VK Vlogs ∣ Part 3

New week, new vlog! These last weeks with the thesis are quite tight but I'm excited to get the process into the finish line. Only 4 weeks to go and the plane takes off to Helsinki, crazy! Time to start prepping for the move then, and after a few years abroad, there's a thing or two to take care of. Last week we also cheered for Finland in the hockey championships (but let's not talk about Sunday's devastation), enjoyed the amazingly sunny and +22 degree weather in the park and had a belated birthday dinner for Meri.

Have a great week!

❤︎ Vilma

VK Vlogs ∣ Part 2

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone has had a nice Valborg weekend. The weather in Lund was amazing on Sunday and we got to enjoy the celebrations in warm rays of sunshine. We kicked off the Valborg weekend on Friday by going to our most likely last Out of Office event in Malmö and continued on Sunday with a long, nice picnic at Stadsparken. Last week Meri and Paula took tattoos and I tagged along for emotional support, we walked around Lund thinking about how crazy it is that we only have one month left here and the thesis train went forward on a steady pace. So here is the vlog for week 17!

See you on the next one!

❤︎ Vilma

The tale of the team spirit

It's better to have a great team than a team of greats.

I have truly loved every single job I’ve had. I’ve worked for some pretty amazing brands but most importantly, I’ve always worked with some pretty amazing people. People who I’ve laughed with on a daily basis, people to whom I’ve shared life stories, people who weren’t just co-workers. People who were, and are, my friends.

Having had these great experiences in my career, I know that having co-workers I’m able to call friends is personally the number one motivator in my work. No matter if I was selling sofas, going through detergent complaints or posting about phones. Motivation is built upon tasks that challenge you enough, that you find interesting and worthwhile, a goal or a vision that you believe in and that certain inner fire for your job. And to me, a major kindling for that fire is the people around me. Not only do they make getting up for the office fun, they drive me to do a better job. Good teams do better results because they share a common goal and because they want to reach that goal together. 

Strategic recruiting is the foundation for strategic employer branding

Good teams are rarely built in champagne brunches and bowling allies, although I am a firm believer in the after work culture. Neither are they built through constrained team building activities and trust falls. They are built by doing strategic recruiting. Cheers to all my past bosses and recruiters, you did a good job! Strategic recruiting is not just about finding talents whose strengths and abilities support each other, it’s about finding people who fit together on a personal level. People who would survive together in a deserted cabin for a week, and probably would even be having fun while doing it. People who get each other's jokes.

It’s also strategic employer branding. People who know me know that I like to talk about my past work places a lot. And I really mean a lot, sometimes I feel like the first thing I tell to new people is a short presentation of my past employers. I probably should make a Power Point. I feel proud about all of them, and truly, I still feel a strong emotional connection to each of them. I dare to say that that enthusiasm has had a positive effect also on how my inner circle sees these employers and brands. The results of successful employer branding, which is delved from authentic passion and team spirit, carry far.

The importance of team spirit is also something to think about for the job applicants. How much research do you usually do about the people working in the company you’re applying to? Do you try to picture if they are the type of people you would connect with? I think it’s just as vital to do the research on the people as it is on the company. Work is such a massive part of our lives, it would be a tremendous shame to spend that part feeling isolated and alone behind a computer screen. 

So who are you spending 40 hours a week with?

❤︎ Vilma

VK Vlogs ∣ Part 1

Vilma Komulainen looking to the sunset

I titled my first blog post: "Blogs are passé but here I am". Blogs really are rather old school but for me, blogging feels like a fitting format. But if one would like to truly be on top of their game, vlogging is the way to go. Meticulous vlogging requires serious commitment though, and that commitment feels intimidating to me right now. Nonetheless, last week I gave it a little go. I don't have any proper gear with me here in Lund, so the quality wasn't impressive, but I guess that wasn't really even the point. The point is to collect some snippets of our daily lives during this last month here in southern Sweden. So here you go, VK Vlogs part 1! On this part 1 I tried to return to the routines after the Easter holiday in Finland, worked on the thesis and shopped for a graduation dress. And I'm sorry to all my international friends, this one is in Finnish.

Have a great start to the week!

❤︎ Vilma

Girl power and the fellowship of femmes en force

Empowered women empower women

When I was 7, the Spice Girls sang about girl power and I learned that friendships that never end are a source of immense energy. When I was 9, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda sat on a Saturday brunch talking about sins, sorrows and successes and I learned that stories are better shared. When I was 10, the first female president in Finland was elected and I learned that there wasn’t anything a woman couldn’t achieve in her career. But when I grew to start the joyous battle of adulthood, I truly understood the importance of having a powerful girl gang by your side.

Girl power is the force that pushes babies out to the world, that wipes away the tears of a friend in heartache, that refuses to give the bus seat to a white passenger and that sparks communities of sharing and support. These communities of women supporting other women have exponentially started to grow also in online environments. In Finland, the female network Ompeluseura has almost 20 000 members on Facebook and LinkedIn while Aalto Women in Business has a few thousand, both also having various subgroups for different career and geographical areas. In Sweden, Heja Livet has over 30 000 tjejer and I’m sure there’s many more for countries all around the world. Is it mascara tips and handkerchief dropping techniques that are being shared in these groups? No, it’s the best jobs at the market, career tips, mentoring, advice on getting ahead in the working life and possibilities to network with likeminded ladies. All the hidden knowledge power that have been transmitted through the hegemony of old boy’s networks for centuries. They represent a rise of the new country club, the club of equal opportunities and even paychecks. 

They represent a rise of the new country club, the club of equal opportunities and even paychecks.

They also represent a rise of all the inspiring female entrepreneurs and power babes. They inspire us not only to raise the bar for ourselves but to support other women in their achievements. In my personal experience, a tight-knit girl group is a powerhouse of safety nets, comedy centrals, trusty therapists and sparring partners. It’s a true joy when the success of the other is not a source of envy, but of energy and inspiration. I really hope everyone would have such a group in their life. 

I’m lucky since I have a few. I would like to take a moment to thank all the inspiring, supporting and strong women of my journey. First and foremost, the strongest female figure of life, my mother, has raised me to believe in my dreams and capabilities and of that I’m forever grateful. My oldest friend Iiris who has been by my side through the thick and thin already for 25 years and who agreed to dance with me through the entire Spice Girls album on my living room when we were seven. My greatest gal groups: the lovely ladies of #leiditliikkeellä with whom I’ve have shared all the struggles and joys of the student life and starting a career, the girls of #finnishmafia who I’ve had countless amounts of fun and unforgettable moments during this year in Lund and all the fearless females that walked the streets of Stockholm with me.

But most importantly, I hope everyone would be lifted by the spark of the #girlbosses (btw who’s excited for the show to finally arrive in Netflix?), evangelists of equality and powerful female forerunners. And if you haven’t already, join a female career network online!

❤︎ Vilma

About intuition and purpose-led personal branding

Vilma Komulainen looking to the sea

As my Master’s degree studies are coming to an end, I am currently looking for jobs quite actively. I have actually never been in this situation before since I have been fortunate enough to always just move from one permanent position to another. It’s scary not knowing what I’ll be doing in just a few months, or where I’ll be, but at the same time it’s refreshing to have everything out and open. Best things usually happen when you’re a little bit scared. It forces you to really consider what you see as important in life, what makes you happy.

These types of turning points in life are also perfect opportunities to take a little strategy session with yourself. I would not want to ever find myself just floating through life with the current, without ever stopping to think where I want that current to lead or if that current even is the one I want to be on. And when thinking about career, I believe far too many people focus on finding out what they want to do. I believe it’s more important to find out what kind of life you want to have.

And that’s why I’m not throwing around applications here and there looking for anything that even remotely sounds like marketing. Even though I believe every job is an opportunity to learn, at this point in life I want to find something that makes my head spin of excitement, that is part of that picture of how I want my life to be. As Spielberg famously said it: ”The hardest thing to listen to—your instincts, your human personal intuition—always whispers; it never shouts. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it's something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do.” In order to truly do a great job, the job needs to tickle your heart.

Purpose-led personal branding is about finding the why

Major cheese balls but I strongly believe in that message. If purpose-led branding is the name of the game for successful modern brands, so is purpose-led personal branding for the job seekers. It’s about finding your why. Why is it that you’re in marketing or business or what ever it is that you do? Why do you get up in the morning? 

Vilma Komulainen in a rock

I recently watched a great TED Talk by Dan Buettner who studies the blue zones, that is areas of the world with the longest-living people. In one of these zones, in the island of Okinawa, these people have a concept of ikigai. It means a sense of purpose, the why you get up in the morning. This sense of purpose was one of the connective aspects of the cultures with the longest-living people, the blue zones (check the talk for the other aspects, it’s quite interesting). And it’s important to note that not everyone needs to be entrepreneurs and executives in order to find a passion in life. The ikigai can be anything from taking care of your family to growing a rose garden.

So the talk about finding your passion and tickling your heart is not just meaningless blather of the privileged and the Pinterest boards, it’s one of the fundamental pieces of happiness and long life. Hope no one forgets that while running the rat race.

❤︎ Vilma