January 24, 2024

Anna Gullstrand

From VP of people to acting CEO

Listen now on

Summary of #TalentBuzz Episode with Anna Gullstrand from Mentimeter

IntroductionHost Samuli Salonen welcomes Anna Gullstrand from Mentimeter to #TalentBuzz. They discuss Anna's unique experience of stepping into the CEO role for five months during the parental leave of Mentimeter's founders.

Background to Anna’s Interim CEO Role

  • Anna joined Mentimeter three years ago as the Senior Vice President of People.
  • Given her previous CEO experience, she was chosen to be the interim CEO during a founder's parental leave.

Transitioning to CEO

  • Both co-founders were on leave, providing Anna with complete operational control.
  • Anna focused on customer success and cross-functional collaboration, aiming to enhance customer-centricity and break down silos within the company.
  • Emphasized the need for CEO to be a generalist, interested in all business aspects, and a people person who is committed to building a performance-driven culture.

Challenges and Successes as CEO

  • Successfully heightened focus on customer success and improved cross-functional collaboration.
  • Improved her understanding of business operations and the connection between company culture and business impact.
  • Faced challenges in managing workload and responsibilities, highlighting the risk of being overly busy in leadership roles.

Returning to VP of People Role

  • Developed closer relationships with department heads and gained a deeper understanding of the business.
  • Now focuses more on performance within the people and culture function, aligning it closely with business objectives.
  • Recognizes the importance of owning one’s role and responsibilities, learning from mistakes, and being open and proactive in addressing them.

Key Learnings and Tips

  • Emphasizes the value of being a generalist as a CEO, focusing on various aspects of the business.
  • Importance of taking care of oneself and managing workload effectively to maintain strategic focus.
  • For professionals in talent acquisition and people roles, owning your role, learning from failures, and aligning closely with business goals are crucial for success.

ConclusionAnna's experience as an interim CEO provided valuable insights into leadership and the intersection of people management and business strategy. Her journey underscores the importance of adaptability, understanding the broader business context, and the pivotal role of effective leadership in driving organizational success.

Listen now on

You might also like


How to Measure Your Talent Acquisition Function?
Read blog


7 Metrics to Measure if Your Talent Acquisition Strategy Works
Read blog


5 Talent Acquisition Strategies for Fast Growing Companies
Read blog


How to Make Talent Acquisition Scalable?
Read blog