We meet former Officer and Member of Parliament, Nina Larsson, to discuss how she uses her past experiences as 4C Consulting Manager.
Hi Nina, tell us a bit about your time in the army.
I joined the Swedish Army a few years after graduating from school and did my military service in the Signal Troops. At the time, men were conscripted but women had to volunteer. I completed my service within Group Management where I became Company Quartermaster. Once my service was up, I joined the Military Academy and graduated as an officer, where I rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and worked as an instructor at the Training Academy for Electronic Warfare, which included a tour with the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
How did your time in the military help you move forward in your career?
It helped me in many ways, not just my career. In the military, you are taught to consider and analyse the consequences of your actions, which is a very valuable life skill in general. It’s about being able to foresee the consequences of different actions, be it in a task, a project or an important decision.
You left the army, and went into politics, how did that come about?
After taking leave, I decided the time was right to go into politics. I’d been interested in it ever since as I was a teenager, attending meetings, debates and campaigns, as well as writing articles. It was a natural step for me to take. I also felt I had more to contribute to Swedish security and defence, and parliament was a good way to achieve this. In 2006 I became an elected MP for the Liberal party and served two parliamentary terms – eventually becoming Party Secretary. It’s a memorable time of my life in which I learned a lot about communication, political decision-making and crisis management on a national level. And, most importantly, I was able to make a difference on the security and defence issues I cared about.
What are you most proud about from your time as an elected official?
There are multiple things, but one thing I’m especially proud of is my role in the committee that introduced equality to military conscription. According to the Total Defence Conscription Law, women and men are now conscripted to the Swedish Armed Forces on equal grounds every year, which totals between five and eight thousand people annually.
You moved on to lead a not-for-profit organisation.
Yes, it was a nationwide institute providing education for adults, in the form of courses and events. The organisation was made up of 800 employees and around 20,000 volunteers throughout the country – which obviously came with its own leadership challenges. We taught people how to take better photos, helped seniors improve their computer skills, and taught history and politics, among many thousands of courses. You could say we improved society by positively contributing to people’s lives.
After three years you took up your current position at 4C. Tell us more.
I’d known about 4C Strategies since my early days in the army and always thought they were an interesting company that was making a difference. When I saw they were looking for a Consulting Manager for the military and public sector, it felt like the perfect match. And I was proven right, I get to combine my leadership skills with the experiences from my military and political background in diverse projects, with like-minded people.
What are you working with at the moment?
Within my department, we are currently helping the Swedish Armed Forces with a number of projects following the recent extension of our partnership by a further three years. This includes supporting the planning of Viking, a multinational and multidimensional Command Post Exercise, the world’s largest international staff exercise of its kind. To do this we use our training and management software, Exonaut. In the public sector we are, for example, helping the City of Stockholm and a lot of municipalities and organisations analyse their COVID-19 response. And, we have a running contract to support the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) with their resilience needs, among many other things.
What is most interesting about your job?
I would say it’s a mix of things. I get to work with talented people, both the consultants in my team and our clients. The projects we are involved in are both interesting and challenging – and you often get to develop and take part in things that impact society. Also, many of the projects are within the security and defence sector, which is a great interest of mine.
How would you describe the 4C approach?
At 4C we take an integrated approach to tasks and projects, combining the different skills and knowhow within the organisation and using our resilience software where appropriate to deliver the best results for our clients. I believe we are unique in having such a broad base of expertise and services to call on across the military, public and private sectors – we don’t operate in silos. It’s what has helped us grow locally and internationally, and will continue to do so, as we find new talent to help us expand our business.
What would somebody joining your team experience?
We are a close team, despite COVID restrictions. We take time to meet online to discuss work, learn from each other, and socialise. It’s the ideal place if you want to work in an open and caring environment, on exciting projects that have a positive impact on society. I also try to provide a platform that enables people to be the best at what they do, while growing their expertise. Growth and learning are important for everyone.
Finally, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend time with the family; we have two daughters and have recently welcomed a Labrador into our home. I enjoy nature and hunting, which we do at our cabin in the countryside. I’m also a surfer and like to travel, which we used to combine when possible, pre-pandemic.