Related articles

Marylin Monroe as the Role of Her life, Blonde Movie
Marylin Monroe as the Role of Her life, Blonde Movie

The movie « Blonde » was launched on streaming media ...

read more

How is it to be a Business Woman in Monaco? Interview with Natalia Akerlund

editorial & arteditorial

25 January

Being a business woman is as challenging as ever? We are still living in a male dominant society. Women have a certain ability to bring to the table things that men don't have, by nature, and still things haven't changed much. Where is the place of a business woman in a manly environment, how much women are accepted at this level? More and more, still not enough!

This is not a feminist approach; it is a statistical point where the proportions are not equal, where women gain less doing the same activity as men, and so on. These things mark today's society and most women struggle to fit in. So what do you need in terms of acceptance? An invitation to read the interview with Natalia Akerlund, a business woman living in Monaco!

"My name is Natalia, I was born in Russia and raised in Finland. I've lived, actually, in six countries. The most recent one is Monaco. I've been here for about ten years. I've been working in many different industries, starting from family business, in the car industry, then switching to consultancy. I was a management consultant at IBM. Then, getting back to the family business in oil trading, and now, finally, I opened my own company, two years ago, Vino Royale Monte Carlo, here in Monaco and I'm distributing wine and champagne to some of the top restaurants in Monaco.

I am coming from an entrepreneurial family. My father has been a businessman since he was sixteen years old, so I had visibility to this business world since I was very young. My first experience was when I moved from St Francisco back to Finland and start working in our car business. I was in charge of buying cars from all over the world, from China, Korea, Germany, Canada. This was my first hands-on experience in the business world.

My dream, though, to work in a big corporate company. I was dreaming to wear those nice sexy costumes and I was always admiring the business women on TV. So, I submitted about fifty CVs, I went to ten management consulting interviews, and I, finally, landed a job at IBM consulting. This was my first step into the corporate world!

The destiny took me from Helsinki to Stockholm, where I continued in consultancy, working for a Swedish consultancy company and a project in Erickson. After that, my family switched to the oil trading business and they invited me to Monaco. The time was right! So my family moved to Monaco to start this completely new business. A totally different challenge!

I had this entrepreneurial vibe since I was very young. This is why my wine business came naturally. Also because my father has been a wine collector for some many years, with more than 10000 bottles!"

What would be the top qualities for a woman like you to be in the business?

"I think is quite important to believe in yourself. I didn't believe in myself before. It took some work! I have always put myself into situations where I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I always go where I have something to learn. Learning is critical to evolution. Connecting to people, networking is on the most important things in this business world. It's all about relationships, about who you know, how people respect you, how they value you. This was a critical aspect for me, here in Monaco."

How would you describe the business landscape, for women, in Monaco?

"I would say that is very challenging. I have been running businesses in Scandinavia where the quality issue is at a different level than that in the Southern Europe. It's not easy, but not impossible! If you really believe in yourself, if you know what you do, or even if you don't (laughing), you just need to be consistent, follow your feeling, and just do it. It's not a good idea to postpone things. Whatever you need to do today, just take the risks and you won't regret it."

How would you project the female future in business?

"I'm against quotas but I do support women in business, the truly natural women talent, because I believe they are, actually, better leaders than men (laughing). I truly believe women can be amazing leaders, because they have very good sense of people. They know how to talk to people, how to communicate, how to deal with the problems."

What would be your message to the women who would like to be in the business world?

"Don't be afraid! Don't think negative, think positive! Just think that you'll going to do it and you will succeed at it. Put the goals on a piece of paper and just try to reach them, one by one. Sometimes, a mentor can, also, help.

Social media is a very interesting concept, and when people look at my social media, they think that I'm living in a glamorous Monaco life. But they don't really know what's behind it. They don't know how I started the business. I was walking with my son's rucksack on my back, carrying the heavy bottles and knocking on the doors of so many restaurants! Of course, you only see the results. Now I'm working with twelve amazing luxury restaurants in Monaco, but there's a lot of hard work behind it. You have to be ready for that. So, don't give up, if you want to be in the business world.

Any of us has a right to succeed in what we believe in!"

How would you define success?

"A fulfilment of yourself! Everyone has to find the level of happiness and success, of satisfaction for yourself. Never compare yourself to others! There will always be someone more beautiful, more successful, with more money, but we have to find our own level of happiness and satisfaction.

Do you have a feminine role model?

"I have several! When I was young, I was admiring Madonna! I thought she was a little bit crazy, she was daring, she was not afraid of the social standards. Now, I am looking more at the business world where I have quite a few business women that I'm admiring."

What would be your main philosophy of life?

"First of all, be natural, be yourself! Don't pretend to be someone else! Don't fake it! When you're feeling natural, you're feeling good, you're feeling like you're standing on both feet, and you don't care about anything. You just care about your own goals and people around you. This way, it is much easier to succeed.

Treat others with respect, the way you would like to be treated yourself. It doesn't matter if you're a cleaning lady or a top manager, treat everybody with respect!"


By Andra Oprea

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say?

Editor's Pick

Streetwear Generation: will sneakers replace stilettos for good?
Streetwear Generation: will sneakers replace stilettos for good?

Streetwear Generation: will sneakers replace stilettos for good? ...

read more ›


Zuhair Murad Spring/Summer 15 lookbook
Zuhair Murad Spring/Summer 15 lookbook

For the Spring Summer 2015, haute couture house Zuhair Murad makes a step towards a more ...

read more ›
Rock ’n’ Roll for John Richmond Spring 2015
Rock ’n’ Roll for John Richmond Spring 2015

Rock 'n' Roll is the refferance word for John Richmond Spring 2015 fashion collection.  It is ...

read more ›


The top 7 types of women on Facebook
The top 7 types of women on Facebook

Women on Facebook, lots of them, squirreling, scrolling, drooling! I like women who share things on Facebook ...

read more ›
American vs French brand culture at TFWA Cannes
American vs French brand culture at TFWA Cannes

This year 30th edition of Duty Free & Travel Retail Global Summit (TFWA) at Cannes is a ...

read more ›