Think like an activist

Published: 2023-02-08

As part of LUSEM's commitment to sustainability, the School organises student-oriented events that allow students to challenge old truths and think outside the box. In collaboration with the Sustainable Future Hub, the academic leads of the Master's in Management and International Strategic Management, Ola Mattisson and Ulf Ramberg, respectively, invited CEO and "happy activist" Yasemin Arhan Modéer to give a lecture on how to "Think like an activist".

Ola Mattisson, Yasemin Arhan Modéer and Ulf Ramberg.

A "happy activist"

Yasemin Arhan Modéer is a CEO and activist working towards a more sustainable and democratic world. She has also been called a "happy activist".

"We live in an uncertain world where we don't know what will happen from week to week, and it's not just the climate that's under threat, but democracy itself. We see all these problems, but it's easy to feel that "this is none of my business, someone else will fix it". Those days are over, we all need to follow our moral compass and do our part to improve the world," Yasemin says, and continues. 

"We all need to work every day for the change we want to see in the world. This is where my "happy activist" approach comes in. I believe we have the opportunity to make an impact if we not only point out an issue but also offer a solution. If you ever think that you alone can't make a difference, think how hard it is to sleep with only one mosquito in the room!"

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito"

Be the change

The projects Yasemin works on through her company are aimed at promoting democracy, climate change, and sustainability. Her basic idea when founding Altitude Meetings was that more problems in the world would be solved if only the right people could meet and talk to each other. Yasemin, therefore, uses her company to spread ideas and facilitate change. In the conferences and meetings she holds, she tries to influence towards sustainability in whatever way she can. 

"Sometimes change is as easy as just asking a question. Conference planners may not have even considered simple things like serving vegetarian food, but I find that they most often are grateful for the suggestion. There are some things I won't compromise on though; for example, I won't moderate all-male or all-female panels, and I won't agree to serve bottled water or be in a room without recycling facilities."

As a leader, Yasemin doesn't believe in being too authoritarian 

"If I am too harsh in my leadership style, my colleagues will be hesitant to express their ideas. It is especially important for leaders to keep humility and not assume they have all the answers. Leadership is all about bringing clever people together and letting them speak freely!"

Important to model different types of success

"Yasemin's ideas and execution feel innovative, which we hope will inspire our students", say Ola Mattisson and Ulf Ramberg.

"When you hear Yasemin speak, it becomes clear that if you have energy and knowledge, you can make a big difference. It's important, just as she says, to be curious and humble. After all, leading and managing an organisation's assets, or in simpler terms, using the right skills in the right place, is the foundation of Management. To do that, you also need to be both curious and humble. I'm also happy to show my students that success can look like many different things, it's often suits and monetary gains that are celebrated as signs of success, but this kind of advocacy is also a type of success." Says Ola and Ulf continues 

"I agree with Ola that Yasemin has a compelling leadership style, but for my students, it is what she does, rather than how that becomes important. I hope my students learned something they can use in the new project "Living the Sustainable idea" which is a sustainability initiative in the Master's programme International Strategic Management. Our students need to hear a working professional speak on how to follow a strong moral compass and the value of making the right choices for the long term. "

Yasemin Arhan Modéers top three tips for driving change:

  1. Find your inner drive and become an activist
  2. Listen, and listen well
  3. Be the change you want to see in the world


Contact the master programmes or the Sustainable Future Hub

International Strategic Management

A one-year programme for Bachelor's in business administration, interested in how to analyse, formulate and implement strategies and in becoming a senior organisational leader.

Ulf Ramberg, Associate Professor
Read more about the programme here


A one-year programme aiming at transforming students from ambitious graduates into successful managers. 

Ola Mattisson, Senior Lecturer
Read more about the programme here

Sustainable Future Hub

Sustainable Future Hub is a collaboration hub for students, researchers and external actors focusing on economic and social sustainability.

Martina Oxling, Project manager
Read more about the Sustainable Future Hub