Phenomenal Women of AltoPartners – Kjersti Grøttås
Meet Kjersti Grøttås, a partner with Kingbird, AltoPartners/ Norway, and our go-to expert on senior managers and specialists in commercial and IT roles. Cheerful, modest and empathetic (she got a hunter’s licence as a girl but couldn’t bring herself to use it), she is not only a wonderful colleague, but she also makes the best bread rolls ever.
Where were you born?
I was born in Oslo and spent my first six years in the Northern Part of Norway near the Arctic Circle before we returned to Oslo. We lived on Alsta Island near Sandnessjøen, where my parents worked as lecturers and teachers. I remember the spectacular landscape and the unique ‘singing’ dialect (which I lost within three weeks of returning to Oslo). I went back again for the first time a couple of years ago and climbed one of the famous mountains on the island. This time I came by plane, the last time we had to take a ferry.
What was your childhood career dream?
Oh – so many! [Laughs]. They changed frequently and ranged from law to veterinary science (I love animals!).
What did you do when you left school?
I started working early, took evening classes in marketing, and studied for a degree in business economics part-time through the BI Norwegian Business School, skills that came in handy during my almost 14 years in media sales and marketing.
What was your first job?
While studying part-time, I worked in a large insurance company on the accountancy side of the re-assurance dept. A boring job for a young girl, but I was not the only young person working there, and in the canteen, I met the man who is now my husband.
How did you get into executive recruitment: accident or design?
Purely coincidental. I was offered a job as a researcher at A.T. Kearney, and I loved it! Of course, this was 1998, long before LinkedIn, so finding candidates was challenging in a different way. I felt like a detective straight out of Nancy Drew!
What motivates you to do what you do?
Engaged clients and candidates motivate me. Working with a client who is passionate about their work is contagious and inspires me to go above and beyond. Oh – and my colleagues – I love them – we laugh every day!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Speak up, don’t be afraid to use your voice. It’s a lesson for my older self, too, as I keep telling myself…
How do you relax and unwind?
I like to walk, run, or paddle my kayak on the Oslo fjord and in the fjord at our summer resort south of Oslo. In the winter, I enjoy cross-country skiing. I also love books and baking!
Do you have a superpower?
I thought it was that I made excellent bread rolls, but according to my colleagues, I have a knack for always finding great candidates, no matter how challenging the assignment. So I’ll take that.
What book are you currently reading?
I have just started “The Afghans” by the renowned Norwegian writer Åsne Seierstad. Through the lens of three individuals and their families, “The Afghans” explores life under the Taliban today. It’s a powerful and insightful story that spotlights the deeply human aspects of the conflict-ridden country and the lives of ordinary people caught up in it.