Last week I had the honour of being invited to give a presentation to more than 70 Åbo Akademi economics students at Hotel Stallbacken in Nagu, together with Mikael Granqvist, the owner of Stallbacken, and Timo Kentonen, an entrepreneur at A’pelago.
In my speech I thanked them all for coming all the way to Nagu for the presentations. I told them that the story of the city in modern times is told everywhere by the dominant culture through an infinite number of films, shows, books… but the story of the countryside in modern times is far from being told, and by coming to our islands to listen to what we have to say, some of this necessary story can be shared.
I spoke about creativity and talent. I told them that every human being is a creative being by default, but that the education we receive from our parents and schools, and the demands of this society, often take that creativity away from us. But we need to realise that we are all talented, that we have not one but many talents, and that by recognising and cultivating them we can offer the best of ourselves to the world and feel that our existence has some meaning.
I told them that if we recognise that every person has many talents, we can embrace diversity. We can open our eyes and be aware of each other’s skills and talents and embrace them instead of devaluing them because we don’t think they are useful or important. We should encourage others to feel, think and act differently and not ridicule them for their differences and try to turn each into the same as the other.
I aslo shared a bit of my entrepreneurial story at Ubuntu Productions. I told them that it seemed crazy to embark on the adventure of becoming an entrepreneur of a digital agency in a rural place two ferries away from the mainland, with no experience of business, accounting, marketing or anything else relevant to a small business. I explained that we decided to take this step because (1) we wanted to feel creative and feel that we were using our innate creativity for something good, (2) that we wanted to do something that would help other people and (3) that we wanted to provide an excellent service.
But not just excellent in terms of being really good at what we do and delivering excellent results, but also excellent in a human sense. We wanted to see and treat our clients as human beings with feelings, emotions, good days and bad days. We wanted them to be seen, cared for, supported. We wanted to be warm, approachable, joyful, positive.
Finally, I pointed out that all the companies represented at this presentation were service businesses, but that the countryside and the city in which they live are moved by the passion and tenacity of the farmers who grow our food, and that there is probably no profession more important and less recognised than that of the farmer.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience to speak to so many students, to share the presentation time with two inspiring entrepreneurs working in and for the archipelago.
With love from Wattkast 💚
“As we fight for equality, the only way forward is unity”
Ps: As usual, I didn’t get a picture of myself during the presentation, so here is a random picture that I think conveys all the values expressed in this presentation. Enjoy it!