Sofie Wiklund and Stefan Furenbäck, one of the mentor pairs of Brillaint Mentors of the Future.


Sofie and Stefan are one of the mentor pairs for the 2024 Brilliant Mentors of the Future program. So far, they’ve delved into two key topics: understanding women’s expectations in the tech market and the rapid acceleration of digitalization and AI.

The program contributes to a broader level as it flips to the classic power perspective, and lets new ideas stream into businesses from the younger generation. The mentorship program is a part of widening the perspective of business life for both students and professionals and is a project led by Linköping municipality and Linköping Science Park.

“Sure, the more traditional way of doing a mentorship program is the other way around which is my experience of it. That’s why I was so interested in the Brilliant Mentors of the Future program because the roles are reversed. I wanted to participate last year already, so I’m glad I could join this year!” says Stefan Furenbäck, SW Line Manager at Actia.

His mentor is Sofie Wiklund, who is doing her third year at the Masters of Science in Information Technology at Linköping University. It’s her first time participating in a mentorship program and saw this as an opportunity to connect and learn more about the businesses in Linköping.

“During the first years of your student life, you tend not to know so much about business opportunities in Linköping, although Mjärdevi – home to many companies – is just on the other side of the road. This program has widened my eyes on Linköping’s business world,” Sofie explains.

Increasing female representation in tech

The pairing was based on their shared interests in digitalization, AI, and strategies for increasing female representation in the tech industry. They’ve already held two meetings, both dedicated to discussing the gender imbalance in tech.

“I wanted to learn more about what women expect in the industry and explore how our company can better attract them to IT. We want to learn how we can actively contribute to improve the situation,” Stefan says.

“No girl expects to come to a workplace that is female-dominated in the tech industry, but it shouldn’t make any difference in how you are being treated. The gender equality development has come far, but there’s still a lot of work to do, and it feels important that we are discussing that matter and that I can share and contribute with my point of view,” Sofie adds.

A meeting with the Human Resources Department has been held to discuss their findings. Planned improvements on how to increase diversity in recruiting processes and how to foster a more attractive workplace are in the pipeline.  

Learning more about digitalization and AI

The next focus will be on digitalization and AI. Stefan says he’s interested in what professional roles will be most attractive and influential in the future and what skills will be the most valuable. 

“I’m curious to learn more about how digitalization and AI could be used to streamline recruitment processes but also what pitfalls to avoid when it comes to ethics and bias in AI,” he says.

Stefan and Sofie are eager to explore the potential for workshops or additional discussions stemming from their initial meetings

This marks only the beginning for many mentor pairs in 2024, with the coming months promising a series of engaging meetings and knowledge exchange.