Here is Mari and she will make the Community flourish!
Who are you?
Wow. This introduction started with a hard one. Not so long ago I had to take a personality test and the results described me as a chameleon. That was something new that really resonated with me. I do enjoy navigating through changing environments, solving problems and getting to know new people. Nothing sparks me up like a good conversation. I’d also described myself as a forever optimist.
When it comes to my peers I think I’ve always been the unconventional one. I have a degree in Human Nutrition from Helsinki University, but right after graduation I did not only start my own sports nutrition coaching business, but also got sucked into the world of startups. I got the first taste of what it is to build something that has not been built before, and I fell in love. I also got to experience the bitterness of failure, twice actually. But here I am again in this space.
Outside of work, sports, cooking and good food are some of the things that keep me balanced. Also let's face it, for me the most brainless show marathons are exactly what I need to put my brain off after a week of craziness.
What is the best work of fiction and why?
I tried to think of something smart and meaningful I have read or watched lately, but really my mind just wandered back to my childhood. I’m not sure if this is the best work of fiction, but surely my most memorable one. I grew up in the golden era of Disney movies and I can’t help it but as a little girl I became obsessed over the Little Mermaid. Please don’t ask the 6-year-old me why. Yes, my all time favourite movie is about a girl who can’t walk and has no voice. On that note, I can’t wait to see how Disney will twist this story in their new remake! Hopefully not so weak and helpless Ariel anymore.
How did you end up in the Kiuas Team?
Last fall I was in a situation where I was working as a consultant while also running my own nutrition business on the side. I decided that it was now time for something new. Most of all I wanted to work for someone else and most important to have a team around me. Again quite unconventional. Who would want to switch from being an entrepreneur to working for someone else?
I started to keep my eye open for something that would seem interesting enough. Through a couple of different recruitment processes I soon realised that big corporations didn’t exactly appeal to me. Instead I still noticed having that burn for startups. But I wasn’t really that keen about the idea of jumping into one. Then the opportunity with Kiuas presented itself. Right before Kiuas I had been working with an US based women’s entrepreneurial academy that teaches women how to successfully run their businesses. Kiuas just seemed like the perfect continuum where I could combine my past experience and knowledge and put them at use to help startups thrive.
How will the Kiuas Community improve and grow with you in charge?
It’s been only a week now as part of the Kiuas team, but I can already tell you that we have big plans for the Kiuas Community. Kiuas programs date all the way back to 2010. We have over 280 teams totalling up to over 450 individuals that can call themselves Kiuas Alumni. This means that we have a huge pool of knowledge and insight to be harnessed for the whole community. We’re not only interested in asking our Alumni to help the teams that are currently in the program, but start fostering connections and networking within the whole Alumni community. Once you graduate from a Kiuas program it’s only the beginning. Success doesn’t happen overnight and it most likely won’t happen over a period of the 10-week program either. There will be many problems to solve and many obstacles to concur during the months and years to come.
And this is where the Kiuas Community steps in. My goal is to build a community that facilitates and cherishes founder to founder learning years and years after graduating from a Kiuas program. I want to build more bridges between the Alumni companies so they can keep learning from each other's success and mistakes. Whether the Alumni team graduated from the program a year ago or five years ago, I strongly believe they all still have questions in their minds and problems to solve. And what a better way to do that than talking to an Alumni who has been there already. On the other hand we wanna encourage Alumni themselves to share not only their biggest aha moments, but also their failures, so everyone can evolve and thrive together.
Where would you like to see Kiuas by the end of next year?
I like to dream big, but realistically speaking by the end of 2023 I’d like to see Kiuas having a established a community culture, where every Kiuas Alumni feels like no matter what problems they are facing, they can easily find a relevant Kiuas Alumni, who is more than eager to provide an insight to their problem. All you need to do is to reach out to them and say “Hey, it’s X and we are a Kiuas Alumnus, I’d love to pick your brain about something.”
Besides creating a culture of actively asking for help and sharing your learnings, the plan is to establish various recurring Alumni events that are tailored according to what the Alumni really want and need. I have a strong will to go beyond just pizza and beer. (No worries, pizza and beer are still offered if the Alumni want so!) What these events will actually look like, will be completely up to the Alumni. So if you are an Kiuas Alumni out there reading this, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a chat with me. I’m more than eager to hear what would help you the most at this point of your journey!