"Sweden is a non-hierarchical society which emphasises democratic collaboration"

Describe your role at the company, and briefly your background / experience of living and working in other countries.

– Born and bred in Sweden, I have spent much of my adult life living, studying and working in many other countries across Europe and the world; Hong Kong, France, Germany and the US. I started my career at Pfizer Inc and spent many years working for the European headquarters. I spent much of my time traveling and working across the 23 countries covered by our regional office, experiencing the vastly different working cultures across our beautiful and diverse continent.

– In 2013, I joined the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) to help build a more collaborative innovation network in Swedish life science, and I have since worked in Sweden. Since 2015, I am the Director of Healthcare Development at Roche Diagnostics, and I spend most of my time working with Swedish healthcare and Swedish decision-makers.

What expectations did you have before moving to Sweden?

– Being born in Sweden, I grew up knowing that Sweden is just a tiny part of the world, and that to understand the world meant learning foreign languages, traveling and living across the globe. Sweden is a country with a proud history and heritage within life science, a strong social security system, a fantastic healthcare system – but also a clear understanding of the need for international collaboration and experience.

What is the best thing about living in Sweden?

– In Sweden, we expect to be able to combine an inspiring and challenging career with an active and rewarding personal life. I believe this is the unique selling point of Sweden. We are a highly productive society, while allowing everyone to have time for their families and personal life. Sweden is also a non-hierarchical society which emphasises democratic collaboration, with a long and proud tradition of interaction between industry, government and academia, which allows for true innovation to occur.

Would you recommend others to move here?

I would absolutely recommend others to move to Sweden, and indeed I actively work for more international exchange within my current organisation. From a life science perspective, Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world, with a highly educated and digitalized population, and it is small enough that as an individual you can have an impact.

What do you think of Sweden in regard to equality and other social aspects?

– Sweden is one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to social equality. Personally, I especially value the gender equality aspect, and I believe Sweden surpasses all other countries in which I have worked. The life science industry in Sweden stands out in that we have so many women on senior positions – in government, in healthcare, in academia as well as in the life science industry.

In your opinion, which is the most beautiful place in Sweden?

– I’m a city person, and so I have to say Stockholm! Stockholm has everything; glittering water, lush parks, beautiful buildings, great biking trails, fantastic restaurants and a truly multinational population!

Which is the best Swedish tradition?

– It’s a tie between Midsummer’s eve and the Crayfish season… Both include fantastic food (Smörgåsbord vs crayfish), schnapps, singing and enjoying the company of old and new friends!

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Foto: Anders Wiklund

Susanna Francke Rodau

Director Healthcare Development, Roche Diagnostics Scandinavia