Sometimes life has a funny way of working out. A small decision can lead us down a path we never thought or imagined we’d go down. Seven years ago, in 2015, Emilia Wikstedt decided to join a tiny start-up called Oneflow as a Sales Development Representative, which then had five employees. Now, she’s watched it blossom from the seedling of an idea into a booming SME. And she’s grown along the way, learning more about herself, what makes a great work environment and how to help others succeed.
Emilia is the Head of Partnerships at Oneflow. When you think about the path that led her here, it is an exciting tale in and of itself. As her background is in music. She graduated with her BA from Copenhagen University and then moved to Stockholm to study speech and language pathology. She joined Oneflow as an SDR in 2015, which is where it all began.
A little push
Despite having all of the friendly qualities of a salesperson, she admits she had no intention of being one. Yet the efforts of Anders Hamnes, Oneflow’s CEO, helped give her the push she needed to get the ball rolling.
“When I joined I think Anders saw those qualities in me and realized that I would probably become a good salesperson if I wanted to do so. As an SDR, I was only cold calling and booking meetings, but Anders was nagging me for six months to try sales. After a while, I gave in and said fine; I’ll try it. And I’ll show you (Anders) that I’ll suck at it. But it turns out that I loved it,” said Emilia.
It was that eye of spotting talent by Anders that led to Oneflow being what it is today, as Emilia ended up being high quality and highly talented seller. Identifying qualities in people that they don’t realize they have and seeing their potential. For Emilia, in hindsight, it made sense.
“’I’m a sociable person and love meeting new people. I’m also very curious, and I love helping out. And that’s basically what Anders was saying and what sales is. It’s about talking to people, trying to figure out what their issues are and how I can help them resolve those issues,” Emilia mentioned.
Growing with Oneflow
As Oneflow has evolved, so has Emilia. She’s had stints as a sales executive, where she admits she had lots of learning to do on the job. But she enjoyed it, so it was a great experience. Then moving to Head of Sales as there was a need for someone to manage the sales team at the time. Yet, she played an integral role in tripling the size of the sales team back then while leaving her imprint.
Leaving an imprint on Oneflow is something that Emilia has been foundational to. As she’s been here since the beginning, she’s one of the people who helped define what Oneflow’s culture is. And the values that Oneflow strives to live up to, and according to her, does live up to.
“By a hundred percent, I think that we live up to our values. And the reason that we do that is because the company created them. This is not something that management determined for everybody that works here saying hey, these are our values. They very much came from the ground up,” she proclaimed.
According to Emilia, Oneflow tried to find a way to put into words what they were doing right back then. As a way to highlight and empower that kind of culture. Emilia knows the importance of having an inclusive and diverse culture at a company. In fact, she’s been an advocate for inclusivity and diversity at Oneflow from the very beginning.
Be your best
Emilia, as written in a blog last year, is one of two openly LGBTQI+ members of the Oneflow management team. In this day and age, it is rarer than it should be. However, it was a natural development at Oneflow. Those who showcased the traits and skillset rose to the top organically.
“Not a lot of companies can say that they have openly queer members of management. I think that kind of sets the tone and trickles down to the rest of the company and teams. It’s one of those things that has always been true to Oneflow as we’ve grown. As with more diversity and people from different backgrounds involved, you create better results. And we’ve always been results driven,” noted Emilia.
And according to Emilia, to be able to perform at their best, people need to be able to be themselves, whoever that person is.
“You spend a lot of time at work, and if I can’t be myself, I couldn’t do that job because you spend the majority of your life at work. If I have to act like I’m not myself, well, I’m not going to feel very good, but also probably not going to perform really well. To perform at my best, I need to be a hundred percent true to myself,” Emilia stated. “I think it’s important that people can be who they really are to perform at their best. And we hope people do too because I want everybody to be able to perform at their very best.”
That realization is why Emilia knows the importance of representation, diversity, and inclusion inside an organization. If a person sees someone they identify with in a particular position or just knows they don’t have to hide who they are, then they can relax. At work, they’ll operate at a higher level. This is why she’s proud to be an advocate for others and always will speak up when she feels the need to.
As a people person, a manager, and a Oneflower, she wants to set her team up for success so they can be their best selves. As she looks back on her Oneflow experience, she’s proud to see how much it’s grown. While understanding that she’s played a massive role in turning it into what it is today, culturally and economically, has left her impact.
Oneflow, in Emilia’s words
When asked what working at Oneflow means to her, Emilia had a twinkle in her eye. Similar to a proud parent admiring their child. It certainly makes sense when you think about the journey she’s been on.
“I spend a lot of time at work, as do all of you, and being a part of creating something that is so much bigger than yourself is a great feeling. Like being a part of creating this amazing workplace for others and also giving others the opportunity to come work at this amazing workplace. I think that’s the biggest thing for me,” she noted with a smile.
It’s a bit of a surprise for her when she thinks about what Oneflow is and its uniqueness when it comes to culture.
“After seven years, what surprises me about Oneflow, is that, for me, this is how a workplace should be. We’ve created something big, positive, diverse, and inclusive that’s a safe place to be. And I’m realizing that this is unique, but I wish that it wasn’t,” she said.
Some people aim to change the world in massive ways. Sometimes by becoming Nobel prize-winning scientists, running for public office, or becoming globally recognized climate change activists. Those are lofty and ambitious goals, but not for everybody, noted Emilia. For her, it’s about finding a way to make the world a better place with her skills and mindset available to her.
Emilia continued, “not everybody can be a scientist and change the world in that sense, but this is what I can do to make the world a bit better. I mean, I’m going to do what I can to make this workplace the best it can be. I think we give good people a good opportunity to grow and be a part of this, this journey that Oneflow is on.”
It’s a valid point. There’s only so much one individual can do. If we all work together and have the collective spirit and mindset that Emilia has, surely the wonders we can all work together are limitless.
Interested in working wonders at Oneflow? We’re looking for you