Why should businesses avoid becoming bogged down in customer-centric solutions?
We are a strategy consultancy helping organisations grow Life-centric®.
We co-create meaningful growth together with our clients. Whether improving a brand, an organisational culture, or ecosystem relations, we listen, research, reflect, strategise, inspire, and help you make the right decisions.
Our work is based as much on emotional intelligence as it is on scientific insight. We creatively combine a range of methods aligned with the Life-centric® approach.
We have been in your shoes. We have been part of the company management teams, executive boards and consultancies alike. We’ve seen successes and failures. We have succeeded and failed as individuals.
We are a compact team of multi-disciplinary experts. We are big enough to maneuver grand projects but small enough to care.
Ia has a passion for creating distinction. She has almost two decades of experience in branding, business development and design management. In recent years, she has held top management positions in renowned consumer goods companies such as Kekkilä, Hasselfors Garden and Fiskars. Today she is a board member in several B2B and B2C companies.
Throughout her career, Ia has regularly managed to unleash the true potential of brands. She’s mastered a very special way of turning strategy into reality by conducting open-minded exploration and experimentation.
At Kekkilä, Ia was responsible for the company’s brand and marketing through a period of growth in both brand awareness and value, while at the same time spearheading its expansion into new business areas. Her work turned a soil-producer into a player in the lifestyle field.
At Fiskars, Ia played a significant role in transforming a kitchenware company into a fresh player. She led the creation of a new brand look and feel, the redesign of almost 100 SKUs and the development of innovative go-to market concepts, resulting in measurable commercial success.
Ia founded Co-founders in 2016 when she realized that she and her team could help many mid-size companies take their brand and culture management to the next level.
When not helping companies reach their true potential, Ia can be found canoeing around the archipelago or writing poems in her red notebook. There is a page in it for your company, too.
Max Mickelsson has spent the last fourteen years combining his passions for politics, technology and business to promote positive change. In his previous role as a Director for Government Affairs at Microsoft, he helped shape programs that have created bold opportunities for both individuals and for Finland as a whole.
Before his career at Microsoft, he held various positions in politics advising the Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour, Minister of the Interior and the Speaker of the Parliament as well as Secretary General for the Parliamentary Group of the National Coalition party. He has also had positions of trust in many NGOs and is currently the Chairman of Junior Achievement – Nuori Yrittäjyys – in Finland.
Thanks to his career dedicated to understanding and communicating the complex, he believes Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize company culture in ways we’re just beginning to grasp. When not studying the intricacies of corporate life, he’s a keen contemporary art lover who relishes the chance to meet artists worldwide.
Alexandra has ten years of experience in communications and consulting in several industries including art, publishing, financial markets, consumer electronics, food packaging, steel industry and maritime technology.
Alexandra holds a Master’s degree in Business Management and a Bachelor’s in Communications and Public Relations. Her career journey spans across different countries from Romania to Spain, Belgium and Finland.
Before joining Co-founders Alexandra worked as a senior consultant and account director at Miltton. Previous to this position she established HKI Art Communications, a Helsinki-based company with the mission to promote access to arts and culture to both local and international audiences.
Alexandra has a thorough understanding of arts and business. While both can exist without the other, she believes that the thriving businesses of the future will employ art as a method to solve business challenges.
She describes herself as a facilitator, a role that comes to her naturally given her cross-disciplinary experience and multi-cultural background.
When not defining the sweet spot between arts and business, Alexandra can be found walking long routes along the Helsinki shoreline, listening to music and visiting exhibitions.
Sonja believes in creating guiding images of the future through research. For her, research stimulates creativity and is liberating in times of change as it offers new alternatives that could otherwise go unnoticed.
With her professional background in marketing (10+ years) and academic background both in sustainability transition and marketing research, with topics ranging from co-creating sustainable corporate brands to managing sustainability transitions, Sonja combines systems thinking and semiotics to turn complex data into contextualized insights to better the business and the planet.
As a quintessential millennial, she has experience in advancing sustainability on multiple levels, as a researcher, teacher, business consultant, marketing manager, and as a community organizer. Prior to Co-founders she was working as a business consultant in family business, focusing on client projects related to strategic branding and organizational sustainability.
Sonja holds an MSc and a PhD in marketing and a BSc in risk management from Tampere University. In her doctoral dissertation, she studied the new role of companies in sustainability from the viewpoints of strategy, management, and co-creation. A researcher at heart, Sonja continues her post-doctoral treatise on the collaboration strategies between incumbent and newcomer companies in driving sustainability transitions forward.
Her teaching activities span outside the academic community as she is also a yoga instructor. Besides a yoga mat, Sonja seeks balance on the endless hiking trails with or without a horse. As a current dweller in the Swiss Alps, she feels that both her relationship with nature and her perspective to business are expanding.
You can download Sonja’s dissertation here:
Ponniah has almost 20 years management consulting experience. He has worked years for a number of industry leading players including Accenture, Ernst & Young and Oliver Wyman.
Ponniah’s experience is diverse and wide ranging. He has worked across a number of European and International markets. His extensive experience of various projects cover a large number of topics including strategy formulation, M&A management, operating model transformation, change management, IT strategy, commercial optimisation, new business start-ups etc.
Ponniah focuses on bringing structure and a methodological approach to challenges that our clients ask us to address. He considers the trusted advisor role that he fills for our clients as a position of genuine privilege.
You are likely to find Ponniah doing sports after work. His true passion is cricket.
Axel believes software development offers the best medium for bringing ideas to life. He is currently honing his software development skills further at Hive Helsinki while at the same time completing his studies at the Hanken School of Economics.
As many applications are moving to web-based solutions, Axel at the moment focuses on deepening his knowledge of full-stack development. He has among other things developed and deployed a resource sharing platform that serves the students at Hive, encouraging the sharing of information.
Axel also believes machine learning provides some of the most powerful tools in a developer’s toolbelt. The possibilities this opens up for us is, in his opinion, truly mind-blowing.
And as always, when the passion is deep ant thorough – in his spare time Axel is likely hacking away at a personal passion project. His goal is to get to the point where what he can create is not limited by any technical knowledge.
Lila is the youngest member of our team, but she has already honed her skills in France, Finland and China. Her fascination with inter-cultural communication has lead to her learning multiple languages in order to understand and reach people in today’s global context.
Having lived most of her life in Southern France, Lila left her family at the age of fifteen for Etelä-Tapiolan high school in Espoo. There, she received an International Baccalaureate with a specialization in Business and Management. Taking the challenge further, she took a plane and spent a semester in Shanghai, learning about Chinese culture and language at SISU university. Her experience then continued in the UK as a student in Politics, Economics and Philosophy at the university of Warwick.
Lila is not only a globetrotter – while working as a community manager she acquired skills that now will benefit our customers. When Lila is not going through an “Italian for beginners” volume or spending her time packing her suitcase, she thoroughly enjoys the dramatic arts as well as skiing down the Alps. Her motto is that you can never learn enough.
Dr. Anne Brunila is a seasoned board professional, who has often been called as the most influential woman in the Finnish business scene. Anne holds a doctorate in Economics and possesses an extensive experience in senior leadership positions as well as various key positions of trust. Currently, she works with her vision as a Member of the Board of Kone Corporation and as a Chair of the Board of the Finnish Film Foundation. To Co-founders, Anne brings an indispensable insight on business and markets, combined with her characteristically optimistic take on the world.
Dr. Arndt Pechstein is an energetic mix of a scientist, serial entrepreneur, change consultant, and keynote speaker (yes, also on TEDx stage!). Arndt holds a doctorate in Neuroscience and is an international expert voice on topics as diverse as design thinking, bio-inspired innovation, agile transition, and circular economy. As a founder and CEO of phi360 consultancy and a founder and chairman of the Biomimicry Academy, he is “future-proofing organisations”. And it’s this focus on driving a just, sustainable, and desirable change that Arndt brings to Co-founders.
Arndt is based in Berlin, Germany.
Tommi Juusela is a noticeable board professional and an angel investor with a passion for helping family-run businesses to renew and transform. Tommi holds a Masters Degree in Law and has a broad background in senior leadership positions both at Nokia and Neste. With a deep commitment to environmental sustainability, Tommi regularly conducts expeditions to the Arctic region and has recently published a children’s book on climate change and microplastics. In Co-founders, Tommi helps us to up our game whether it’s about sustainability or strategic renewal.
Danela Ezekiel is an experienced organisational consultant with a strong desire to work with leaders in transition and those who seek to have a greater impact on their entire ecosystem. Danela holds a Masters Degree in Organisational Development and she currently works at Bath Consultancy Group. Danela is among the pioneers of Reverse Mentoring, especially in addressing the Diversity & Inclusion agenda for organisations. To Co-founders, Danela brings a keen eye for spotting fresh opportunities within management consultancy, especially related to Reverse Mentoring.
Danela is based in London, UK.
Created by Co-Founders in 2019, Lionhearts is a bridge between generations, empowering a group of young bright minds, aged 18 to 25, from multiple backgrounds to impact the professional environment and answer the challenges faced by businesses today.
Inspired leaders from all over the globe are looking for newer, fresher perspectives in order to learn from the past and develop in the right direction. It is only by having different generations working hand in hand that the world can hope for a more equal, peaceful and sustainable tomorrow.
The Lionhearts act as a real community which gives great opportunities to its members to develop their network, enrich themselves and attend exceptional events.
The Lionhearts are ready to spar us and our clients whenever more insight is needed.