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The Professionals: Åsa Stengård

Following a bold decision that led to a change of career, Professional paved the way for Åsa to switch from Sales to HR.

Now, as HR Business Partner for the Nordics, UK and Customer Experience within Business Area Laundry, she oversees the daily HR needs of 55 colleagues across five countries.

asa_TOPIMAGE-1Åsa literally grew up in the hospitality industry and recalls her early years living in her parents’ hotel in Sweden, taking the elevator down to breakfast and summer jobs cleaning the rooms.

She studied natural science and psychology but “somehow slipped into Sales” and went on to carve out a successful career. That was until she decided she wanted to deliver results through people instead and followed her ambition to work with Human Resources.

Tell us more about your career at Professional to date

I’ve been a proud employee for four and a half years now, starting as Talent Acquisition Partner which was the best education and introduction to the company. I learned about so many different roles and met a lot of people which gave me a real helicopter view of the organization.

Before taking up my current position I was HRBP for the Nordic region and now my role has expanded – but challenges, growth and change is how I thrive.

asa3-1What drew you to switch careers from Sales to HR?

Before joining Professional, I was Head of Sales for another listed company in Sweden and what made me tick was the psychology behind what makes people want to achieve better results. Of course, pay plays its part but it’s more than that – a feeling of pride, that you belong to the group and feeling seen and heard. So, I made a conscious choice to start over my career in HR and I didn’t know where I would land. Professional that gave me that break and it has been the best decision, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

You have also spent many years living abroad – how has that shaped you?

I was young when I moved as an exchange student to the US where I spent the last year of high school and continued at college. After nine years I came home to Sweden. I also spent a year in Greece setting up a hotel and restaurant business which was a really interesting insight into what it means to work in the service field.

What I find fascinating is how we as human beings are so alike despite completely different upbringings in difference environments. We often focus too much on our differences instead of seeing the beauty of the common denominators. With respect, genuine interest and humility you come along way.

I’m originally from Gothenburg and have lived in Ljungby for the past 20 years but travelling for work has always played a big part in my life.

asa2-1What gives you energy and keeps you passionate?

Challenges, impact, international colleagues and learning; I do have a drive to learn and grow. For me, I learn by doing and watching other and I’m lucky to be surrounded by talented colleagues, so the support is never far away. I ask if I can join a meeting or training and see how they do it – then I try to make it my own.

You lead Professional’s internal Guiding Principles workshops – tell us more about the experience

I run the workshops held in English and it’s great how we connect colleagues from different regions – that’s a big energy booster for me.


Check out our global career site, if you aspire to pursue a career similar to Åsa’s.