James Hill, former Chairman at Unilever talks with Alexandra Marila, Strategist, Arts and Business at Co-founders about Art as a… Read more »
We are a business development partner for those who want to make the jump from credible to incredible.
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.
For Ia, a perfect day involves learning lots from fascinating people and then taking time to consider this new-found knowledge, ideally while lounging by the sea. This devotion to continuous self-development has helped her build a successful, two-decade-long career in branding, business development and design management. In this time, she managed renowned consumer goods brands, such as Kekkilä, Hasselfors Garden and Fiskars. Today, she is also a board member at Harvia and a 3rd generation owner in a manufacturing business.
A firm believer in the power of brands to change the world for the better, Ia relishes the chance to turn ingenious ideas into reality. This might involve anything from coming up with secret ways of communicating with her children to helping companies to move into entirely new business areas.
Her enthusiasm for organising, experimenting and starting new things, with an eye to the future, means she is also a keen gardener and a farmer. Not only do these endeavours give her time to ponder, but they also let her imagination bloom. Unsurprisingly, she felt very much at home at Fiskars and Kekkilä, where she drove the creation of a new brand look and feel, the redesign of all together almost 100 products, as well as innovative go-to market concepts.
This unique combination of expertise, experience and enthusiasm led her to start Co-founders in 2016. Her aim is simple: to nurture companies’ brands and culture. To see how well she’s doing, why not drop in and say hello.
Max enjoys nothing better than investigating the state of the world. This passion for politics, business and technology, combined with the desire to bring clarity to the chaos of 21st century life, has driven his career. In fact, it was key to his success as Director for Government Affairs at Microsoft, and as an advisor to the Finance, Labour and Interior Ministers of previous Finnish governments.
It should come as no surprise, then, that if Max could meet anyone from history, he’d choose Karl Popper to talk social and political philosophy. What’s perhaps more unexpected is that, besides analysing and communicating the complex, Max is passionate about contemporary art. However, it’s not just the final work that he finds fascinating but the process of creation itself, and the way it mirrors agile methods of business. Consequently, get Max in a gallery with painters and he’s never happier.
Max’s other great passion is horse riding. While this might not seem the most useful pastime for a business thinker, Max would beg to differ. Indeed, his most read article for the Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet is “Everything I learned about leadership I learned from horses.” Not convinced? Have a read and we bet he’ll change your mind.
In the 10 years since gaining her Master’s degree, Alexandra has been very busy. She’s worked wonders in communications and consulting in industries as diverse as art, publishing, finance, food packaging, and maritime tech. This has taken her from Romania to Spain, Belgium and Finland, which is lucky, because she loves nothing better than getting to know new cities and their galleries, bookstores and boutiques.
Alexandra has enjoyed developing her expertise ever since she would discuss politics, books and society with her grandfather during their jaunts through the countryside. One example of this is her passion for collecting art books from around the world, which drove her to establish HKI Art Communications, a Helsinki-based company to promote arts and culture to local and international audiences. She’s also enhanced her flair for business by working as an Account Director at Miltton.
Nowadays, she is getting an even better understanding of what motivates people by taking acting classes. This allows her to challenge herself mentally and physically, while developing her facilitator skills. Needless to say, we’re as happy to see her on stage as we are to watch her inspire customers to produce winning performances.
A true nature lover, Sonja feels most fantastic when trekking on horseback in the Alpine wilderness of her current home country, Switzerland. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why she’s dedicated her career to helping companies do business in a way that’s good for the planet. She’s a keen advocate of science, and consequently enjoys challenging and expanding on her own and others’ ideas in debates, whether at a research conference or in a corporate boardroom. To fuel her creative mind, she also likes to read and read some more… everything from marketing research journals to astronomy and magazines like Monocle.
The above passions have been further fueled by her academic background, which has seen her develop exceptional expertise in co-creating sustainable corporate brands. With the unique insight gained from 10 years in marketing and a PhD on the role of companies in sustainability, she knows how to direct companies towards more sustainable futures. Not only does she succeed in this thanks to her experience of crunching data, but also because of her empathy, energy, and determination – qualities she shares with her hero, Michelle Obama.
Sonja balances her demanding work days with yoga and meditation, which she also teaches to others as a yoga instructor. If you visit our office and see someone in a tree pose, you’ll know you’ve met Sonja. She’d love to help find balance for your business, too.
In an ideal world Ponniah would kick-off every day with a session of yoga, a swim, or a run. This dedication to keeping his body and therefore mind in great shape has helped to support his 20-year long career in management consulting. With successful spells at Accenture, Ernst & Young and Oliver Wyman, his experience is both extensive and wide-ranging.
For inspiration, Ponniah looks to a range of sources including; Elon Musk for his achievements in business, technology and space exploration; Nelson Mandela for his determination and leadership; Greta Thunberg for her no-nonsense communication of the climate crisis. This is reflected in his enthusiasm for exploring a diverse range of professional subjects himself, from company strategy to change management, from technology innovation to energy transition enablement. The list goes on.
As a busy and dedicated dad, he’s also learnt to approach life’s challenges, big and small, in a structured and a methodological manner. This is exactly the same way he works. For him, one of life’s great privileges is being trusted by his clients to look after their businesses and their interests. To find out more, why not drop by at our office. You’re assured a warm and very sociable welcome.
There’s nothing Axel enjoys more than using software to develop innovative solutions. While some people might see this as work, for Axel it’s what puts a spring in his step and a smile on his face. It’s why he spends time enhancing his expertise at Hive Helsinki, Hanken School of Economics, and even at home.
This love of developing new solutions, whether a to-do list app for himself or an entire resource sharing platform for students at Hive, is what makes him such a big fan of ingenious innovators such as Elon Musk. For Axel, it’s a dream come true to discuss big tech challenges with big tech thinkers. With his focus on web-based solutions, machine learning and full-stack development, he believes the future will be a truly mind-blowing adventure.
However, he’s not waiting for tomorrow’s world to live life to the max. He’s already spent a year in the Dominican Republic, where he learned that he should never judge a book by its cover, that paradise beaches are even better than they look, and that family is truly fantastic. If you’d like to know what else he finds fantastic, why not pop into our office and join him talking tech.
Lila loves to experience new people, new cultures and new foods. Her fondest memories are of grilled calamari meals by the Mediterranean, the tastes and aromas garnished with lots of learning and lots of laughter. Her childhood in Southern France, where life revolved around long lunches, have driven her to live and study in Finland, China, and the UK. As a lover of languages, her perfect day involves exploring interesting places with unfamiliar faces, enjoying everything a city has to offer, whether that’s Helsinki or Havana.
To build her academic knowledge, Lila studied Politics, Economics and Philosophy at the University of Warwick. A true people person, she’s equally at ease shimmying to salsa with her South American friends as she is singing along to classic Queen tunes at a party. This trait helps explain why Lila is a natural at community management. To see for yourself, why not come by and join her for a café au lait. We promise you’ll want to stay for a second cup.
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.