To be great, be whole
Earlier this week, I was honoured to receive the Vuoden Yritysjohtaja – the Enterprise Executive of the Year award from the Finnish, business-oriented newspaper Kauppalehti.
I would like to dedicate this award to those who, through their love, support, work, and life have made me as I am.
This accolade belongs to all of the people who believe that whatever the circumstances may be, everyone can contribute to the common good. It is for those with the courage to take on responsibility and to work towards achieving our common dreams. Those who do not yield to adversity, no matter how difficult the challenge, but instead find a way to continue.
I would like to thank all the people, near and far, with whom I have shared my journey. Above all, I would like to thank everyone at Genelec for their incredible work, commitment and support. They have shown that under the northern sky, a star can shine so bright that it becomes visible everywhere in the world. They are my true mentors.
Leadership begins from within, and those skills are then nurtured as you find yourself inspired and encouraged by the interactions you share with your peers and your community as well as with the nature surrounding you. Its ultimate purpose is to help everyone find their own path, and to sow seeds along the way to create new opportunities. During the course of that journey, success may bring joy, but it is the lessons of failure which are arguably most valuable. To become a leader, you must meet each of these opportunities with an open mind and open arms. To that end, I would like to thank my friend Ilpo Martikainen, who confirmed my belief that the better a person knows himself, the humbler he will become.
For myself, this has been a long adventure, in which the realities of life have mixed with the dreams of what might be possible. So much has happened, but every lesson has been part of the journey.
The path has not always been easy – I have been forced to walk away from many dear things. But I have also received a great deal. I have had the opportunity to start a new life, taking in my changed surroundings as if with the eyes and curiosity of a child – to learn a new language, discover a new culture, experience the fairy-tale world of the Moomins, build a new identity and a fresh worldview. I have learned about Finnish society, its history and its beautiful values, embodied in the many people I have come to know. I have had the opportunity to study and be part of an incredible voyage that has allowed people from all over the world to get connected. I have come to understand the secret of sound in the midst of beautiful nature and the precious silence of Finland, and to be one of those who are honoured to take that secret to the world.
I have noticed, little by little, that in this society everyone has the opportunity to study and to be true to themselves. I have experienced the transparency, authenticity, justice, dignity, and freedom that can arise when people share common concerns and agree on working together to find solutions for the challenges they face in their society.
I have experienced the beauty of snow, especially when it is bathed in moonlight. I have witnessed the fairy-tale landscape of the Northern Lights, the spirit and the silence of the forest, the stillness of a Finnish lake, when the setting sun embraces the calm, mirrored surface of the water, or the sprawling fingers of mist covering the landscape.
Along the way, I have found a new home and new dreams – I wish that many societies would be like this, where human dignity is at the core.
In the light of all these things, I feel that the promise of something being "made in Finland" represents so much more than may first seem apparent. It is an honour and a blessing for us all to make that known in the wider world.
To Finland, with its thousands of lakes, to everyone, I offer a thousand thanks.
“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendour
Because it blooms up above.”
― Fernando Pessoa