A talk with… Caroline Ottosson, CEO of SL
In a continuation of our Summit Insider news series, we’ve asked Caroline Ottosson, CEO of Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) – Stockholm’s public transport operator and local host of the UITP Summit 2019 – to share her views and experience of the public transport sector.
Caroline will be speaking at the Summit in our host session on public transport in Stockholm, and she’s also a panellist in this session dedicated to UITP’s European priorities for the new legislature 2019-2024.
Tell us about your experience and career path in the public transport sector
In 2015, after 25 years of work on infrastructure and transport issues within three state agencies, I was asked if I would like to become the Head of Transport Administration within the Stockholm County Council and CEO of SL. Such an exciting assignment was hard to refuse. I was able to bring my previous experiences to my new work and was given the opportunity to learn more about public transport in Stockholm. It has been a fantastic journey to lead this business for three years and I am much richer in experiences.
What motivates you on a daily basis?
I think it is easy to get involved in activities that affect the development of society and people’s everyday life. The public transport network of Stockholm is important for the region to be able to grow sustainably. It is also important for Sweden to be able to continue to maintain its position. I feel that we make a difference every day. On a daily basis, what gives me energy is when we succeed together at work, in both big and small matters. It could be anything, from inaugurating Citybanan to managing broken escalators in the new stations.
Why would the public transport sector benefit from having more women in its workforce?
The work within equality and diversity is very important. To me, it is natural to utilise the competences of all groups in society. This way, we become wiser and we make smarter decisions. More women are therefore needed in public transport. We have already come a long way within the Transport Administration and SL here in Stockholm and I hope that more public transport authorities in the world dare to follow our footsteps.
A few years ago, you shared your story and provided valuable career advice together with 25 other inspirational women in the book “Bortom Glastaket”. What particular piece of advice would you give to other women interested in starting their careers in public transport?
Acquire a safe competence base that you can rely on. Dare to change jobs periodically to learn new things. Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. Surround yourself with competent employees.
Show your support for a gender inclusive public transport by endorsing our PT4ME campaign here!