Riga Board Room Lunch 2024

Hosted by Pedersen & Partners, in partnership with the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, this event offers a unique opportunity to gain inspiration and broaden your horizons.

Riga

 

Our distinguished executive Board Room Lunch speaker will address the topic of "The return of Geopolitics in Europe: Reshaping Baltic and European Markets in the shadow of the war in Ukraine"

  • How Baltic and European business are navigating the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine?
  • Has the new geopolitical situation affected attractiveness of the Baltic status for foreign direct investment?
  • How are companies circumventing trade relations with Russia and complying with sanctions?
  • How corruption in Ukraine causes additional risks and uncertainties?

Presenter

Dominik Gerber is Associate Professor at SSE Riga and a Research Associate at the Baltic International Centre of Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS). Previously he held doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Geneva, as well as a research fellowship at the University of Rochester, NY. His research and teaching intersect public policy, economics, international relations, and political theory, with a special focus on corruption, welfare, and democracy. Besides his undergraduate- and EMBA-level courses at SSE Riga, Dominik is regularly taking on teaching responsibilities abroad, recently at the University of Geneva.

Join us for an intellectually stimulating two-hour session where you can temporarily step away from your daily operations and engage with charismatic speaker, gaining in-depth insights and meaningful connections with global business leaders.

Participation: This event is by invitation only.

Investment: There is no participation fee, but attendees are responsible for covering lunch costs, which amount to 50 EUR. Upon registration, you agree to settle these expenses at the conclusion of the event. A comprehensive menu, including options for dietary requirements, will be provided to registered participants prior to the event.

Event host: Evita Lune - Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners.

We value your time and expertise and hope to have the honour of hosting you at the event. Let's share knowledge, foster connections, and further our collective professional journeys.

Evita Lune will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy workshop: Empowering Excellence, on January 25-26, organized by the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and Fintech Latvia Association.

Evita Lune speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy

 

The inaugural edition of the "Fintech Board Members Academy: Empowering Excellence" will be held on January 25-26. This meticulously crafted, two-day, in-person event is tailored for industry leaders, bringing together over 10 local and international speakers to provide comprehensive insights into critical topics shaping the future of the fintech industry in Latvia.

The Academy is organised by the Fintech Latvia Association in cooperation with the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and will help you understand the expectations of the Regulator and get insights from industry professionals as well as established market participants on how to fulfill those expectations in a compliant manner, including topics like establishing a compliance and internal control system, creating an effective governance structure, risk management, etc.

For more information about the Academy and to register: fintechacademy.lv. Admissions open until 22 January.

Eva Alberte has received accreditation from the BICG

We're pleased to announce that Eva Alberte, our Country Manager for Latvia, has received accreditation from the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance (BICG).

Eva Alberte certification from BICG

 

"The accreditation received from the BICG strengthens our competence to support clients in selecting both Supervisory and Executive Board members in the Baltic region and abroad."

The Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance is a non-profit, non-governmental association that engages businesses and political leaders in encouraging best corporate governance practices in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Good corporate governance promotes competent oversight, transparency and accountability in private, listed and state-owned companies, which builds transparent and accountable business environment and helps attract investments, strengthen economies, and benefits societies.

The BICG delivers value to its stakeholders by providing education programs, policy advocacy, governance assessment, and other initiatives. The BICG is also a member of the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa), which unites institutes of directors in over 20 countries, acting as a corporate governance expertise sharing network and a credible voice in the development of corporate governance related policies and recommendations across Europe.

Evita Lune and other Jury members awarded new winners of the University of Latvia (UL) Business Incubator program

Evita Lune at the University of Latvia

 

This week Evita Lune, a Partner, and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners had the honour to evaluate the ten most focused teams who completed the eight-week phase of the pre-incubation program at the University of Latvia. The jury awarded 3 teams a cash grant to further develop their ideas: ReCyclone, Purefy and Kyukvi. 

“I would like to thank the Business Incubator of Latvijas Universitate for inviting me to be a patron and a mentor for this program. I am looking forward to seeing the progress of the teams in the next 12-week stage, which will start in January 2024. I am also excited to meet the new batch of aspiring entrepreneurs joining the incubator soon. 

I believe that supporting the start-up ecosystem is crucial for Latvia's economic and social development and the region. I encourage other individuals and companies to donate and act as mentors for the Business Incubator at Latvijas Universitates and help the next generation of innovators succeed."

FinTech Industry Pulse – Instant Payments, Open Finance, BNPL

Evita Lune

Evita Lune, our Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group, attended the FinTech Forum in Amsterdam and gained valuable insights into Europe’s payments ecosystem. Key topics included the upcoming regulation for instant payments, the open finance framework, and the SEPA Payment Account Access scheme. The event also covered the state of FinTech funding in Europe, the impact of the ECB interest rate hike on banking and neobanking business models, and the consolidation in the BNPL sector.

Amsterdam is always a good idea! Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the FinTech Forum in Amsterdam. It was a great opportunity to network with FinTech professionals and experts who are passionate about expanding their business out of the heart of Europe. Here are some of the key takeaways:

🌍 Instant Payments Regulation: The EU Commission is working on a regulation that will ensure that instant payments are available across the EU by 2024. This will create a level playing field for payment service providers and enhance consumer protection and convenience.

🚀 Open Finance Framework: The EU Commission is also working on a framework that will go beyond open banking for payments and enable data sharing for other financial services, such as WealthTech, InsurTech, credit scoring, etc. This will create new opportunities for innovation and competition in the financial sector and empower consumers to access better and cheaper services.

💡 SEPA Payment Account Access Scheme: The European Payments Council is implementing the first rulebook for the SEPA Payment Account Access scheme, which will enable payment service providers to access payment accounts held by other providers. This will facilitate crossborder payments, increase interoperability and efficiency in the payments market.

💼 Dutch Payment Association: I was impressed by the role of the Dutch Payment Association, which represents the interests of payment service providers in the Netherlands and works for an optimally effective, safe, reliable, accessible and socially efficient payment system. The association also plays an active role in shaping the European payments landscape and promoting innovation and collaboration.

💰 FinTech Funding: One of the topics discussed at the event was the state of FinTech funding in Europe. It has reached an all-time low since the pre-Covid period. Luckily for me, I have been working mainly with profitable FinTechs who have been able to grow organically and sustainably.

🌐 ECB Interest Rate Hike: Another topic that sparked a lot of debate was the impact of the ECB interest rate hike on banking and neobanking business models. Some argued that higher interest rates will benefit traditional banks that rely on net interest income, while others claimed that neobanks will be able to adapt and offer more value-added services to their customers.

📈 BNPL Consolidation: The event also covered the consolidation trend in the BNPL (buy now pay later) segment, with Klarna being one of the leading players. A study showed that Sweden, Romania, Poland, and Italy are leading the way in terms of number of customers who have been using BNPL services. However, some challenges remain, such as regulatory uncertainty and consumer debt issues.

Partner Evita Lune interviewed at the Nordic FinTech Summit

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of our FinTech Practice Group, shared her insights with the Nordic Fintech Magazine during the Nordic FinTech Summit in Helsinki. Watch the video to learn more about the challenges of attracting and retaining top FinTech talent, discover what brought Pedersen & Partners to this prestigious event and find out how Evita describes the Nordic Fintech ecosystem in just three words.

Opportunities for women in different cultures: why do we give away top positions to men?

The LIDERE (LEADER) Forum is a Latvian forum dedicated to inspiring women to reach greater heights of achievement. LIDERE has successfully organised five major annual events since 2018, providing a platform for renowned public servants, businesswomen, academia, cultural ambassadors, sports stars, among many others, to speak up, share, encourage, and propel women’s issues to large regional and global audiences.

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, addressed the 2020 LIDERE forum, where she shared the floor with Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the first female president of Latvia, Ilze Viņķele, Latvian Minister of Health, Laura Keršule, Vice-President of LMT, Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere, founder of Madara Cosmetics, and Gunta Jēkabsone, Chairperson of the Board at Augstsprieguma tīkls AS. The event was attended by 1,000 live participants and 10,000 streaming.

In a recent publication of selected highlights from LIDERE forum speeches, Evita’s contribution draws on her observations from her extensive background in Executive Search, specifically in FinTech, and the blatant absence of women candidates for top level positions. She reflects on the lack of opportunities for women around the world who are bound by legal restraints, stereotypes, traditions, and unfair treatment in the workplace. On the other hand, women in other developing or developed countries hold themselves back from seizing opportunities and rising above their comfort zone.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the first female president of Latvia; Laura Ikauniece, Latvian athlete; Elina Garanca, Latvian mezzo-soprano; Mara Zalite, Latvian writer and cultural worker, and the Līdere forum speakers are just a few of the successful Latvian women Evita mentions as inspiring role models.

Evita’s speech concludes with an invitation and a challenge to women to put aside their fears, timidity, indecision, reluctance to take responsibility – and instead, live a fulfilling life in which they set and achieve ambitious goals.

The upcoming sixth edition of the forum, the growing interest towards the issues addressed, and the loyal audiences who attend year after year are a continuous testament to the important work done by Solvita Kabakova, the founder of LIDERE, and her team in advancing these issues both regionally and globally.

Eva Alberte serves on the jury of the Latvian University Business Incubator and awards grants to student entrepreneurs

The Latvian University Business Incubator and Business Ideas Fund is supported by Latvian and foreign companies and individuals, including Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the Pedersen & Partners FinTech Practice Group, and an alumna of the University of Latvia. Evita takes a keen interest in her alma mater’s young entrepreneurs, as a patron and mentor to students in their early business journeys. She initially decided to become a donor after participating in their Blockchain Accelerator program herself at a time when the companies in the blockchain environment were at the peak of ICO (Initial coin offering), issuing coins, tokens, and currencies.

LUB

The latest jury demo took place in late December 2022. The participants presented their ideas to the members of the jury, one of whom was Eva Alberte, Country Manager for Latvia at Pedersen & Partners. The winning teams were:

  • Skujiņi with a beekeeping starter kit 🐝
  • Femi with women's hygiene product dispensers 🙋 ♀️
  • Discipline Egg with a productivity device aimed at reducing mobile device usage 🥚

LUB

Each team was awarded a grant of EUR 500, which can be used for prototype development or consulting. In the second phase of the program, which began in January 2023 and lasts for 12 weeks, eight teams will continue to work on developing their business ideas.

2022 Novatore Impact Summit 2022 report: Pedersen & Partners’ Inga Ezera and Eva Alberte conducted leadership impact masterclass

The 2022 Novatore Impact Summit is an international women’s leadership event launched in the Baltics, which has grown far beyond its regional beginnings. The main purpose of the event is to drive economic development by raising and discussing topics that women consider important. With our 54 offices across the globe and more than 20 years of partnership with organisations and businesses across industries, Pedersen & Partners advises clients at the highest levels of leadership and helps transform teams into high-performing organisations. We partnered with the 2022 Novatore Impact Summit to support women leaders in their professional development efforts.

Novatore

The 2022 edition of the event had 400 participants from the Baltics and beyond and was globally streamed. The program featured world-class speakers from 18 countries, round table discussions with in-depth case study analysis, and professional development masterclasses enabling women to learn, develop, and grow together with their teams, and empower each other to make an impact.

Novatore

The Pedersen & Partners masterclass, “What got you here, wouldn’t get you higher”, focused on seven keys to enhance leadership impact and achieve career goals.

Novatore

Throughout their professional careers, Inga Ezera, Principal, C-level Executive Search Focus, and Eva Alberte, Country Manager and Financial Services Baltics Head at Pedersen & Partners, have assessed thousands of C-level and C-level aspiring executives. Both Inga and Eva have also mentored senior and emerging leadership talent to develop their careers impactfully. In the workshop, they shared the learnings from their experience of local Baltic and international companies and executive roles. Participants learned practical tips and valuable tools to develop their leadership career successfully, and discovered insights from successful female leaders on what it takes to succeed in leadership and board-level roles. The masterclass attendees actively participated in shifting mindset exercises and building practical next-steps plans. They also received advice on fast-tracking their leadership impact and career development, and benefited from sharing experiences with like-minded professionals.

Train your “ambition muscle” as you train your body and mind: Evita Lune discusses women’s ambition and leadership

“We have many talented women, but they lack the ambition to take up top executive positions, especially on a global scale,” says Evita Lune, Global Partner at Pedersen & Partners, and one of the supporters of Novatore Impact Summit in an interview conducted by Līva Melbārzde, former Editor-in-Chief of Dienas Bizness. This international forum will take place in Riga this year from 22 to 23 September, with the main aim of encouraging and motivating women to aim for the highest goals in their careers by realising their full potential.

What are the main career milestones that propelled you into management?

I am a Partner at Pedersen & Partners, which means that I am a co-owner of a group which does business in 50 countries. Day-to-day, I work in the field of global financial technology, handling a portfolio of FinTech clients, and I also lead the Baltic Team at Pedersen & Partners. Our firm has very strong teams here in the Baltics, and I can confidently say that we are the best executive search firm operating in the region. I reached this position by working hard and focusing on top quality. It is a fact that any work can be done in more than one way – perhaps just “good enough”, or perhaps brilliantly. In my projects, I have always strategized to do something better, and it is this constant keenness to do quality work has allowed me to achieve my current level. Of course, my education has also played a role, and not only academically – I obtained a PhD in socioeconomics from the University of Latvia, and I had a wonderful first job at Shell, an international company. It was a great experience, as I learned how to work at a high level and to build a global business. In addition, I also worked at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, as a Director of the Executive MBA Program. There, too, I was lucky to work in an academically excellent environment. This experience encouraged me to set my own example of excellence in the organisation where I work.

But you had a personal ambition to become a manager, didn’t you? I mean, sometimes people are excellent specialists in their field, yet they never become managers.

I am determined, and I don’t suffer from any self-doubt or shyness. It’s the opposite – I’ve always considered that I know everything better than anyone else and can do everything in the best way possible.

It’s still a rather widespread behaviour among women that even when they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to become a manager, they start questioning themselves endlessly – will I really make it? What would your advice be to these women?

I absolutely agree. In my work, I have noticed that women look to find fault with themselves more often, and tend to be too self-critical. My advice would be that we should train our “ambition muscles” just as we train our bodies and minds. The best way to do this is to simply start applying for different jobs, above and beyond your comfort zone. For example, it often seems easier to only call people whom we know, opting for a kind of “back-office” position, just to avoid confronting anyone new and avoiding risk. It is all nice, easy, and familiar. However, this is not a position that leads to career success. The good news is that the problem can be solved – after all, I too used to have problems starting conversations with people I didn’t know. I got rid of this complex when I worked in my clothing store – there, I had to not only say hello to strangers, but also ask how I could serve them, and help choose what fitted them best. I got wonderful energy from these conversations, and my shyness in talking to strangers disappeared completely. However, if we continue to do nothing and refuse to step out of our comfort zone, we never realise our potential, and we lose so much in our lives by doing this.

Women also sometimes believe that they must choose between family and career. Are these two things really so incompatible?

In our family, we have raised four children. Personally, I’ve never taken long breaks or holidays, even when the children were very little – I don’t want to say that there were no difficulties, but everything could be done with planning. Among my female friends, there are some who have raised as many as seven children, and they have achieved even more in their careers. I think that the family gives an additional impetus to achieve more, to be a role model for one’s children, be an equal partner to one’s husband and overall live as a balanced person, not a bundle of unhappiness. I have seen lonely men who seem to have all the time and resources in the world to gain the highest achievements – but after some time, they become unmotivated and destructive, suffer a preventable burnout or give in to bad habits. I don’t have time for anything like this, as I have different responsibilities. Therefore, to me, family and career are complementary. I can also say that personally, if I had to do only housework and could not socialise or express myself intellectually, I’d be very unhappy. Hence, the myth about choosing between career and family is obsolete. Today, we don’t even speak about work-life balance anymore; we talk about an integrated life which includes all aspects of happiness. This is the aim that we should strive for.

What advice would you give to a woman who has no shortage of career ambitions, who has not yet reached the very highest level of management, but who is forced to face discrimination on her way there? This could range from silly remarks to deliberately ignoring her opinion – perhaps showing that women cannot play in the same career league as men after all.

I should say first that here in Latvia, this problem is less pronounced than, for example, in Central Asia or Latin America. However, if you find yourself in such a situation, firstly I’d suggest developing your skills above that of all your male colleagues! Secondly, be sure to express your opinion in any situation where it is possible – be loud and visible, yet try not to fight with the same weapons as men. You should work with all your personality, and appreciate what nature has given you as a woman. It is important to be competent, visible and strong with the management skills that women have acquired, but there’s no need to fight men on their own territory. On the contrary, a woman should find a way to be respected as a manager and an opinion leader by staying true to who she is, realising and using her strengths.

This summer, the European Parliament adopted a directive which states that at least 33% of a company’s board and 40% of a council should be made up of women. What does this directive mean for women and the labour market in the Baltics?

Our global clients are listed companies with over 250 employees in countries such as the UK, Ireland, and Germany. These companies have been working according to these principles for some time already, without awaiting the adoption of the directive. We work with them to ensure that women are represented accordingly – not only in the final result, but earlier on in the search process. For example, if we have 10 final candidates, at least four should be women – otherwise, these companies don’t even accept the shortlist. However, this has not always been the case.

First, this directive is a real opportunity for female applicants to be considered as potential candidates for a position. Second, this is also an opportunity to improve company performance, as studies show that when companies have women on their boards, their performance, effectiveness, and sustainability improves. Thanks to the presence of women, the management team is less aggressive, less destructive, less intra-competitive. There are cases where men are ready to sacrifice the business for their ego and their victory. The presence of women has a balancing and calming effect. We have also seen this in our own firm – the Pedersen & Partners governance consists of 15 partners, three of whom are women.

I have read a study which found that, by anonymising the candidates’ questionnaires, the share of women in leading positions increased by as much as 70%. Can you comment on this?

Our executive search services are mainly used by companies which have high governance standards. Conversely, our situation is the opposite; these companies ask us to provide female candidates, but we sometimes have difficulty in finding and attracting them.

What are the reasons for this?

We focus on top leadership positions, i.e. CEOs, CFOs, TCOs. Female finance, marketing and HR directors can be found more easily, but women are few and far between at the very top. We have many talented women, but they lack ambition to take up a top executive position, especially on a global scale.

What should a woman do if she sees in herself the skills and potential to take up a top management position? How does she go about it with confidence?

First, she should signal her willingness to take up an executive position, by making it clear when the time is appropriate. Second, she should consider her current job from the following point of view: perhaps it will not be possible for her to take up a CEO position, maybe the company is too large, and then it would be useful to look around for smaller companies where it would be possible to gain CEO experience. Third, she should consider her own skills and understand what is still missing. At the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, our Executive MBA program consisted of 12 courses which formed the basis of what each CEO should know. However, one should not fall to the opposite extreme! Many women are very diligent students and have “true achiever syndrome” where they are ready to pursue one degree after another without finding any practical career applications for them. It is very comfortable to study just for the sake of studying, but it is also necessary to gain experience in practice – this real-world knowledge brings added value. Among the skills that CEOs should acquire nowadays, I would strongly recommend digital and technology; without these, you will be excluded not only from management positions, but also from higher-paid jobs in the labour market in general. And one should certainly follow the latest IT trends and learn how to use modern technologies – if necessary, from your own children!

They say that we have many smart, educated, and ambitious women here in the Baltics. Therefore, it is a bit surprising that there is still a shortage of top managers to attract.

In general, the situation here in the Baltics is very good. As women, all possibilities are available to us. In modern companies, there is no gender discrimination, and applicants are judged on their knowledge, skills, and ambition. In Latvia, we have at least one unicorn company, and there are others with the same potential. I suggest pursuing a career in a company which is modern, open and meets sustainability standards. It is useless to try to succeed in a company that is rotten at the core. If the company is led by an old men’s club with rigid backward thinking, don’t struggle there; go to a company which works based on modern standards and values. There is always the possibility of setting up your own company, where you will be able to create and lead just the way you want. Of course, one should bear in mind that a small, undetermined company will most likely not become a unicorn, as it lacks ambition. It is important to look at the specifics of one’s company regionally, if not globally.

Why is it important for you to support the international NOVATORE Impact Summit for economic empowerment of women, which will take place on 22-23 September this year?

I want to inspire other women to become the best version of themselves and achieve more in their lives and careers. For us, proper governance principles are very important, and the participation and inspiration of women is a great example of proper governance. I am glad that Latvia and our entire region in general is moving in the right direction. I see this event as a contribution towards our becoming an advanced and democratic society. Personally, I have never encountered the attitude that I am lacking something professionally, either because I’m a woman or because I’m from Latvia. We sometimes undervalue our freedoms – if anyone doubts this, go to Afghanistan and try to live there. It is silly to miss out on the opportunities that we have! I believe that we also have an obligation towards our country, which has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves and raise our children – even more so, because Latvia is a small country. We are not a large, wealthy nation where women can afford to live at men’s expense. Let’s build our riches together, and not just be lazy and consume! If we want our country to be prosperous, then we have to work – not with shyness and modesty, but with pride in ourselves and our achievements.

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