As the fourth generation heir to B.Grimm, one of Thailand’s oldest business institutions, Caroline Link is an empowering woman who wears many hats.
For businesses all over Thailand, and around the world, 2020 has been a make or break year. For B.Grimm, the economic and health crises that unfolded only reaffirmed that the company is on the right path. Of course, Caroline Link, a Thai national of German descent and the daughter of B.Grimm’s Chairman Harald Link, does not mention this right away.
“The Covid situation is terrible,” she starts off by saying, acknowledging the current state of global affairs. “I think like everyone else, we are truly sorry that this is happening, and what it means for families and businesses that are losing everything they know and love. For B.Grimm, this year has made us better at what we do, and confirmed that we’re in the right business and doing the right things. Our strategy has always been to look at the long-term, and we are so grateful we have stuck to this. Even with 60 billion Baht in revenue this year, in 2028 we’re aiming for 150 billion.
“For me, it has been great, because I work with such fantastic people and I see my role as a privilege,” she adds. One of the many hats she wears apart from being a director of B.Grimm Power is President of B.Grimm Joint Venture Holding Ltd, covering B.Grimm’s industry, healthcare and maritime businesses. This gives Caroline the opportunity to grow B.Grimm’s people culture, which is based on doing business with compassion within the various B.Grimm organisations. It’s a work environment that has attracted many to join B.Grimm, which comes as no surprise when one learns about what Caroline has been doing with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Center in Thailand.
“This idea of GNH is just as important, if not far more important, than Gross National Product. People power this world and when we make them aware of how to be mindful of their happiness, this is not only life- changing, but society changing. We at B.Grimm were so moved by this truth that originated in Bhutan. We partnered with GNH Center Thailand and Mahidol University to create our own GNH index that we are now integrating into B.Grimm.”
Creating this kind of environment for people is truly one of Caroline’s passions, and she is part of the “Link” in the chain that holds the values of the B.Grimm organisation together. The very foundation of the company since its inception has always been about giving back something that is beneficial to society’s advancement. In 1878 it was medicine that had never before existed in Thailand, then it became the 1,500 km Rangsit canals, Thailand’s largest infrastructure project of the time. Later, it was the country’s first ever telegram concession which connected Thailand with the world. Today, the company gives back by creating energy – of which 30 percent is renewable – heading up Southeast Asia’s largest solar project, and doing so in “harmony with nature”.
B.Grimm also shares its compassion and energy through social engagement. From the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra programmes it never wanes in supporting – because art and music are important – to the breast cancer care and equestrian federation with the B.Grimm logo happily associated with them, it’s obvious that social engagement is a core component of the conglomerate. Recently, the Links engaged in a Link family workshop, and Caroline admits it was heart-warming for the family members to learn that even with their different skillsets and interests, they all held one value in common, the value of “contribution”. “We all share this one belief.” Caroline smiles.
Contribution became a very pressing issue when the pandemic broke, and B.Grimm donated supplies, equipment and medicines to hospitals and businesses in desperate need. When the fatal African Horse Sickness (AHS) struck Thailand, B.Grimm was at the forefront to step in to provide useful facts about the disease and donate money and protective nets for the safety of unaffected horses as the family is known to have a deep love for them. It wasn’t just something they saw as a moral obligation, it was something so close to their heart; similar to every social engagement project B.Grimm launches.
One also can’t overlook B.Grimm shining the light on tigers in Thailand through its work with WWF and CNN. The topic of these endangered big cats captured the world’s attention when the Tiger King documentary hit Netflix earlier this year, raising the alarm as to why tiger populations in this day and age are only surviving by being raised in captivity under appalling conditions. But Thailand has one of the highest number of wild tigers living in forests in the entire world, and that is something the country should be proud of and do everything to maintain.
Perhaps what’s most important for Caroline is the future of education, and nothing could have changed more in 2020, with schools and universities moving completely online. “It’s important that we prepare children and adults for the future,” she remarks. “Things are changing so rapidly every day. It’s difficult for everyone to realise that what they are studying today needs to be relevant tomorrow and adjusted through lifelong learning. But it is B.Grimm’s job to at least let society know what is important and relevant today: infrastructure, energy, technology – the things that power our own business!”
Caroline’s involvement in Little Scientist House and her work with the Chitralada Vocational School continue today. More recently, B.Grimm has introduced and invested in the Harbour.Space University Thailand – a university, dubbed as the Stanford of Europe, that was founded in Barcelona – educating students to become competent internet entrpreneurs taught by the best industry experts from all over the world at their premises of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, at a low fee with available sponsorships.
For Caroline the individual, and B.Grimm the organisation, it’s all about doing business with compassion, for the development of civilisation, in harmony with nature.
To find out more about Caroline Link, visit her profile here.