Linköping NFGL Local Network shares eight tips for board success

Sabera Zohra Abonty, Chairperson of Linköping NFGL Local Network, shares her network's eight top tips for working together as a successful board.

Linköping NFGL Local Network shares eight tips for board success
Photo: NFGL Local Network Linköping.

When I look back, the day I saw my name on the SI Scholarship Holders list I was the happiest person on earth. I was sitting in my office and all I wanted was to scream with joy. But I kept silent and, instead, there was a silent disco inside my heart!

It’s now been eight months since I came to Sweden and I have learned something new every day and every moment. There are so many moments of learning, unlearning and relearning. Sweden has been one of the greatest teachers to me in so many ways. It's also made me learn that failures are not obstacles, rather they are part of the learning you need to go through when you are trying to awaken the leader in yourself.

I am always a motivated person, willing to take new challenges, rather than living in fear of failures. In the welcome ceremony, when the chairpeople of the local networks were sharing their experiences and portraying their leadership skills, the challenger in me came out and I went to talk with Mercela, Chairperson of Linköping Local Network.

I wanted to be a part of the board and make meaningful contributions to the network and to the fellow recipients. It was a great opportunity to practice my leadership skills. That's why we are in Sweden with the scholarship, to begin with – I told myself.

Mercela briefed me about the network and the challenges of being part of the board. But I said to myself, 'Hey, I can do that! It’s exciting to fail sometimes but it’s more exciting to be a part of such board.' 

As the time came, I started communicating with fellow recipients from Linköping. I was in full swing to make it work and complete the application for the network. With the help of a few friends within the network and with a lot of confusion still in my mind, I sent the application with the board member's name and listed myself as chairperson.

We had so many exciting and unique ideas when we wrote the application but once we got the approval we started facing challenges. And today I would like to share those challenges with our future chairpeople and the board, so they can prepare themselves and get the best out of SI and their tenure as a board.

  1. Before you form the board, talk in a very detailed way with the recipients who might be interested in being a part of the board. A nice idea could be if everyone can do a self-presentation during the election why they are interested to be part of the board and how would they like to contribute.

  2. Once you have the board, map your skills to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to get the best out of everyone. This is also very helpful for self-development.

  3. Have a realistic calendar to arrange the events considering the budget, national holidays and semester schedules and try to stick to the plans. It’s very helpful to have an evaluation of the events and plans regularly.

  4. Try to gather schedules and plans of every board members and have a shared calendar.

  5. Discuss with board members to find out their commitments and how much time they are willing to spend working on the network.

  6. Your board members can be your best friends. Try to spend time with them as much as possible.

  7. Be on time in the meeting and respect everyone’s opinion. Always remember they are as qualified as you are.

  8. Lastly enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and share happiness and love! Being part of the board can be one of your greatest adventures.



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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.