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The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) is the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs (presidents, CEOs, managing directors) of privately held multimillion-dollar companies. The WPO's mission is to accelerate business growth, enhance competitiveness, and promote economic security through confidential and collaborative peer-learning groups.

Who
More than 1,900 accomplished women entrepreneurs at the multimillion-dollar level who aim to increase their business success.
Membership Requirements
$2 million in gross annual sales for a product-based business or $1 million for a service-based business, ownership interest in the business at some level, and senior management responsibilities for attorneys and accountants.
Membership Demographics
‌RevenueYears in BusinessNumber of EmployeesAverage$13 million2498
Aggregate$22 billion39,000168,000
 
What
In chapters composed of approximately 20 accomplished women entrepreneurs, WPO members address business concerns in a roundtable format and function as an informal board of directors for their businesses. There are currently 130 chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, the Middle East and North Africa, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The chapters are moderated by professionally trained facilitators, all of whom own their own businesses. Each chapter serves as a peer advisory group based on the four Cs of the WPO: Collaboration, Confidentiality, Commitment, and Connections. WPO members address financial concerns, organizational development, hiring and firing, and other issues defined by chapter members. The WPO is a nonprofit IRC Sec. 501 (c)(6) organization.
Platinum groups are available for entrepreneurs who gross over $10 million annually. Average revenues are $44 million.
Zenith groups are available for entrepreneurs with gross revenue over $50 million annually; average revenues are $159 million.
Cost of membership: $1,800 or $4,500 for Platinum members or $5,000 for Zenith members.

Why
Through the WPO, members learn to grow their businesses to the next level. Frequently, before joining the organization, these accomplished women business leaders feel as though it is lonely at the top. At the WPO, accomplished women entrepreneurs find support, empowerment, inspiration, and the precious ability to tap into the wisdom of their peers.

 

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How come you have this position? Your way to get there?
I grew up in an academic rather than entrepreneurial family. Not really knowing what to pursue, I followed a friend´s advice and went to the Royal Institute of Technology for a Master in Surveying/Real Estate Economics. Graduating in a challenging environment in 1991 I started working as an analyst for the First, Second and Third National Swedish Pension Funds as they were setting up the Real Estate Investment team. After seven years in a fantastic, analytical environment I joined Drott, a real estate company out of Skanska, as it was being listed. Goal oriented leadership was key. In 2002 I was asked to join a real estate advisory/investment bank team – a group of people I still work with. As an advisor I had to go outside my comfort zone every day, always having to add value or you have no role. Around 2012 I started to think about taking a different route – and took on a new role on the investment side of our business.

The last four years I have focused on bringing institutional capital to real estate debt and real estate lending. We have started the first real estate senior debt fund in the Nordics, held final close in March 2015 and it is now almost fully invested. Fund number two is being set up as we speak and we are developing additional debt strategies.

For me, as a former basketballplayer, the team and the coach are key and I have always been careful with both. I have not been afraid to express what I want to do. In each workplace I´ve been I have circled what I would like to do and said so. I believe my curiosity in combination with a genuine interest in people has helped me. I am persistent (fit into ‘Gritty’) and strive for constant improvement.

Biggest Success?
What is success? I love my family, my friends, have great people to work with and feel exceptionally fortunate. Success at work is each time we build trust, deliver for our clients and are able to grow our business further as a result of that.

Decision you regret?
I don´t really think like that – it is not worth the energy! I have sometimes reflected/wondered what my life would have looked like if I had gone to NY to investigate the REIT market, if I had gotten a job as an equity analyst or if we had moved to Germany for my husband´s work. I am happy where I am, life is full of coincidence and I am grateful that I have been blessed with decent judgement to walk away from situations I am not happy with. Maybe I should do more things I might regret…..

Biggest Challenge?
Generally, my biggest challenge is me – to maintain energy and be kind to myself. The undoubtedly toughest experience of my life was to lose my brother and my father within less than two years. Workwise – as a consequence of the financial crisis (after Lehman), we reduced the workforce by close to 40 percent. It was the right thing to do given the situation– but a very hard message to deliver to people you really like and have worked together with for a long time.

Experience to share with other entrepreneurs?
Allow things to take time, there are no shortcuts, surround yourself only with people who add to your energy, trust your instinct.

Facts About Louise Richnau
Position: CEO Brunswick Real Estate Capital, Founding Partner Brunswick Real Estate
Company: Brunswick Real Estate Capital
Founded: 1992
Number of employees: Around 80 within the group
Successes: Group first rank ratings in Real Estate Investment Banking, Investment Management and now the first real estate debt fund in the Nordics.

Member of Women Presidents´Organization

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