"As a leader I believe in fair play, transparent and inclusive leadership."

Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström

The Secretary-General of the Swedish Cancer Socitey Ulrika Årehed Kågström has successfully led the organisation since 2016. It is now the largest fundraising organisation in Sweden.

A note from the Secretary-General

With huge economic challenges and a rapid changes, we risk a backlash in the fight against cancer across the globe.

These are worrying times for many. But with rapid changes also comes new opportunities. This is the time for joint action in the global fight against cancer.

As Secretary-General of the Swedish Cancer Society, I have advanced our fundraising and advocacy efforts while at the same time managing the internal and external effects of covid-19. 

I am proud to say that after two years of a pandemic that has hit the charity sector hard, the Swedish Cancer Society can report a record high result placing us as the number 1 fundraising organization in the country.

As a leader in the global fight against cancer, I see the need to lead the fight against the inequities that characterizes cancer care, healthy habits, cancer prevention, as well as access to early detection, treatment and rehabilitation.

Together we can beat cancer, I hope you will join me in the fight.

/Ulrika Årehed Kågström

A successful organisation

During Ulrika Årehed Kågströms time as Secretary-General, the revenue has increased with almost 40 per cent. 

Leadership experience

Ulrika Årehed Kågström, apart from being the Secretary-General of the Swedish Cancer Society, is also an active leader in the Nordic Cancer Union and board member of the International Union For Cancer Control (UICC).

With a broad commitment within the UICC, Ulrika Årehed Kågström is Treasury as well as an initiator and active member of various UICC Task Forces and Committees. Prior to joining the Swedish Cancer Society, Ulrika was the Secretary-General at the Swedish Red Cross.

My background is in finance, crisis management and leading large and complex organisations in times of change. I’m known to be a team player who listens and greatly values transparency.

Career highlights

 

External Board Appointments

  • 2022- Swedish Arts Council (chairman, appointed by Government)
  • 2022- Swedish Food Agency (appointed by Government)
  • 2018- Union for International Cancer Control, UICC (Treasurer since 2020, chairman & member of the Knowledge, Advocacy and Policy Committee, chairman & member of the Finance Committee, member of the Strategy Review task force, member of the ATOM coalition task force, member of the Governance committee, member of the task force on AMR, member of the Advisory board of the Solidarity Fund for Ukraine and member of the Congress and Summit Committee)
  • 2018- The Foundation for the Young Academy of Sweden
  • 2016- Nordic Cancer Union - NCU
  • 2016-2022 The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Chairman 2017-2022, appointed by Government)
  • 2015-2019 Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (appointed by Government)
  • 2011-2015 Commission for the Financing of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC (Chairman)
  • 2010-2012 The Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development (appointed by Government)
  • 2005-2014 Magtoys Inc
  • 2005-2013 National Museum of Science and Technology (appointed by Government)

Management

  • 2016- Secretary General, Swedish Cancer Society/Cancerfonden
  • 2010-2016 Secretary General, Swedish Red Cross
  • 2006-2010 Deputy Secretary-General, Swedish Red Cross
  • 2003-2006 Acting and Deputy CEO, Sweden's National Theatre

 

More on LinkedIn

Three important questions

Ulrika Årehed KågströmWhat are your main objectives as a leader in the global fight against cancer?

The pandemic has widened and highlighted the inequities between and within countries. We know that early detection is crucial in curing cancer, but screening programs is far from a reality in all countries and where they are implemented, people with lower income are less likely to participate.

I see the need to inspire donors and decision-makers to facilitate the leap in the fight against cancer that is within our reach. With the technology and knowledge of today, the vision of defeating cancer does not have to be merely a dream.

With the technology and knowledge of today, the vision of defeating cancer does not have to be merely a dream. 

It should be a serious world-wide commitment. I see the need for the UICC to lead the fight against the inequities that characterizes cancer care, healthy habits, cancer prevention, as well as access to early detection, treatment and rehabilitation.

What are your reflections on the impressive growth in revenue during your time as Secretary General?

My background is in finance, crisis management and leading large and complex organizations in times of change. I’m known to be a team player who listens and greatly values transparency.

I believe that my expertise and experience strongly contributes to this rapid advancement. As Secretary-General of the Swedish Cancer Society, I have advanced our fundraising and advocacy efforts while at the same time managing the internal and external effects of covid-19.

I am proud to say that after two years of a pandemic that has hit the charity sector hard, the Swedish Cancer Society can report a record high result placing us as the number 1 fundraising organization in the country.

Thanks to these extraordinary results we have been able to increase our funding to research, increase our advocacy work and not least scale up our HelpLine for cancer patients and next of kin. 

You are currently Treasurer of the UICC and you have recently worked with the ATOM-initiative and the UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine. Why are these new economic incentives important for you?

I believe in the importance of fair, sustainable and stable access to health care. At its core, this has everything to do with funding. I am neither a physician nor a scientist. I am a hard-working public servant with a passion for creating the necessary conditions for the health care and research communities.

In addition, I am a strong advocate for UICC and the Global Cancer Community to dare to try new initiatives, such as the ATOM-coalition and the UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine.

The Solidarity Fund was a quick response to a plea from a number of UICC members to pool and distribute donations to support projects and programmes that help address the impact of the conflict on Ukrainian cancer patients and their families now and in the immediate future.

ATOM coalition on the other, hand is a long-term initiative to increase access to essential cancer medicines in low- and lower middle income countries. The ATOM coalition partners seek to build a sustainable access over time. 

I believe it is our job as leaders in the global fight against cancer to think of new innovative ways to create the changes we ourselves want to see.

I believe it is our job as leaders in the global fight against cancer to think of new innovative ways to create the changes we ourselves want to see. Our best chance to succeed in beating cancer, is bringing together the Global Cancer Community into forums and processes where we meet as equal stakeholders and members.

In action

As Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström is often part of tough negotiations to drive change. The pandemic has widened the inequities between countries and within, and the economic downturn seen in many countries is adding fuel to the fire. Together with others Ulrika accelerates the work to minimize a backlash in the global fight against cancer.

Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström is a passionate advocate, public speaker and UICC spokeswoman on issues such as cervical cancer, HPV vaccine, cancer screening and cancer prevention. Here Ulrika speaks about cancer and equity.

A number of important choices of focus for the fundraising work has led to that the Swedish Cancer Society is the largest fundraising organisation in the country. The donations are generated from both corporate partnerships, legacies and private individuals. 

A statement from Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström on early detection and inequalities, on World Cancer Day.

Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström is often in close contact with both donors and and those suffereing from cancer to learn about the needs and drive of engagement. 

During the Sweden Innovation Days, Ulrika Årehed Kågström speaks on preventative health and wellbeing, about antibiotic resistance (1:33 min + end discussion).