Exeleon Magazine

Sasha Lund: Legacy Building and Beyond

Sasha Lund Core Values Consulting Exeleon

Embarking on a journey driven by a profound dedication to legacy building, Sasha Lund has emerged as a prominent figure in the realm of family business and business family advice. With a passion that stems from both her family heritage and future ambitions, Sasha, recognized as an award-winning, Forbes-featured international business leader, keynote speaker, and serial entrepreneur, has charted her own path with the establishment of Core Values Consulting.

Through this venture, Sasha offers unparalleled expertise, guiding multi-generational High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) families in navigating crucial aspects such as succession planning, family governance, and the preservation of their family legacies.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the unparalleled insights and experiences of Sasha Lund, uncovering the guiding principles behind her success and her unwavering commitment to securing healthy generational continuity and longevity for her clients.

What according to you makes one a visionary leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

I have often observed leadership going sideways. The vision has been there, but the execution has been poor to non-existent. Results are often devastating, starting with employees leaving or being made to leave.

Having a vision is far from enough when running a team, a company or any type of organization. It is – of course – the first step. Keep your eyes on the prize, so to speak. However, for a visionary leader to do what she needs to do successfully, namely to lead, I believe the secret sauce is a combination of grit, collaboration and most importantly – creating a healthy company culture.

Peter Drucker said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. I couldn’t agree more. For a vision to be executed successfully, a leader needs to take on the role of a ship captain, meaning that the entire fleet needs to know what the destination is, where there are heading, and that the weather will be unpredictable at times. However, everyone has a role to play for the ship to reach its destination safely and successfully. Hence, engaging employees, understanding their strengths and play to them, as well as treat them as human beings, that is really what visionary leadership is about.

For me people always come first. It does not mean that there are no challenges or that everybody is happy 24/7. However, if you create a trusted environment in which people feel that they are heard and respected, they are much more willing to face challenges together with you and will often go the extra mile that is required, knowing that it is both appreciated and won’t go unnoticed.

Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader / entrepreneur that you can remember?

Growing up for me was quite different from my peers. I am half Swedish, half Russian and through life circumstances ended up living in Berlin, Germany from the age of 11, where I often had stretches of a few weeks without adult supervision. This led to me taking on a leadership role very early on – leading myself to adulthood. I have always been incredibly creative, which I believe is a core trait of any entrepreneur.

As such, before I turned 12, I wrote a critique of a movie that was being shown at the International Film Festival Berlinale and sent it to them, resulting me being invited as a jury member for the children’s section of the second biggest film festival the following year. From then onwards, I became part of the film festival, while being in school, doing homework, taking on leading parts in theatre productions and playing violin – all in a language I barely spoke. Although that was challenging, this challenge is what helped me grow a curiosity mindset – about languages, cultures and people. It also helped me realize that hard work does pay off – eventually. And yes, you will fail. A gazillion times. But that is ok.

Also Read: Ken Collis: Building a Lasting Legacy

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the legacy building space?

Having been raised in a very multi-cultural family with strong roots in the film and entertainment community, I was always around people who “were building something”. Legacy is an interesting word – for me it has both positive and negative connotations. I have worked with people who build empires for pure profit. They do not build a legacy with the mindset and thought of leaving anything behind for their families necessarily, but rather to be remembered for their greatness – even if it costs them their relationships.

Having said that, there are also beautiful stories: global families that I work with who have indeed built empires, made their wealth but want to leave behind something that will help make the world a better place. As cliché as that sounds, I believe that is what the world needs more of – especially in the current post-pandemic climate. Money makes the world go round so let us help legacy families build healthy empires. I love when I hear stories of family businesses where, say, the family’s lawyer has been with the family for years and then the lawyer’s son joins. Two legacies working side by side and hand in hand. Isn’t that beautiful?

Sasha Lund Exeleon magazine

Talk to us about Core Values Consulting. What is the approach / process followed by you to ensure optimal client satisfaction?

First of all, I do not refer to people I work with as my clients. In my line of work, it is incredibly important to understand each person’s needs and wants. Being able to then integrate those into the family’s overall vision and mission as well as the business goals is what makes it both challenging but also incredibly stimulating and interesting. The company is called Core Values for a reason – I am a firm believer that if you don’t stay true to your own core values, you will not succeed at anything in life – professionally or personally.

Our aim is to guide multi-generational family businesses, as well as HNWIs from the sports and entertainment world on their path to securing healthy generational continuity and longevity. What does that mean? Building a business or accumulating wealth is hard enough and requires a vision, grit and team of trusted companions. However, growing this and then enabling the next generation to take over successfully, is a different animal entirely. Especially when family members are involved.

For me my ultimate goal is always client satisfaction. But how do you measure and achieve that when working with several members from the same family? For me it boils down to one word: trust.

Building trust is a lengthy process, but one that is necessary. Because only once trust is established, can you really get down to the root of many problems that are often masked by other – quite irrelevant – factors. And in the end of the day, we all want to heal the world rather than just putting a little band aid on it. Or – even better: stop the wound from forming entirely.

Being an award-winning business leader, keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist, how do you ensure work-life balance?

This one is interesting…

Being an entrepreneur means that my mind is constantly spinning. If I am not with one of the families I serve, giving a speech or recording a podcast, my mind is occupied with writing down new ideas, improvements of existing processes or simply jotting down thoughts. I am a firm believer in disconnecting, especially from tech devices, such as laptops, phones and tablets. Having said that, I very much dislike the term work-life balance.

Being in the fortunate position of having my own company of course comes with plenty of benefits, such as deciding when I go on vacation, taking a sick day or sleeping in sometimes. However, I love the work I do and as such my mind is constantly percolating, mostly with excitement. And because work is such an integral part to my life, I do not like separating the two.

Having said that, it is vital to take proper breaks and I think especially when you work in a fast-passed environment and have a stimulating and demanding job, it usually takes a while until you are actually able to disconnect. Hence, I tend to encourage people to take two weeks off at once. For me, usually the first week is needed to slow down and only then am I able to really “let go”. How do I know? My body tells me. It often takes a week until I realize how tense I have been.

My advice to people would be to listen more to their bodies. Doing mindfulness exercises on a daily or even weekly basis, coupled with physical exercise and even simply a coffee with a friend can help you center yourself and relax.

As a global leader, what would be your advice for women entrepreneurs trying to spread their wings at a global scale?

At the risk of saying something unpopular, I have often observed that one of the biggest barriers for women is other women. We at times create unnecessary competition, rather than supporting each other. Surrounding yourself with a few champions, who will have your back, help you grow, give you advice and be your biggest fan is of course easier said than done, but it really does work.

When I started out, I unfortunately had a boss who was holding me back. She even was bold enough to tell me that she feels threatened by me. So, I left. And that was not an easy decision. However, along the way I found my mentor, whom I love to bits and who has been a huge supporter and a fantastic advisor (thank you, Gregg!): both on personal and professional matters. Now, he is a man, and it is always great to have the support of any human, regardless of their sex.

Having said that, when I was fortunate enough to meet my first couple of female role models, who started guiding me and also offering me opportunities, I realized how I somehow felt a power from within me that I did not know I had. Having women supporting other women is truly magical and invaluable.

What does the future look like for Core Values Consulting? What are you most excited about?

I love challenging myself by working with families with diverse sets of difficulties as well as different cultural backgrounds. It excites me to help individuals and businesses while also learning about their culture – be it their family culture or the culture of the country they are in.

As for what’s next, I am working on a project with a woman I consider brilliant on something that might be “the next big thing” for women across the globe. But you’ll have to wait to learn more about it…

Important Links:

Read Digital Version.

Visit Core Values Consulting Website.

Contact Sasha Lund on LinkedIn.

View Web Version of the Magazine.

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