During my Nordic Business Forum experience, I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with event’s host and ask a few questions about her career path and plans for the future. In the following interview Vilma shares her personal story and the role of Nordic Business Forum in it.
– Could you please share how did the whole Nordic Business Forum idea in Jyvaskyla come up? When did you join this initiative?
– I was asked to host this for the first time last year. I was contacted just couple of months before the last year’s event. This is actually the third time here in Jyvaskyla where it is held via livestream, because originally the event started here in Paviljonki.
– In the very same building?
– Yeah in the big halls, in the exhibition areas. In the beginning I think they have been organizing this event here for 5 years and then it became bigger and bigger, so it didn’t fit anymore here. Therefore, the event moved to Helsinki to bigger exhibition halls. Also, it became more reachable for international guests. At the same time it is a shame that they no longer organize NBF in Jyvaskyla, but it is also a great opportunity to participate in the livestream. So I was asked because I actually worked with Paviljonki’s congress managing director before and we actually studied together in TiimiAkatemia in JAMK in the late 90s. So we have a long history back then.
– It seems like everyone is from TiimiAkatemia!
– Okay! Nice to hear. Huge network. We like to say about ourselves as positive forces, it’s not a mafia (laughing) rather positive network.
– What is your personal motivation? What excites you most about the NBF?
– I participated in the actual event live for a few times, last time if I am not mistaken it was here in Jyvaskyla in 2012. I think it is a very good place to network inside Finland and also internationally which is very, very important nowadays. They also make it like “big and bold”, it is a very good example what you can do when you have initial ambition. As entrepreneurs, those two young guys who actually founded the company and the event, they have done very good job. And I think there is a lot of inspiration that they are spreading around, also with a great bold movements with people like Al Gore in the beginning who came to talk and so on. I think they are showing us very good example as entrepreneurs and future managers, leaders of the world. I really believe, it is a good example of initial entrepreneurial ambition.
– So is it like entrepreneurial spirit, networking ability what attracts you most?
– I think yes, entrepreneurial spirit is one of them and also the “can do” attitude; you can reach almost impossible goals if you put yourself behind it.
– As a host, what do you think about our audience tonight?
– Yeah, getting warmer and warmer. Of course it is not the same thing as in the live event, but the goal is the same. There is still a lot of potential here, they can do it even more and more engaging and there could be more guidance in the networking, but I don’t see that people really need much help here. They know what they came for and I really appreciate it. I think, the atmosphere is very good.
– So far, it seems that there is a strong synergy between Helsinki and here. They are all at once working on together.
– Right. And I believe, it’s getting better and better. Tomorrow will be better for sure. I remember as of last year it was more relaxed and so on.
– What advice would you give to people networking during the event? How would you suggest approaching people?
– I would suggest preparing beforehand, of course.
– Aha, yes. You know, there is a lot of things needed to be prepared: business cards, maybe installing the Brella application. I think it can find more usage potential here, in the livestream events, but it is not yet well promoted. I mean the idea, the opportunity. So, a lot of things could be done better maybe next year, but still there are a lot of very good discussion going on and I just think that being mentally / physically prepared for the networking is all you need (smiling).
– Do you personally know people around here?
– Not all of them, but some yes.
– Are you looking forward yourself to finding some contacts here today?
– Yeah, actually I already agreed on one lunch meeting later on. It is a good old friend, but also we are kind of promoting each other business-wise to couple of people here and that is something already on my list. Very good opportunities to “hook up”, so to say.
– If I am not mistaken, you are also running your own business too. Could you please tell a little bit more about it? Is it related to Business Design?
– It is Learning Design. It is a different thinking approach. If you consider service design, design thinking, we want to apply them to designing learning processes, coaching processes and so on. We want to bring a new kind of tools and methods to organizational learning.
– Did this idea came up from TiimiAkatemia? Since those times or did you develop it on your own?
– There is definitely some basic influence from those times and I also got my learning perspective during that period, in the early 90s, when I studied there.
– It is very nice to hear that you have carried out experience through many years.
– It was really important to me. Actually, I wouldn’t stand here as entrepreneur without TiimiAkatemia. Part of my life, part of my business life definitely. For sure, it is a 25 year old innovation: pedagogical and social innovation.
– It seems like I feel more than certain to join TiimiAkatemia this year (winking).
– Yeah, you should. And you should know that while staying here, in Finland, it is a good opportunity to go and seek some learning there with those people and do some projects together. I definitely recommend. There are some of them attending the event today.
– I have met Juha Ruuska today from this organization.
– Yeah, Juha is one of their coaches and there are actually three people coaching leadership programme standing over there, participants of that learning coaching process.
– May I ask you a small personal question?
– Yes, there you go.
– Does this hosting experience feel familiar to your mentoring, coaching experience? Do you feel it is the same kind of audience compared to the ones you have been previously working with or is it completely different?
– Same and different, because it is all about learning. The experience does not happen without learning and you need an appropriate learning opportunity to make that happen. I would say, the more you get out of it, the more you put effort in it. It is a process, being open to new ideas and discussing the new ideas without being judged is something I do in the coaching programmes, so it does not differ that much, but of course the majority of the program is coming through livestream. So the participants and live presenters here are different. However, there are similarities of course: exchanging ideas, conversations in between is a very good start.
– Thank you very much for sharing! To keep up the NBF spirit, would you mind exchanging our contact details?
– Of course we can. Here is my business card.
– Vilma, thank you for the interview. I wish you a wonderful Nordic Business Forum experience!