-entendre?
One big skill I’m picking up on at Readly is language. As a designer I work with copy in five languages, and I’ve brushed up a lot on my German since starting at Readly. People from different backgrounds might pick up on something you might miss. Maybe that German phrase is a double-entendre, or that Italian copy is suggestive of something else? You could describe it as a cultural filter, which I believe is very important in shaping our messaging and product.
In Sweden I’m not quite Swedish
I lived in New York for 12 years before moving to Stockholm and joining Readly, and there I was Swedish, but if I had time I’d tell them about my Icelandic side too. In Sweden I’m not quite Swedish, I find people have a hard time placing me. My Swedish accent isn’t very clear, I add in English words, and I have an American accent when I speak english. But one thing I know for sure is that the diverse mix of people at Readly make us open-minded and not afraid to try new things. It is something I value a lot.