| 23.04.2021

Could we become world’s best in leadership? Historical alumni event gathered more than 700 participants

The working population is decreasing and at the same time, artificial intelligence brings radical changes to our working lives.

How can we inspire colleagues to stay a part of the working population for longer and continuously learn new things – especially as teams consist of individuals from different generations who are motivated by completely different things.

Among others, these themes were discussed during the historical webinar on the 14th of April, where alumni from four universities and universities of applied sciences with teaching in Swedish: Arcada, Hanken, Novia and Åbo Akademi, gathered for the first time.

The keynote at the event was given by Christina Dahlblom, recently appointed Professor of Practice at Hanken, entrepreneur, and leadership coach.

“We are all cultural producers who daily have to think about what we bring with us to the workplace and what we demolish.” 

She noted the audience that Finland is a world leader in many things, including our school system, health care, equality, democracy, security, transparency, and happiness. However, well-being also requires good leadership.


Longer careers through a national leadership program?

Dahlblom speaks strongly for leadership where employees are being heard and given autonomy.

The importance of including employees in decision-making and providing them with positive feedback was also emphasized by the participants in the panel debate led by Ted Urho, Executive Manager at Think Thank Agenda.

The participants in the panel were Emilia Kronlund (People Partner Manager and alumnus, Åbo Akademi ), Armi Murto (Executive Director at SAMOK and alumnus, Arcada) , Thomas Bergman (CEO for Inkoo Shipping and alumnus, Novia), and Johan Sandell (Chair of the Board of Hanken&SSE and alumnus, Hanken).

According to Sandell, working life has changed completely since the 1980s due to new technology.

“We have to become accustomed to the fast pace at which change occurs, as well as to the notion that the speed of change will become even more rapid over time.”

One noticeable change in today's working life is that young people enter it with new values.

“A positive change that my generation has brought with it is a demand for a better work-life balance. Many of the young, ambitious people I have recruited have pointed out that it is important to them that they also find meaning outside of work.”         

The panel’s participants believe that artificial intelligence both implies that some current jobs will disappear, whilst at the same time new jobs are created. These positions are possibly more interesting than those currently available.

However, how can you motivate employees to have longer careers than necessary at a time when the working population is decreasing? Furthermore, how do you motivate them into pursuing a path of lifelong learning?

Murto has a suggestion.

“We have been pondering with friends about whether there should be a national leadership program, with the aim of improved everyday leadership.”   


Good things happen through new networks

The universities need their alumni, and the alumni benefit from their alma maters throughout their lifetime. This is how Arcada's Vice Rector Henrika Franck welcomed the audience to the historic meeting with participants from at least eleven countries.      

Franck, ED and alumnus from Hanken and Docent at Åbo Akademi, highlighted that she is not alone in having contact points at several different universities. According to her, it is therefore only natural to arrange a joint meeting for alumni from the four institutions.

 Dahlblom also welcomed the historic meeting with open arms.

 “I believe that it is through new networks and ecosystems that large wheels can be set in motion and good things occur.”