A number of you will remember Åsa Lodjquist (now Åsa Tönne) as one of our brilliant former Client Servicing Directors. Although she left Bahrain and our agency quite some years ago to resettle back home in Sweden 🇸🇪, we have remained great friends ever since. Case in hand, she has organized quite a few opportunities for Francois to come over to Sweden for joint public speaking or coaching gigs with her 👯♀️.
But this one was a bit more of a biggie: after PeO Axelsson, organizer of Sweden’s Annual Marketing Directors' Conference (Marknadscheferna) invited her to speak at the event, Åsa then talked him into having François as the ‘inspirational’ keynote speaker. (OMG! 😱)
Here’s how the briefing phone call went:
PeO: “We want you to be the keynote speaker. We’ll also run a feature article on you in our high-circulation marketing magazine. We want you on the cover.”
Francois (a bit stunned): “Er… I see. And what would you like me to talk about?”
PeO: “Anything you like, that could interest and inspire Marketing Directors.”
Francois (still a bit stunned): “I see… er… And how controversial can I be?”
PeO: “As controversial as you like; this is Sweden: we are open to anything! Our keynote speaker last year was heavy-metal band Iron Maiden’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson, so you see…”
(Bruce Dickinson? Seriously? No less?… Pretty tough act to follow, no? 😰...)
Åsa’s presentation was great. And Francois’? Well, since he was given a free rein, he indulged and spoke of the lack of ethics in business, of a subjugating system, of the fickleness of truth, and of course of what he coined a decade ago as “the Warrior’s Paradigm” – our logical, linear, competitive world orchestrated by ego, power, money – and of the emergence of its potential antipodal one, his “Mermaids' Paradigm” – a feminine/plural one, based on intuition, harmony, collaboration, sustainability and the likes. And you know what? Gotta love the Swedes: it went really, really well! Pfew!...
François and Åsa went on to repeat their presentations (slightly tweaked) two days later at an unrelated conference in Stockholm, under the title “Yes to the Power of No”.
So “tack” to you: Åsa, PeO, Magnus – for the friendship, the hospitality and kindness, as well as for yet again another memorable time in Sweden!