Dr.IrmelinDrake Leadership perspectives

Scandinavian Leadership - Organizational change - Social innovation - Modern women

Leadership - up for grabs!


 Yepp, leadership IS up for grabs  - and as the world needs constructive leadership at all Levels (Self-leadership, Team leadership, Organizational leadership,  Family leadership,  Political leadership, etc); We all need to take Our toll and lead the way.   

  • How and why this is so, I address under the following subtopics; Women in Management and Leadership, Leadership in Organizations, and Change Management & Change Makers.

Leadership is the topic which is most characteristic of my career, it is my worklife's passion, and I find so much hope for the future in it.  People say that there is a lack of leadership, I say, we've just been looking in the wrong places.

In order for leadership to come to its full fruition, however,  there is a need to turn the meaning of leadership Upside Down, or even Inside Out.  Leadership should not be confined to leaders of nations and those at the top of corporations, but must be enacted by all People at all levels; the individual, family, organizational, communal, and societal. 

When leadership is seen as an influence process among People working together, it seems so obvious that we all must take responsibility for how we influence others and how we let others influence us. Dividing the work force into only two Groups, managers and employees, and ascribing the leadership task to managers only, is an outdated and costly way of approaching the notion of how to empower and enable People to work together for the betterment of all stakeholders.

In myleadership classes (more about it below), I find it so encouraging to see how the stance of expecting leadership from all employees in all roles and functions, gives rise to so much creativity, action-orientation and energy.  It is a true recipe to create better organizations, and not to mention more constructive and empowering climates for each and everyone spending so much of Our lives in them.


Since 2009 I have been an Associate Professor of Leadership and Management at the second largest University college in Norway (University College of Southeast Norway).

During 2013 and 2016 I coordinated a Master in Innovation and Leadership programme, which was recently rated among the top five master programmes within economy and management in Norway.  Currently, I teach on three courses offered at the Master's program; Leadership and innovation, Collaboration and Leadership development, and Master thesis.   

My background is a mix between academic, research oriented, practical and entrepreneurial.  I have a PhD in Strategic leadership from what probably is Norway's most recognized institution within this topic area (NHH in Bergen).  But I have also run my own business for ten years, been a social entrepreneur, developed leadership programs and initiatives and been employed as a leadership consultant in a large Nordic bank.

Professional things I am particularly proud of are some of the following;

  • In 1995, I co-wrote the book; Women and leadership - through the glass ceiling? together with AG Solberg which was the first of its kind in Norway to frame the question of (the underrepresentation of) women in management as a business problem
  • During 1997-2001 I was a part of a research team that conducted the first representative study of Norwegian managers ever (for AFF)
  • From 1999 through mid 2008 I ran LeadershipWomen, a business aimed at developing and managing projects related to women's careers and leadership in a wide area of applications such as women academics, women entrepreneurs, women in top management, women managers in the media, women in the defence industry, and more.
  • During those years I was a monthly columnist in Ukeavisen Ledelse (Leadership times, 1999-2006) and Østlands-Posten (2007-2008)
  • In 2001-2002, I co-produced and was featured in a documentary tv-series  about modern women; Song for modern women (NRK, a few episodes have been shown in other countries such as China and Latvia)
  • In 2002-2003 I was a special advisor in developing Female Future, an international award winning initiative aimed at promoting women to boards and leadership positions in the private sector in Norway (for NHO v/Benja Stig Fagerland)
  • I co-founded and managed the social entrepreneurship project Top 10 (with Lisa Cooper), an initiative to select, profile and conduct research about 1. generation immigrant leaders in Norway.  My involvement lasted from 2003 - 2008.
  • In 2008 I was hired as a senior leadership consultant at Nordea (bank), and worked around the clock on new leader development as well as being in charge of the nordic Experienced leader programme
  • I have been in charge of 'Coaching and leadership', an executive management course at HSN for 6 years in a row,  drawing a full classof engaged students each year,  as well as 'Change management', which ran for 6 years as well
  • From 2009 until now, I have developed six new study courses at HSN, of which two were taught in English and four are at a Master's level
  • In 2011 I co-founded Women Sp3akers with Benja Stig Fagerland (Founder) and two other co-founders
  • Currently I am involved in the Research programme, Balance - exploring what it takes to get more women qualified as full professors and becoming thought leaders within their respective areas of expertise (the action research project's name is KLOK)

Enough of 'showing off' my projects and experience,  I just wanted to share some ofthe exciting work I have been fortunate to be engaged in over the years.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these projects, initiatives or experiences - or if you are interested in hearing me speak about any of my favorite topics, please get in touch with me at irmelin.drake@usn.no or at +4747910460

NOW, let's look Ahead and Move Forward With New and Promising ideas and Projects! 


  Inspiring banner at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, December 2013.    

Inspiring banner at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, December 2013.


Contact email: irmelin.drake@usn.no - mobile: +47 47910460.

My Norwegian blog: irmelindrake.blogg.no


email: irmelin.drake@usn.no; mobile: +4747910460;  instagram: @irmelindrake