The visionary game changer
Five questions to Bahare Haghshenas, Strategy Consultant, Monitor Deloitte.
What defines purpose for you?
For me, it is important to make a difference and create value that lasts – both for the clients and for society. I believe it is our responsibility as individuals and as corporations to contribute beyond profit. I have a strong personal drive to work with complex situations or wicked problems. Problems that are highly complex, interlinked with many issues and require multi-disciplinary competences to solve; like resource scarcity, climate changes and migration. They have a huge impact on how we run our society, organisations and businesses. Solving these problems requires a completely new mindset, novel partnerships and true innovation.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by personal drive?
I came to Sweden as a refugee together with my parents who were very politically aware and active. I grew up outside Gothenburg in a socio-economically disadvantaged residential area, a so-called ghetto. I was angry, and I was frustrated. My childhood taught me a lot about inequality, discrimination and sustainability. From the age of 16, I became a Red Cross volunteer. That changed my world, my perspectives and values. At the age of 23, I was elected president of the Swedish Red Cross Youth, and four years later, vice president of the Swedish Red Cross, as the youngest ever.
In my professional life, I have had the fortune to work in many different sectors, from public, NGOs, foundations, to start-ups and large corporations. I have learnt that big corporations can play an immense role in developing innovative financially viable sustainable solutions. Corporations have a huge impact on society and people’s lives. We can make an impact that goes far beyond many other sectors.
How do you create a purpose for others through your daily work?
I believe most of us are driven by a bigger vision. We like to see how our small piece contributes to a bigger purpose, we like to take responsibility, and we aim to grow. When young consultants are part of my project team, I try to connect the dots and create that bigger picture. I like to push people’s boundaries and challenge them to go beyond what they believe they can do. It motivates me to support younger colleagues to grow, both on their professional and personal journey. That is one of the things I love most about my job.
Can you describe one of the most meaningful projects that you have worked with?
Luckily, there has been a few, but I remember one in Mjølnerparken in Copenhagen where we were to come up with a plan for how the municipality could increase employment in the area, as over 80 percent is unemployed. The client expected us to bring some specific cases, but we quickly realised that the municipality needed to address some crucial overall challenges and remove some structural roadblocks before they could address the unemployment issue.
I have also worked with a number of Danish fashion brands, developing their sustainability strategy looking at their value chain, consumer preferences and resource use.
A recent project that I am very thrilled about is a UNDP project with the ambition to accelerate private-sector engagement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through innovation and development of new business models, products or new services with high impact on the SDGs.
When do you feel that you really make a difference, and how would you like to make an impact in the future?
I feel that I am making a difference when I can get people to see things in a new light. When I can facilitate solutions and bold ideas that go beyond industries and across sectors with a large impact on society.
I believe in partnerships and in the future, I hope I can use my skills of bringing ideas and people together to create large innovative solutions for some of our largest societal challenges. At the end of the day, making an impact means changing the world for the better.