Halla Tomasdottir, co-founder of Audur Capital financial services, has been instrumental in rebuilding Iceland’s economy since its collapse in 2008. Her passion is releasing the incredible economic potential of women’s ways of doing business.
Halla Tomasdottir believes that women’s values are key to solving Iceland’s economic crisis. In 2007, Halla and her business partner, Kristin Petursdottir, co-founded Audur Capital to bring greater diversity, social responsibility, and “feminine values” to the ﬁnancial services industry. These values include independence, risk awareness, straight talk, emotional capital, and proﬁt with principles. And Audur’s approach appears to be working. The investment ﬁrm’s innovative offerings—such as the national green-tech investment fund they set up with pop icon and homegirl Björk—may just help save banking in Iceland.
Halla began her career in corporate America, working for heavyweights like M&M/Mars and Pepsi-Cola. Back home, she helped create a foundation and the executive education and women entrepreneurship programs at Reykjavik University. Halla later became managing director of the Iceland’s Chamber of Commerce; she left her post to start Audur. The company is named after an early Viking settler, Audur the Wise, whose moniker signiﬁes wealth, happiness, and clear space.
“Doing emotional due diligence is just as important as doing financial due diligence. It is actually people that make money and lose money, not Excel spreadsheets.”
“I’m fed up with this tyranny of either/or choices in life — ‘either it’s men, or it’s women.’ We need to start embracing the beauty of balance.”
“I’m not here to say that men are to blame for the [financial] crisis and what happened in my country [Iceland]. But I can tell you that in my country, much like on Wall Street and the city of London and elsewhere, men were at the helm of the game of the financial sector. That kind of lack of diversity and sameness leads to disastrous problems.”
“It actually got so bad that somebody put [Iceland] up for sale on eBay. Ninety-nine pence was the starting price, and no reserve.”— on Iceland’s crash