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Paula Wennberg is retiring

Published: 15 December 2020

In the beginning of 2021, Paula Wennberg will retire from CDT. We interview her about her 20-year working life at CDT.

Paula, when did you start at CDT?
I started at CDT 20 years ago and most recently came from a small IT company in Luleå where I coordinated an EU RP4 project with seven parties from Sweden and Germany. One of the parties was CDT. During that time, I made my first contacts with the EU project world and the Commission in Brussels. 

Describe what your different roles have been at CDT.
Then, 20 years ago, LTU participated in three EU framework program projects, two of which were at CDT, but the university lacked operational support for major European collaborative projects. My task was to, together with my CDT colleagues, among other things, develop financial administrative processes and routines for CDT so that we could effectively carry out the task as a coordinator or a participating party. The finance administration at CDT was a project in itself and we collaborated with a group of 15 economists at most, the group's participants came from LTU's various departments and external partner organizations. I invited the group to regular meetings when new EU framework programs and Structural Funds programs were planned and introduced, new project partnerships were started or new regulations were to be interpreted and implemented and understood when it was time for reporting.

How did you get into the work with gender equality from having mainly worked with financial issues?
Increased gender equality is good in many areas and can easily also be seen as an economic issue, not least because our gender equality work has generated new funding opportunities for CDT and parties. If I go back, Telia, as a party, chairman and co-founder of CDT, was from the beginning a driving force in the issue of involving users in the development of services and systems. Test site Botnia with pilot operations was started and CDT founded in Luleå Sweden's first Living Labs. This led to long discussions about how to motivate both women and men, young and old, to participate in our innovation work in their spare time and how we can break patterns in a strongly male-dominated IT industry. So, at CDT's strategy meeting in 2006, we included gender equality and diversity in our strategy plan and eventually we went from word to deed.

What has been most rewarding in your work?
The most fun and rewarding thing is to work with my CDT colleagues from different areas of expertise in an innovative environment. We strive for both women and men to have the opportunity to influence future IT development and in the long run we contribute to both women and men wanting to live and work in the northern regions of Sweden.

Tell us about some major events in your and CDT's history.
The most meaningful thing has been to work with many creative and competent colleagues who have seen the value and benefit of gender equality. And the most important prerequisite for the creation of the Gender Contact Point platform was when I came in contact with LTU's gender researchers and later had the opportunity to work with Ewa Gunnarsson, who introduced me to participatory methods and Nordic interactive research. Since then, there have been many projects, many collaborations and many assignments in various steering and management groups in Sweden and Europe.

You always say that gender equality should not be a side project. What do you mean by that? 
CDT's task is to create benefits and innovations together with and for our parties and society. In short, integration means that project managers ensure the quality of our daily operations, projects and processes from a gender equality perspective, which increases the relevance of products, services and different solutions, creates sustainable business, creates gender equality. We increase our own knowledge and we contribute to deepening the research conclusions and we contribute to the development of new knowledge. When it comes to other people's activities and organizations, my advice is that everyone, regardless of role and task, works with the issue, not waiting for someone else to do it.

What are you going to do when you retire?
I think I will continue as usual, I have not postponed things because of the work. However, I get more time to devote to family, friends, exercise, hobbies and instead of traveling for work, I can travel more in my spare time.

Those who have been in contact with you, who do they turn to now?
Contact Gender Contact Point, there is contact information on the platform's website. We are creating an alliance between Work Science, CDT and Design that further strengthens our long collaboration internally at LTU. It will be a starting point for more alliance parties and continued development of the business at Gender Contact Point. It's really fun to work at the forefront, which is confirmed daily through all the attention Gender Contact Point receives both nationally and internationally.

Thank you very much for your time with us Paula. We really appreciate all that you have taught us and done during all these years. Your dedication, knowledge, and experience will be missed. We hope to continue to keep in touch and perhaps get help in the future within your areas of expertise. Wishing you all the best in your next phase of your life and the longest most joyous retirement possible!