Not the last tango in Malmö for Adriana!
Argentinian by birth, American by experience and Swedish by choice Adriana Killinger is a high-energy, intelligent woman who enjoys life. Talking to her you feel her passion for work and life, and her gusto. In moving here, from living in a large cosmopolitan city like Buenos Aires, she was up for a change. And change happened in a surprising and positive way for both Adriana and Skåne
Skåne and Sweden changed her life for the better. She recounts, “Coming here has changed me. Sweden has taught me to go out and smell the flowers.” Her poetic way of saying that Sweden has taught her that you can excel in your career and have an exciting and enriching private life. “It is the combination of the two that enhances your personal development.”
If Adriana is different from the person that arrived in Skåne in 2002, so is Skåne. In her time she has seen Malmö change for the better. From an old industrial city to knowledge and culture based city of the future. As for Adriana she is a life force that, even if it is in a small way, is busy helping to change Skåne for the better. She lives in Malmö, and really enjoys the contrast of the traditional old city sitting alongside the dynamic vibrancy of an emerging new modern and international city. As she says: “Everything I need is here, but if I want to travel to the rest of the world that is so easy too.”
The meeting of different working cultures
Understanding a new working culture may not be easy at first, but Adriana was persistent and goal directed, which secured her a Human Resources job allowing her to continue to develop her career in HR.
Being an HR professional this juxtaposition of two cultures meeting was even more acute. In terms of cultural differences she explains “It’s important to understand the codes and business etiquette. For example, in Sweden meetings start and finish on time, and people systematically take it in turns to speak. I tend to talk all the time, so at first I wondered why my Swedish colleagues were so polite and never interrupted. Swedish tolerance prevailed as my colleagues understood my Latin instincts.” Adriana says with a rueful smile.
Managing multiple projects Adriana quickly adapted her work methods to the business culture. As she highlights there are two key issues you need to understand. Firstly the work environment is not hierarchical at all, as in many other countries, and you need to learn how to deal with consensus as part of the decision making process, which can be hard for other cultures to understand, but is a strong success factor when it is applied effectively. Secondly in Sweden your private life and time is just as important as your working life. Adriana believes as a manager in Sweden you have to understand that private life and private time is just as important as the working life. “It means individuals are “allowed” and “encouraged” to develop all aspects of life, which goes beyond a simple culture preference to a social system designed to support it.”
InterNations – making Skåne more international
Not satisfied with conquering the language and holding down a demanding job she decided to set up InterNations in Malmö, which is part of a global social, and business network for ex pats and global minded “locals”. Adriana started InterNations with two others in 2011 with 60 members. Now it has grown to over 2,300 members with one-third being Swedes who have lived and worked abroad. Adriana is rightly proud of this achievement as she points out, “I believe this activity in a small way is helping Skåne and particularly Malmö to become even more dynamic and international.”
Time to enjoy the best of both worlds
Adriana believes you can fulfill yourself here in Skåne. You can have the exciting international business career and then relax back into nature and harmony, or enjoy a multitude of leisure time activities. For her Skåne really is the best of both worlds, and her commitment and enthusiasm for this shines through.
But time to let Adriana to have the last passionate word: “Living in Skåne has been an enriching experience, and has changed my attitude towards life. I have a richer and more balanced life now, and believe that Skåne and Sweden really can change your life for the better.”
You are left with the feeling that there will be no last tango in Malmö for Adriana. She is here to stay!
• A coffee with friends in Lilla Torg on a spring day
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