Interview: Our EVP EMEA on AIMS International’s sustainable, client-oriented growth
Titti Hammarling was elected executive vice-president of the AIMS International EMEA region at our annual AGM in June and serves on the global executive board too. We were curious about her views on AIMS International’s strategic direction, differentiators, and client benefits, so we caught up with her to ask her six questions.
How have these last months been for you?
Good, intense, and rewarding, thank you! I am very thankful for the trust the partners have shown me. It gives me the chance to strongly influence future development in AIMS International and, of course, especially in the EMEA region. The new board has had a promising start, and the strategic development work has progressed very well in a short time.
What is your focus right now in the role of EVP EMEA?
The starting point and main focus of all our work at AIMS International are meeting clients’ needs and determining how to best improve our offerings to them. Therefore, my main focus is to enable top quality partnerships for clients – from one-off country to country assignments to those engagements covered by global preferred supplier agreements.
Clients strive to find and grow successful and sustainable leaders. We support them in that journey through our Executive Search, Board Services, and Talent Management services – the areas where we are globally active.
We serve scores of companies and other organisations headquartered in EMEA, as well as globally of course, and everything we can do to strengthen their development through our services, collaboration, and way of working is my top priority. This work demands a clear vision of where AIMS International is heading at the global, regional, and partner-country levels. I will do my very best to contribute to sustainable and client-oriented growth.
Another big focus for me is on enabling closer internal collaboration within AIMS International, between our country-partners, the global executive board of which I am a member, and the EMEA board, which I lead. It is so important for AIMS International and, ultimately, for our clients and candidates that we work well together and enjoy each other’s company.
How would you describe the current situation at AIMS International?
AIMS International, of course, shares the same concerns as our clients and the rest of the world regarding geopolitical conflicts, inflation, energy price volatility, and post-pandemic economic development. That said, I consider our situation as a global organisation with over 30 years of experience in our industry to be very good. We continue to grow. We are now officially operating in 72 countries around the world, with a physical presence in 54 and another 18 covered by neighbouring countries. We have many long-term and strategic client collaborations and can help wherever clients are located in the world.
But we are not complacent. We continue with a comprehensive strategic review of everything we do to ensure that we remain leaders in our field.
What do you think differentiates AIMS International from other global providers in our industry?
Our clients often tell us that we give something extra. I think that’s partly because of our structure: we are tightly integrated at a global level, but the country’s regional knowledge and relationships that exist at the partner level – almost all long-established local businesses – set us apart. Clients benefit from world-class key account management in addition to strong know-how and delivery from partners embedded in their home markets. We are business driven but also work hard on operational excellence, teamwork, and cooperation.
What, in your opinion, are critical characteristics for leaders today to be successful?
Different businesses require different kinds of leaders. But, looking at leadership in general terms, there are some critical skills. Leaders should have good self-awareness on the one hand and a solid understanding of people on the other. Communication is crucial, and not only eloquence or articulateness. Good leaders are adept at building sustainable and agile teams. The key is to be able to bring people on board, foster understanding, promote a sense of inclusion, and achieve results.
Strong business acumen is a must. We need leaders who have a well-developed capacity to work strategically, with a long-term vision, but are also results-oriented decision makers in the shorter term. In today’s unsettled world, patience and steady nerves also help!
Lastly, there is an EMEA meeting in Cyprus very soon. What are your thoughts ahead of that event?
I look forward to it very much. I hope that as many of our colleagues as possible will join us there. It will, of course, be a hybrid meeting, but coming together face to face is of such great value for everyone that we give the IRL experience high priority.
The agenda covers strategy and business development paired with interactive workshops. We will also hold a client event and guest speakers, who will share their perspectives on topics relevant to the audience.
I would like to mention and thank our president Dimitris Kleftakis, my colleagues on the EMEA board (Šarūnas Dyburis, Zeinab Noureldin, Dan Mihnea Badiu), Elena Leonidou in Cyprus, and our support team for developing the programme with me and welcome all EMEA colleagues to the meeting!