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Helene von Reis

President & CEO, Management
Ikea Japan K.K.

Date of birth: June 21, 1969

Hometown: Malmo, Sweden

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 1 (as of October 2017)

Helene von Reis
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

The moment I landed at Narita Airport and realized from the organized, efficient and friendly immigration services that this is a country that values quality and customer experience very highly.
The wonderful food experiences I had anywhere I went is also an early memory that I will forever cherish. The attention to detail and care for the freshness and experience is truly fantastic.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

It’s all about inspiration. Not that I, as the leader, have to come up with all the ideas but my job is to inspire the team to be great. I see it the same way privately. Life is a journey of learning and experiences, and my attitude will determine what I see and think. I think we all, to a large degree, decide with which lens we choose to experience and see life.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

To see co-workers I have worked with grow and take on new jobs and challenges and succeed makes me very happy and proud. Also seeing how Ikea products actually make life at home for many people more functional and beautiful makes me very happy. It doesn’t matter in which part of the world you are or how big your home is, it’s a good feeling to be at home.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My goal in life is to try to do my part to make the world a better place. We know that it is only by empowering men to support, include and treat women as equals that we will create a better world for all. Equality is a human right and I am happy to work for a company that truly believes this is also the best way to attain success in business.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Embrace all the differences and share the many perspectives with your friends and family at home. Building bridges between cultures and people abolishes fear and makes us all come together.
I also think a good tip is to try to understand a bit about which values Japanese society is built around. It makes it easier as a foreigner to understand behaviors and create dialogue. 

Last updated: Oct 2, 2018