As the flagship knowledge-sharing network EGN (Executive’s Global Network) keeps expanding in Southeast Asia Mr Nick Jonsson, who built up its presence also in Vietnam, is now the Managing Director in Singapore.
There, EGN is currently expanding with more groups for senior executives. Launched in 1992, in Denmark, EGN has been present in Asia since 2008 and is today one of the largest global professional networks with 14,000 members including over 70 professions.
“So far we have groups in Executive Leadership, Finance, HR, Marketing and Supply Chain in Singapore. In total we have almost 200 members that are part of eight knowledge sharing peer groups,” Nick tells ScandAsia.
Turning to their EGN member group, business leaders and other managers can get qualified, and confidential, advice and feedback on any concern, issue or on-going project they may be dealing with in their professional life. In their respective group they can get objective input and knowhow from other executives who can share experiences from similar situations. It often leads to problem solving as well as finding a path to go forward (also with suggestions for someone in the EGN network that may have the right know-how or recommendation). They also get relevant insights from experts in various fields.
For business leaders, all with regional or international experience, EGN is especially appreciated for the opportunity to have confidants outside one’s organisation, combined with the ways it enables new skills learning – partly via workshops.
“First, they want to get help to the daily challenges that they are faced with; you can raise a question inside your group at a meeting or to the entire network (with the help of our online tools) and get help to solve those issues. Second, it keeps our members up to date with all the latest industry trends, which means that they have fast access to information which helps them make better and more informed decisions,” highlights Nick.
In each group, which functions as its members’ personal confidential forum, the only interest of all members is to help each other. The focus is entirely on giving members space to develop personally and as an executive, which is also a main differentiation to “traditional” networking via chamber of commerce organisations.
In the EGN network one actually gets the luxury and valuable opportunity to both get coaching and challenged by peers with no other interest than giving each other qualified advice. One gets hands-on insights across fields, industries and borders that can be implemented immediately.
“The focus is entirely on giving members space to develop personally and as an executive,” explains the Swedish MD. “You can actually use your professional network as your consultants or regard it as a personal advisory board, with free access to advice from other CEOs or MDs of the functional group you are within, learning from the experiences of others and of course, also avoid the less successful things others have already done.”
Nick, who is an experience executive with long Asian experience, had been contacted by EGN back in 2015 with the offer to set up an affiliate in Vietnam – which he did in Ho Chi Minh City.
“Then, last year I had the chance to take over the Singapore chapter which is a much larger organization. I did not hesitate to make the move to the regional hub. I am employed by EGN and reports to our CEO Jonatan Persson at our head office in Denmark.”
“I started my career in Asia working for DDB, one of the largest advertising companies in the world and was then headhunted by Swedish Oriflame and appointed “Future” Managing Director based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I then moved on to fashion company Sophie Martin where I was their Managing Director and worked in Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia,” he says.
Prior to joining EGN Nick also worked with International SOS in Indonesia as Deputy General Manager.
Explaining hands-on how the member network is being appreciated he says: “I frequently join peer group meetings and we constantly listen to our members in regards to what they need. We are currently expanding with more meetings on digital transformation which is shaking up most industries and companies. It is something that no business executives can avoid so we engage the best experts in this field to run frequent workshop on topics such as ‘CoBotics’, ‘The future of AI’ and ‘Winds of Change: From Disruption to Value’.”
EGN Singapore members can subscribe to focus groups that interests them including Human Capital, Digital Transformation and Developing Markets. The Digital Transformation Focus Group is currently the most attended Nick says. “In these sessions we have business leaders from tech companies including Microsoft to run workshops with our members.”
The fact that Singapore is the regional hub of the whole of Southeast Asia and beyond also forms the scenario for special needs within EGN there: “Most of our members have regional responsibilities. It’s therefore very important for EGN to continue to grow in Singapore to offer the regional directors of various industries a platform for knowledge sharing. At EGN in Singapore we also have focus groups on various developing markets such as India. These meetings are country-specific and related to the shared challenges that an executive may face when setting up or expanding their business in that particular country.”
In addition to the current eight peer groups in Singapore, EGN plans to open new groups for other fields including Young Leaders, Executive Assistants, Legal and IT.