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  • Rachel Barac

Mette Leger

Founder & Owner of Grow HR

Tell us about yourself and the business you run in Shanghai I’m Swedish, a mother of two, married and I’ve been running my own business for over 10 years. I thrive when I am put in front of a challenge, I love finding solutions and connecting the dots. I am also passionate about peoples’ stories and understanding where they come from. That is why after 10 years, I still enjoy my job very much and feel blessed every day. If you’re wondering what I do for work, I would say all of the above. More specifically, I run an Executive Search firm in Shanghai specialized in the APAC region. What are some lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way? I have learned so much over the years and still do. One thing I’ve learned is to be tougher. I think my loyal and caring character has given me many opportunities but I have learned in business you also have to be tough and sometimes a bit selfish. Sometimes I think I have been taken advantage of, but I still choose today to stay a bit foolish, but hopefully a smarter fool. The other lesson is to have a lawyer helping you from the beginning setting up your trademarks and ensuring your contracts are in order…now I am married to one ;-) And finally, managing people. I found it more of a challenge earlier on but I am still learning on a daily basis to build up and create highly efficient and happy teams. People are the key to any business and today I place them as number one, not the client nor the business. Do you believe women can achieve work/life balance? I don’t believe there is something called work/life balance. It is more about compromising and managing expectations. After giving birth to my first son I was stressed by the feeling of never having enough time. Not enough time to hug my son nor time to build and develop what I wanted to at work. Now, I give myself some more loving and manage my own expectations better. For now things have to be as they are, and I am ok with that (most days). Lastly, having a supportive team, family and friends always helps. What does being entrepreneurial mean to you? To be daring and to let go of conventions. To give that something extra. It’s a huge commitment but also freedom. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? My first thought is what I’m doing now. My second thought is to work for peace and love in the world. I do think the world needs more love. Where is your company today and where do you see yourself in the future We have a great team, fantastic clients and work with really interesting placements. We can always be better and we are always looking for good people to join our journey. Process and systems can always be leaner, but for the future I would love Grow HR to be THE people connector of the future where we continue leveraging on our market insight and embrace technology and new thinking into everything we do. As we speak we are launching video applications, games assessments and EI evaluation tools and for tomorrow I hope we will find that sweet spot blending technology with a human touch. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give when it comes to recruitment in APAC Number one, don’t underestimate the market. It is complex and often very different from your home market. Therefore do your homework and speak to people and organizations on the ground such as Grow HR to get the market insight you need to make smart decisions. Number two, take recruitment seriously. It’s commonly stated that people are an organization’s biggest asset – value them as such. Number three, have a solid talent strategy and incorporate recruitment decisions that are data driven, efficient and consistent. Leverage and embrace new technology even though recruitment will always be human. What’s your favourite quote? “Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things” Kurt Vonnegut. If you would like to reach Mette to learn more about Grow HR please contact her. Website: Email:


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