She was really sold, though, when she visited New York City as a thirteen-year-old from Sweden and fell in love with both the United States and the financial district. Maria also enjoys traveling with her daughter and has an ambitious goal of skiing every major peak in the U.S.
What is your overall view of the presence and status of women in the industry, how does it compare to Sweden?
Gender equality in Sweden is very different. It has progressed much faster than in the U.S. I’ve never worked in Sweden but my female friends back home are CEO’s of large international companies. Women make up almost half of the workforce there and they hold high-level positions. But it has not always been that way. The shift was happening in Sweden when my mom was pursuing her career. I believe that in the next ten or fifteen years in the U.S, we are going to see a completely different dynamic in company cultures that are much less focused on gender. There are some great female leaders in the industry already doing a tremendous job empowering younger women to pursue a career in finance.
Who is a woman who most inspires you and why?
Growing up in Sweden, we were never pushed to have a female role model but I am inspired by Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden. She has always been humble and has embraced the responsibilities given to her and has dealt with many personal challenges growing up in the limelight. Rather than encouraging the idea that women are always supposed to be perfect, she reminds both the younger and older generations that being vulnerable does not have to interfere with achievement.
What are some of your hopes for your daughter and her future?
My hope is for my daughter to be an open-minded woman who thinks freely and peruses her dreams no matter how large. I am raising my daughter to embrace her appetite for adventures and curiosity and to always be respectful and accepting of all lives, as they all have equal value. My dream is that she will live her life being courageous enough to never give up on herself.