Candidacy : Sara “Beau” Hjalmarsson

Name: Sara “Beau” Hjalmarsson
Nominated for: Chair and Vice-Chair


Hi everyone!

Many of you have already met me in connection with previous conferences, projects and collaborations. Those of you who have nominated me have worked with me before and trust me to finish what I start, communicate consistently, drive projects to completion and share credit where credit is due.

This is how I try to work at all times, but I’m certainly not perfect. I don’t always meet deadlines. I certainly don’t have the political experience or credentials of those who have resigned. What I do have is experience and training in leading non-profit organisations and in connecting people.

The reputation and performance of a small organisation can often depend on its board and when the board is unbalanced, it can impact the quality of both projects and communication. I have been on a variety of boards and committees over the years and I find most of the issues recur - but they can also be solved by a balanced and dedicated team. I’d like to share some of my experiences to give you some examples of what is possible.

As a fresh graduate, I was the youngest board member ever elected to the Swedish chapter of ASIS International, an industry association for managers and directors in the security industry. I had to balance the generational gap between young professionals and experienced senior managers, organize events that added value for all of them and help them update both internal systems and external communication strategies. We succeeded together, but it was challenging and it took a few years. Sometimes people didn’t fulfill their commitments. Sometimes there were conflicts. Sometimes people struggled to communicate. But in the end, we still succeeded in achieving our goal.

Sometimes, I’ve had the luxury of being on boards of organizations for high performers, such as the student organization AIESEC, where I was a project manager. Sometimes, I didn’t have that luxury. I was involved in starting up an association for young ex-convicts once. That was all kinds of wonderful, crazy and disastrous. The association still exists and has been doing a lot of good.

I was once the chair of a tenant’s union in a troubled suburb to Stockholm. That organization was a mess, with internal conflicts, politics and lazy, middle-aged people who just wanted to hang out and drink coffee. Yet, we still managed to organize some events, create awareness, survey tenants and forward their views to the landlords.

You can never escape the challenges of leading an organization. There will always be someone who is lazy, someone who communicates better than others and someone who wants more recognition than others. What matters is whether we make the effort to understand each other and work together towards a common goal.

The sitting board sees the importance of strengthening our communities and networks if we wish to perform better and succeed in future elections. I can contribute my experience and knowledge to this regardless. I will also work to strengthen our movement by contributing to the board’s reliability and building better connections and relationships with our member parties.

If you believe I can make a difference, then I will do my utmost to make it happen.