WIN Spotlight: Gunilla Hellqvist on the Impact of Working with Diverse Backgrounds
In honor of Women’s History Month, we interviewed members of our WIN (Women In Nasdaq) network about their roles, diverse backgrounds, the impact of the employee resource group (ERG) and what it means to be an ally of the women community. We spoke with Gunilla Hellqvist, Head of European Market Operations, Economic and Statistical Research and Post Trade at Nasdaq, about the impact working with diverse backgrounds has on her and her work.
Please tell us about your role as Head of European Market Operations, Economic and Statistical Research, Post Trade and PMO at Nasdaq.
My role spans many areas. We take care of a wide range of responsibilities within the trading, clearing and post-trade area, and we are focusing on running the exchanges and CSDs efficiently and flawlessly. We are in daily contact with all our members, and we serve all asset classes. We run the market operations for all the legal trading and CSD entities within NASDAQ in Europe. We produce official statistics for the public, do market research and are the data warehouse owners. We coordinate the European Key project initiatives, and we plan and coordinate a number of system upgrades during the year. We are also in the process of implementing a new trading system for Equity Derivatives trading (going live Monday 28th of March), meaning a lot of planning, testing and member communication. Alongside this, we are gradually taking steps to use the cloud for our data.
What are some of the biggest trends you’re observing in your role for 2022?
There are a lot of regulations and regulatory guidelines being implemented, and we continue to see a focus from local regulators and ESMA on various areas. Another area is the use of the cloud for our different applications and services, and it will mean that we need to continue to stay focused on expanding the framework for monitoring and following up on our cloud providers. This year, we will continue to move data and applications to the cloud.
We are slowly coming out of the pandemic, and it is amazing to see how we have managed to run our markets with very few system disruptions when we all are working from home. I feel very proud of all my teams supporting a well-functioning market! One focus for me will be how we continue to navigate between being back at the office and allowing for more flexibility to work from home, and we discuss tools, processes and the physical work environment a lot.
Other trends I'm increasingly focused on are environmental, social and governance (ESG) and purpose. On the ESG front, we are doing a lot on the European side, and it is exciting to see the momentum around our investment in Puro and what we offer when it to comes to products on the ESG front. Related to purpose, Nasdaq has increased its focus on working and acting with the purpose in mind. The situation in Europe, with an ongoing war against Ukraine, has even further brought employees together to do whatever they can to help, and individuals and Nasdaq on a global level are showing their support. The increased purpose focus will continue.
What is unique about working at Nasdaq?
I have been working for Nasdaq for quite some time now, and three things stand out.
- The individual growth opportunities are really there! I, for example, have worked in many different positions, and I also had the opportunity to work for three years in NY. It was great to not only get more insight into another country but also get a chance to work at our headquarters. I am so appreciative of my career journey.
- The blend of technology and business knowledge is always there. I am very interested in both technology and business, and I feel that Nasdaq is unique in giving you the opportunity to stay on top, or at least be aware of, new trends and technologies.
- The people! I don’t know what it is, but my colleagues are as hooked as I am on new tech trends or business opportunities. It is inspiring to work on change projects with a lot of interactions and ideas, and people don’t feel afraid of raising their voices or coming up with new ideas. The people are also great at coming together and standing strong in whatever crisis situation we face, and Nasdaq is really good at handling challenging situations.
Talk to us about the impact of working with diverse backgrounds.
Personally, I am very engaged in Nasdaq's diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) work. Nasdaq, on a global level, has done so much in this area during the last years. I feel so proud of our internal DIB groups, our public statements on topics like racial injustice and our push to try to get more women into the tech industry, as well as our work on supporting more diverse boards. With that said, on the local level, I am still a bit concerned that we are just 28% women at our Stockholm office and wonder what we can do to support a more diverse background in general. I will continue engaging myself in topics like this, and I hope that we will count on taking steps in the DIB areas, globally and locally.
What is your advice for young women looking to pursue a career in tech and business?
- Don’t shy away from applying for a position that is in your future aspiration field. Think big!
- Sign up for a mentor. It can help you get the push and understanding of what is needed. And to add, do discuss your aspirations with your manager since it will pave the way for future work.
- You can do it! Look at me. We all need support, and I can say that I have had great support from my managers and others on my development journey.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
Celebrating Women's History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, we celebrate pioneers and trailblazers working in business and tech who are a part of Nasdaq and beyond.