Understanding LGBTQ+: Key Insights by an Ally

Discover the fundamental differences between sex and gender, the meanings behind the LGBTQ+ acronym, and a deeper dive into diverse gender identities.

I’m Alessia, an Italian living in Helsinki for the past three years and working at Schibsted as a Talent Acquisition Specialist. I identify as a cisgender straight woman (she/her) and passionately advocate for and support the LGBTQ+ community.

As a member of the Employee Resource Group (ERG) LGBTQ+ & Allies community at Schibsted, I’m committed to fostering inclusivity and understanding. When I received the invitation to join the core LGBTQ+ Employee Research team at Schibsted, I was thrilled. With a background in cultural psychology and anthropology, I felt prepared to contribute. However, as I attended the first meetings, I realized my knowledge was just the tip of the iceberg in understanding the complexities of LGBTQ+ issues.

Let me share with you some foundational notes I took during those initial weeks, which have been invaluable in my journey to becoming a better ally and understanding gender identity.

Sex vs. Gender: What’s the Difference?

Sex refers to the biological attributes of humans and animals, including physical features, chromosomes, and hormone levels typically classified as male, female, or intersex. These attributes are usually assigned at birth.

Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct and thus a broader and more complex concept. It encompasses the roles, behaviors, activities, expectations, and societal constructs surrounding what it means to be male, female, or other gender identities. Unlike biological sex, gender is influenced by cultural factors and can vary widely across different societies.

Understanding this distinction helped me appreciate why someone’s gender identity might not align with their assigned sex at birth, underscoring the importance of using respectful language and behavior toward everyone’s personal identity. With this foundation, I then explored what each letter in the LGBTQ+ acronym stands for and why it matters in our journey towards inclusivity.

What Does LGBTQ+ Stand For?

L – Lesbian: Women who are emotionally and romantically attracted to other women.
G – Gay: Individuals attracted to members of the same sex. While it can apply to any gender, it’s most commonly used to describe men.
B – Bisexual: People who can be attracted to more than one gender.
T – Transgender: Individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Q – Queer/Questioning: ‘Queer’ is a reclaimed term for flexibility beyond traditional labels. ‘Questioning’ refers to those exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
+ – Plus Sign: This stands for inclusiveness, covering identities not specifically included in the other letters, such as Intersex, Pansexual (attraction regardless of gender), Asexual (little or no sexual attraction), and many more.

A Deeper Dive into Identity

When I first began my journey into understanding the LGBTQ+ community, I realized I was only scratching the surface. From cultural anthropologists like Margaret Mead (an old acquaintance of my uni studies)to Gender Studies researchers like Gayle Rubin, the question of identity and gender has been largely deepened throughout the last century. To start with easy bits, here are some of the core insights that helped me start navigating it.

Non-binary and Genderqueer: Andrea explained that being non-binary means not fitting neatly into ‘male’ or ‘female’ categories, living outside these traditional boxes. Genderqueer is similar but goes further, challenging the very foundation of how we view gender.

Pansexual and Omnisexual: For those identifying as pansexual, attraction is about the person, not their gender. Omnisexuality is similar but acknowledges the gender of potential partners more explicitly.

Asexual Spectrum: Asexual or graysexual individuals rarely experience sexual attraction, which is not tied to a lack of emotion or connection.

Lastly, understanding intersectionality came from listening to stories from people navigating multiple aspects of their identity, such as cultural, racial, and sexual intersections. These layers bring unique joys and challenges that cannot be separated or ignored.

Building understanding

In conclusion, the best way to understand LGBTQ+ identities is through conversations with people within the community. Don’t be afraid to ask, explore, and actively listen. Books like “This Book Is Gay” by Juno Dawson, documentaries, podcasts, and resources from organizations like GLAAD and The Trevor Project have also been invaluable in learning how to be a better ally.

By reading all the way down here, you’ve taken a great step in learning about the complexities and richness of LGBTQ+ identities. Keep exploring, asking questions and listening with empathy to continue building a more inclusive world. 💜

Navigating change in tech

Meet Marion Løken, an Engineering and Product Manager at Schibsted who passionately works towards a more inclusive tech industry.

Marion’s career in tech began with promise and potential in France, armed with a knowledge base rooted in engineering and a PhD in Applied Mathematics. However, her path was not without obstacles. “Early in my career, I faced challenges as a woman in tech, including demeaning comments and stereotypes about women’s emotional stability and commitment,” Marion shares, reflecting on her early years.

The move to Norway marked a pivotal turn in her journey, not just geographically but in her professional mindset. “Moving to Norway expanded my professional horizons and introduced me to the Nordic philosophy of work-life balance, which I am a fan of,” she shares. Marion has now lived in Norway for 15 years and spent the last decade in various leadership roles.

Building an inclusive environment
In her role at Schibsted, Marion has focused on making the mobility marketplace more accessible and user-friendly, paying particular attention to ensuring that the experience is equitable for all users, especially women. “My goal is to lead my team in a way that empowers our users, helping them to make informed decisions,” she states, emphasising her passion for technology and its potential to effect positive change.

For Marion, inclusion and equity are fundamental principles she lives by. “To me, inclusion and equity mean adopting a mindful approach to decision-making, ensuring that my actions and decisions are fair and without prejudice,” she explains. It’s about creating a space where everyone, regardless of background or identity, feels they belong and can contribute.

Insights from experience
Reflecting on her journey, Marion highlights the lessons she learned along the way. “Leadership used to mean fitting into a specific mould, often characterised by a certain type of assertiveness seen in charismatic men. But the landscape is evolving.” Marion appreciates the changing dynamics that now value authenticity and empathy alongside vision in leadership. “Being genuine and showing empathy, traits once undervalued, are now recognised as central to effective leadership. I’ve learned that embracing my true self is not only liberating but also amplifies my ability to lead.”

Discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion, Marion shares: “Diverse teams are vital for innovation, offering a range of perspectives and solutions. However, diversity alone isn’t enough.” She emphasises that true success comes from inclusivity – making every team member feel valued and heard. “I’ve seen diversity initiatives fail when inclusivity isn’t part of the equation, leading to a quick turnover of the very diversity we sought to achieve. Real inclusion means actively removing biases and creating a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.”

A vision for the future
As International Women’s Day approaches, Marion’s experiences remind us of both the strides we’ve made towards equality and the distance we still have to cover. Her journey illustrates the ongoing fight for a more inclusive and equitable professional world.

Looking forward, Marion envisions a workplace and a world where diversity and inclusion are not just aspirations but realities. “The future I see is one where diversity is the standard,” she hopes. Her story, characterised by perseverance, thoughtful leadership and a commitment to inclusivity, serves as an inspiration, both within and outside the tech industry.

“I always strive to be my full self in everything I do”

Being a successful manager touches on many different aspects. Not only are you supposed to lead your team to success – you are also to inspire them and make your coworkers feel included. But how do you do that best? Head of Brands and Marketing at Blocket, Sofia Manninger, has found her way.

We all have different things pushing us forward. For Sofia, the main goal has always been to work value-driven. That is why she got her mind set on working at Blocket over eight years ago.

“I saw an opportunity to inspire people to be more aware and shop second hand. I started off as a project leader and after my wife and I had our first child, a position as Head of Brands showed up. That was the first role I have had with personnel responsibility, and it soon led me to where I am today,” she says.

“We are humans”
For Sofia Manninger, working value-driven goes beyond the Blocket business plan. Apart from making sure the company meets the strategic goals for the Nordics on a local level and keeping Blocket as a strong brand, she actively wants to create an open and inclusive environment for her team and for the company as a whole.

“I think many leaders feel like they are expected to be super heroes and almost robotically only focused on results, which is not true. We are all humans with our own life and luggage that will affect us at work too. I tell my coworkers about sleepless nights with my two kids, breakfast chaos and fuss with my wife. Those are things that I will bring with me to work mentally, and that is okay. Those things do not contradict being driven or successful. I just want my team to have a transparent and accepting environment where being my full self shows that they can be their full selves too,” Sofia says.

Became the role model she lacked
Being as open as she is with her life as an LGBTQ+ woman, comes from a history of lacking that presence throughout her own work life.

“In my past, I have always missed role models that lead the same lifestyle as I do. People need to see representation of themselves to feel more included. That is more important than people might think, especially amongst minority groups like mine. That openness becomes an extension of the company. And creates a more diverse culture that I also think is of big importance to the younger generation for when they start applying for jobs in the future. It is also important for people who do not have an external safety net. By being my full self at all times, I hope to encourage others to live openly as well,” Sofia says.

Helps increase motivation
Sofia’s ways have this far only been met with positivity. The projection of it being okay to be fully who you are also trickles down the chain and has positive effects on the practical work.

“I have been told that my open leadership style implements and simplifies the thought of “if my boss is one hundred percent herself, it is okay for me to be as well”. It creates a happier workplace which indirectly leads to better conditions for my team to execute their tasks and increase motivation. While they are well aware of their mandates and responsibilities, they also understand that I don’t expect them to pretend to be someone they’re not or to feel a certain way. Everything begins with leading the way you learn, and being the role model you yourself want to see,” she says.

Apart from being a manager at Blocket, Sofia is also part of the Schibsted LGBTQ+ community. A safe space for everyone to join and find the support they need to feel and be their full self at work – and in private.

Schibsted Connect – let the journey begin!

In early November we kicked off a new group of students and employees in our popular mentorship program Schibsted Connect.

We welcomed an enthusiastic group of 130 students and Schibsted employees from five different countries, all ready to embark on a learning journey.

What sets Schibsted Connect apart
Schibsted Connect is not a traditional mentorship program; it’s a platform for mutual growth and learning. Students and experienced employees within Schibsted have thoughtfully been paired, based on education and professional experience. Over a six-month journey they will step into a two-way street of knowledge exchange. Students gain invaluable industry insights and professional guidance, while our employees get fresh perspectives and new ideas brought by the younger generation.

Local meetups at our offices
What better way to start a mentorship journey than by inviting participants to our main offices? Here, they had the chance to meet their buddies in person, explore our dynamic offices, and connect with other Connect participants. 

A learning journey ahead
The program offers not just professional contacts but also local meetups and events aimed at sparking networking, discussions, and knowledge sharing. Schibsted Connect is a journey of sharing insights and achieving mutual growth. The combination of curiosity, collaboration, and the joy of sharing knowledge prepare participants for future opportunities.

The Connect participants will continue their journey until April 2024, we can’t wait to learn more about their unique stories.

Learn more about our student opportunities here! 

A female tech reporter’s perspective & Unmasking AI

Join our meetup as we share our insights in order to empower more women to excel in the tech world.

For this session, we have invited Women in Tech Sweden to shine their light on the importance of having more women joining, and staying, in the tech industry. We will learn how it is to navigate the tech industry as a female tech reporter at Svenska Dagbladet, and we will dig into the ever-so-hot topic of AI.

When? January 23, 5:00 – 7:30 PM
Where? At the Schibsted office, Kungsgatan 13, Stockholm

Please note that the number of places is limited and the event will be held in English.

 

? Sign up  ?

 

Agenda

 

Why do we need to include more women in the tech industry? with Elin Eriksson, Director of Women in Tech Sweden.

Elin will discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, emphasizing the critical need for equal representation, empowerment, and opportunities for everyone.

 

Navigating the tech industry as a female reporter: how to change the cons to pros, with Sophia Sinclair, Tech reporter in Svenska Dagbladet.

Sophia will uncover the critical issues surrounding the underrepresentation of female tech reporters and explore strategies to increase their presence in this dynamic field. She will also shine a light on female founders and leaders, emphasizing the urgent need for broader, more inclusive coverage of influential figures in tech. We’ll also delve into the realm of diverse readership and its profound importance. Discover how Svenska Dagbladet is leading the way in creating a more inclusive tech community, and why this endeavor is pivotal in shaping the future of tech journalism.

 

Navigating AI’s potential: The Schibsted journey and how you can embark on yours, with Åsa Andersson, IT Project Manager in Schibsted

Get ready for a journey through the evolution of Schibsted. Åsa will uncover the vision, the hurdles faced, and the achievements that have propelled Schibsted’s AI maturity to new heights. We will dive into the world of AI, unraveling the mysteries of this transformative technology. Why is AI a game-changer, and why should we approach Generative AI with caution? Åsa will also equip you with the knowledge and best practices you need to cultivate AI maturity in your own sphere.

After each session, we will have a Q&A session. Snacks, food and drinks are on us! ??

? Sign up  ?

 

Drink & Mingle

Tech Talks are not only about tech. We take care of social aspects of the event as well. During breaks, and after the presentations you can meet new people with different backgrounds, share your experience or… talk with our employees from the Schibsted family of brands.

About Schibsted Tech Talks

Tech Talks is a series of free meetups and workshops to share knowledge, exchange experience and meet like-minded people.

Please note that during the event, we might take general photos that will be published on our social networks and website Schibsted.com for promotional and marketing purposes. For portraits and more individualistic photos, we will ask your consent before taking the photo. The data controller of your shared personal information is Schibsted. You can find more information about processing this data on our Privacy Policy page: schibsted.com/privacy. If you want to object to the use of a photograph in a certain way or you would like to withdraw your consent, you may do so any time by contacting us via this email: ta@schibsted.com

 

Schibsted Tech Talk – Conflict to confidence

Join our meetup to discover how conflicts can spark innovation and gain valuable insights on self-leadership, conquering Imposter Syndrome, and navigating your career effectively!

When? November 16, 5:00 – 7:30 PM CET
Where? At the Schibsted office, Akersgata 55, Oslo

Please note that the number of places is limited and the event will be held in English.

? Sign up  ?

 

?‍? Talk #1 “Not having conflicts is not an option… let’s have good ones?” – by Marion Løken – Engineering and Product Manager Mobility Data & AI products.

“Have you ever been part of a team or workplace where there was no conflict at all? If you haven’t, it’s probably because you don’t live in a utopia! Conflict is an inevitable part of any team or organisation, and it’s actually a good thing. That’s because conflict can lead to innovation and progress by allowing people to challenge the status quo and think creatively. However, conflict can also be uncomfortable and even scary for some people. Do you tend to avoid conflict by burying your head in the sand or quitting when things get tough? Or do you handle conflict in a more dramatic way, like exploding or slamming doors? There is a better way to handle conflict – a way that is productive and leads to positive outcomes. In this session, you’ll learn what good conflict looks like, what factors contribute to tension in a conflict, and how you can improve your conflict resolution skills in the workplace and in your personal life. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn how to navigate conflict effectively!”

?‍??‍??‍? Talk #2 “Strategies for Women to Thrive in Tech” – by Anca Molodet – Product Collaboration Manager, Pooja Jha – Engineering Manager and Ingvild Nerås – Engineering Manager.

“Join this panel discussion as we share our insights, in order to empower more women to excel in the tech world. Our conversation delves into crucial themes including self-leadership, overcoming Imposter Syndrome, and effective career navigation in the dynamic world of tech.”

 

Meet the speakers

 

Marion Løken – Engineering and Product Manager Mobility Data & AI products

Her motivation in work is to inspire people and organisations to build engaged and sustainable communities through data and technology ?‍???? She excels in Data Science and leadership and has a unique commitment to sustainability, having refrained from buying clothes for the past 24 months and crafting new pieces from secondhand fabrics. In her free time, Marion enjoys outdoor activities, daily training sessions, and finds laughter to be essential for unwinding and enjoying life ???️‍♀️

Ingvild Nerås, Engineering Manager

Ingvild thrives on personal challenges and is an advocate for self-leadership! She is a people-person, fostering collaboration and ensuring everyone feels valued. Ingvild humorously claims to have an uncanny connection with birds in the sky, making her the “chosen one” for their special attention! In her free time, she’s a social butterfly, enjoying quality moments with family and friends, and during the warmer months, you’ll find her nurturing her garden ??

Pooja Jha – Engineering Manager

Pooja’s greatest motivation is the opportunity to create impact and value for society through her work. She’s a strategic genius in leadership and a system design expert on the technical front. Surprisingly, Pooja finds joy in the simplicity of a “boring” day, and in her free time, she indulges in the relaxing pleasures of yoga, books, delicious food, and catching up on some well-deserved sleep – not necessarily in that order! ????

Anca Molodet  – Product Collaboration Manager

Anca is fueled by the simple joys of connecting dots in discussions, simplifying complex topics, and providing clarity in processes. Her skills span versatile communication, fearless questioning, and keen bug detection. On a lighter note, Anca humorously admits she often struggles with spacial orientation even while using maps. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, and doodling. ?️?‍♀️?

The meetup will take place on the 16th of November in our office in Oslo – Akersgata 55. Please note that the number of places is limited and the event will be held in English. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

 

? Sign up  ?

 

Drink & Mingle

Tech Talks are not only about tech. We take care of social aspects of the event as well. During breaks, and after the presentations you can meet new people with different backgrounds, share your experience or… talk with our employees from the Schibsted family of brands.

About Schibsted Tech Talks

Tech Talks is a series of free meetups and workshops to share knowledge, exchange experience and meet like-minded people.

Please note that during the event, we might take general photos that will be published on our social networks and website Schibsted.com for promotional and marketing purposes. For portraits and more individualistic photos, we will ask your consent before taking the photo. The data controller of your shared personal information is Schibsted. You can find more information about processing this data on our Privacy Policy page: schibsted.com/privacy. If you want to object to the use of a photograph in a certain way or you would like to withdraw your consent, you may do so any time by contacting us via this email: ta@schibsted.com

 

Inspirationsdag för journaliststudenter

Välkommen på en inspirerande förmiddag med Schibsted, SvD, Aftonbladet och Omni!

Träffa journalister från branschen som bjuder på konkreta tips, inspiration och diskussion. Vår ambition är att du ska få med dig nya insikter som hjälper dig i din framtida karriär som journalist.

När? 9e november, 8:30 – 12:00
Var? Kungsbron 13

? Anmäl dig här ?

 

Talare och ämnen för dagen:

 

Hur kan sportjournalistik kan förklara världen?

Kristoffer Bergström, Reporter och krönikör på Aftonbladet.

Jag heter Kristoffer Bergström och skämdes från början för att kalla mig enbart sportjournalist. Jag försökte flika in att jag skriver lite för kulturen eller nyheterna också. Men det är dumheter att hålla på så, för allt jag har skrivit av värde har utgått ifrån idrott. Jag kommer att beskriva hur sportjournalistik kan förklara världen. Hur idrott kan vara en genväg eller en omväg för att hitta rent makalösa historier. Och varför Sportbladet därför är en arbetsplats som borde passa just dig.


Hur gör redaktionerna olika nyhetsvärderingar av samma händelse?

Martin Ahlquist från Svenska Dagbladet, Matilda Glaser från Omni & Martin Schori från Aftonbladet

Paneldebatt mellan ansvarig utgivare på våra tre redaktioner. Debatten kommer röra sig kring hur olika redaktioner gör olika nyhetsvärderingar av samma händelser – varför skiljer det sig åt och hur förhåller sig redaktionerna till varandra?


Så jobbar SvD med konstruktiv journalistik

Hanna Österberg, Sajtchef på SvD.se

Hur får vi nyhetströtta läsare, och nyhetsundvikare, att orka följa utvecklingen i Ukraina eller klimatkrisen? För att uppfylla vårt läsarlöfte behöver vi även ge läsarna det vi kallar konstruktiv journalistik. En komplett nyhetssajt innehåller alltid en paus. Lyckas vi med detta blir vi bättre på att nå ut med vår journalistik – och vi sticker ut jämfört med våra konkurrenter. Vi i spjutspetsgruppen på SvD har satt upp en checklista kring hur vi vill jobba med detta och vad vi har läst oss funkar.


Omni <3 AI

Calle Sandstedt, redaktionschef på Omni

“AI-utvecklingen förändrar hela världen som vi känner den. Och det är ingen överdrift att teknikomställningen den innebär är det största som har hänt mediebranschen sedan digitaliseringen.
Vad ställer det för krav på vår bransch och för oss som verkar i den? Här kommer en inblick i hur vi på Schibsted – och i vårt specifika fall Omni – tänker kring tekniken och hur vi tror att AI kan förändra hur vi i framtiden jobbar.”


Hur är Aftonbladet som arbetsplats och hur jobbar vi med sociala medier? 

Lina Dawood, Sociala medier-specialist på Aftonbladet

 


Natalie Demirian, Nöjesreporter på Aftonbladet och dagens moderator.

 

 

Det här är Schibsted:

Schibsted är en familj av digitala varumärken med en stark position i Norden och cirka 6000 anställda. Miljoner människor använder dagligen våra tjänster, genom marknadsplatser som Blocket, Finn och Oikotie; mediehus som Aftonbladet, Aftenposten, SvD och VG; och digitala tjänster som Lendo och Prisjakt. Vi hjälper också nya lovande företag att växa. Vår gemensamma mission ”empowering people in their daily lives” är förankrad i vårt mediearv och i en tradition av ständig förändring. Vår ambition är att upprätthålla ett transparent och öppet samhälle där vi kan lita på varandra.

 

 

 

How we became a winning team

Siri Holstad Johannessen has a reputation as a passionate leader in team development and performance management. Her team has been systematically working on this for the past year and a half, producing impressive results. We had a coffee chat with her to ask for her best insights.

Hi Siri, how long have you been working at Schibsted?
I have worked here since June 2013. My first position was as a Subscription Manager in Aftenposten. I then worked as a Sales and Marketing Manager in Schibsted. Since then, we have reorganised several times, and there have been several different roles over the years. Now I work as Head of Sales and Marketing for Common Schibsted Products, and I also sit on the board of Schibsted Distribusjon Øst.

Tell us about your background.
Early on, I knew I wanted to do something unconventional and go my own way. I, therefore, took an education in Relations Management. We were the first class in Norway to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in that field. I wanted to go further in that direction and build on it with a master’s degree, but it didn’t exist over twenty years ago since this was a completely new field of study. My passion is building teams and creating magic between people to produce results together. At the same time, I am a competitive person, which made me want to combine Relations Management with commercial responsibility. Therefore, part of my education is in marketing, and I love the combination of working commercial and relational.

What does your job entail?
I lead the Sales and Marketing Department that works with all the different brands in News Media towards both the private and corporate markets. A characteristic of our department is that we work very innovatively. Our task is to commercialise new products and ensure that we reach the revenue and subscription base targets we have set ourselves. Among other things, we have built up News Media’s portfolio for the corporate market, with a revenue of around NOK 130 million a year. Many people have probably noticed that Common Schibsted Products recently launched the “All Access” bundle subscription in the B2C market. “All Access” started as a product in our portfolio for the B2B market almost three years ago. Today, this product has more than 22 000 business customers.

How do you create a winning team?
It is about creating a performance culture – a culture where everyone wants to perform. I believe it is impossible to achieve by presenting only a few ambitious goals for an entire division or company. In my experience that’s not why people go to work, unless they’re just looking to get paid. I want to create a culture where my team goes to work because they love the team they are part of and that they have a clear picture of what they have to do every day for us to reach the goals we have set ourselves. I am fortunate to have several people on my team who are passionate about working with team development, so I have certainly not done this alone.

What changes have you and your team made, specifically?
When we started working systematically with this two years ago, we set a very specific qualitative goal: We will create an environment for innovation and world-class performance through psychological safety, self-management and a strong feedback culture. When the goal was set, we made a concrete plan and a scheme for achieving it. The work has consisted of working overall with psychological safety through, among other things, personality tests, feedback training, self-reflection, insight into each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and concrete training on being outside the comfort zone.

What is the concept of psychological security?
It is about investing time and energy in becoming aware of yourself and those you work with. Then you usually start by carrying out personality tests that clearly indicate how we are wired as humans. We can understand how we influence each other and the team by gaining insight into our differences and peculiarities. Then it becomes easier to see how we can complement each other’s weaknesses and build on each other’s strengths.

What are the biggest pitfalls for a manager?
That many people consciously or unconsciously hire a group that is exactly like themselves. It’s great to hang out with people who think and feel the same as you, but it doesn’t provide good opportunities to bring out your maximum potential in terms of achieving success. I can use an analogy from football: Having a team that consists exclusively of quick and tactical strikers who will score goals is no use, you need midfielders and defenders too. Homogeneous groups do not have a good starting point for being innovative and succeeding together.

Some managers may think they don’t have time for team development. What would you say to them?
I would say that being able to build a good team will have a direct impact on both the performance and motivation of your employees and the success of the department. It is a simple prioritisation and investment. It’s more than just our employee surveys that have improved since we started working systematically on this. We have doubled our digital revenue at the same time. Working relationships are like all other relationships in life; you have to invest time in relationships for them to flourish. I usually say to my colleagues that they do the work, not me. I am much more dependent on their performance than they are on mine, and it’s their efforts every day that creates results for our department.

From NASA to Schibsted

Saikiran Tharimena was present when NASA’s InSight landed on Mars. Now his mission is to take artificial intelligence to the next level in Schibsted.

“Ever since I was a child, I have ripped things apart and put them back together. I have an extreme urge to know how things work and why they behave the way they do.”  Saikiran Tharimena, best known as “Sai”, is a civil engineer from India with a specialization in “Remote sensing and Geographic Information System.” He also has a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Southampton in “Ocean & Earth Science”, specializing in numerical modeling and seismology.

A bigger mission

In April 2022, Sai came to Norway and started working as a data scientist in Schibsted’s Ecommerce & Distribution-division. Now he is central to the work in artificial intelligence in Schibsted’s distribution venture Helthjem, which has rapidly become one of the dominant logistics players in Norway. Helthjem sends 15 million parcels across the country  annually, and delivers newspapers such as VG, Aftenposten and Bergens Tidende every night.

Sai grew up in Hyderabad – the capital of southern India’s Telangana state and a major center for the technology industry – and his interest in technology started at an early age. “Machine learning was always there for me. A few years ago I did some courses about AI and realized that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. It basically comes down to terminology,” he says.

Tough competition

AI has recently been on everyone’s lips and in particular ChatGPT. This hypermodern chatbot built on AI gained millions of customers worldwide in just a few days. Now Google also has entered the field and there is a race to create the best chatbot in the market and to make the most of the infinite number of possibilities that exist within the AI segment – and the logistics industry is no exception.

“One of the most interesting things about AI is that it can help identify and solve problems that humans may not be able to see or solve on their own, which naturally offers both advantages and challenges,” Sai says.

With Helthjem competitors such as Posten and PostNord, as well as expected competition from big players such as Amazon – Sai is a key person for Helthjem to keep pace. According to him, there is every reason to be optimistic;

“While I’m super excited to see advancements in AI, there is always a growing concern about its ethical implications, its use and impact on society and privacy. Given all this, I‘m still optimistic that AI can be used as a responsible companion in our journey to develop services and products that can positively impact society,” he emphasizes.

Childhood dream

Alongside his studies in Southampton from 2011-2018, Sai taught several subjects and worked as a research fellow at the university, where he did a number of field expeditions focused on seismically imaging the Earth’s inner layer structure system to constrain the physical and chemical properties that define them. 

Sai has worked in seven different countries and took part in an expedition in the Atlantic Ocean.

But there’s one moment in particular that has stuck with him.

In 2018 he got a job in LA as postdoctoral researcher at NASA and got the opportunity to experience what most of us can only dream of.

Sai worked with developing techniques for investigating the interior structure of planets and icy moons. He also took part in the InSight mission where they placed the Lander on planet Mars – designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

“As a child, I saw many of these missions on TV. Being present and seeing this live was absolutely indescribable,” he says.

Different culture

In April 2022, Sai moved to Norway together with his wife, and started as Data Specialist in Schibsted, and now in Helthjem. According to him, it has exceeded all expectations.

“I felt lonely since moving from Southampton in 2018, but this changed when I moved to Norway,” he says, and describes a culture that differs from everything else he has experienced.

“Work-life balance is wonderful here! I’ve been able to do way more here than previous work. A good balance gives more motivation and actually improves efficiency,” Sai says.Not only does he feel better at work, he also points out that people in Norway welcomed him warmly:“I’ve received an incredibly warm and homely reception here – beyond all expectations.”

The feeling of being part of something bigger is a key motivation for Sai in his job.

TESTING: Papua New Guinea Seismic Deployment in 2014. Sai and locals looking at the seismic traces after a stamp test. Photo:  Nicholas Harmon and Ronald Verave.

“AI is an incredibly powerful, and extremely valuable technology. It’s about developing and leveraging the power of Machine Learning and AI to make our services better, open up for services we don’t have and do things smarter,” he says.

Excessively ambitious

Sai has accomplished more than many can dream of, but the work towards the next goal is never ending – and the ambitious civil engineer has a clear mission for the future. “I’m an excessively ambitious person, I have always been like that,” he explains.

Sai aspires to grow into a larger role in the future, leveraging his expertise to make a meaningful impact through Schibsted and make his knowledge available to benefit others.

“It’s crucial for me to have clear goals. Goals push and inspire me. Whether I achieve them or not is not ímportant, but it is the path to get there that counts and what we learn along the way is the most important.”

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Some of Sai’s projects in Helthjem:

  • Central in the construction of building a much more advanced forecasting model. Will, among many things, help for manpower planning at Helthjems main terminal in Vestby and other distribution centers around the country, which also will be used for staffing by customer service and try to predict how the “peak seasons” will take place.

  • Extending Delivery Time Predictor, which is currently being integrated into Helthjem. This means that Helthjem can predict with far greater significance when the packages arrive and from that give estimated delivery time to the customers. Will give the entire value chain better predictability and ensure greater efficiency towards the customers.
  • *Working on providing better consumer insights and greater customer journeys across Helthjems many channels – from “business to consumer” and “consumer to consumer” products

Follow a Schibsted Trainee in her first placement

Hi, my name is Thea and I’m a first-year trainee in the Schibsted Management Trainee Program. As I’m soon ending my first placement as a Project Lead in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, I want to share some of my highlights with you.

As it is getting closer to the end of my first placement in the Management Trainee Program there are a lot of exciting things happening. This week was extra exciting for me since the project I have been assigned to was first introduced to the rest of the company. In the picture you can see me and Johan, who is involved in both the project team and the steering committee, presenting to Svenska Dagbladet what we have been working on. The project will play an important role in Svenska Dagbladet’s upcoming three-year plan and will now, therefore, move forward into a more active phase.  

Presenting our project to Svenska Dagbladet.

Since we are getting closer to launching our project, the project team is having more and longer workshops to solve different issues. The team consists of members in different parts of the company which makes it extra fun to meet since I get so many new and different perspectives. Below you can see how our workshops can look like.

Workshop with members in different parts of Svenska Dagbladet.

Another exciting thing that happened this week was that we learned what placements are available for the next trainee rotation. Therefore, I met with my mentor Malin to get some guidance on what opportunities are best suited for me. According to me, the mentor program is one of the best perks in the management trainee program since I can always write to Malin when I need advice or just want to talk. 

My mentor, Malin.

And there you have a couple of highlights from a week as Project Lead in Svenska Dagbladet. If you are interested in knowing more about the Management Trainee Program at Schibsted – read more here or connect with me on LinkedIn