Member Interviews

Interview with FDCC Honorary Member, 
Mr. Pekka Timonen 

How long have you been a member? Why did you become a member in the first place?
Actually I don’t know exactly. But I think it was 1995 when I joined. I graduated from the Rotterdam Erasmus University for the Master of Laws degree and became the same year an authorized translator for the Dutch and Finnish languages. I worked for an attorney office as a Legal Counsel. Then I started also my own business in Rotterdam. It was Timo Vuori, who was the Chair of the Business club and the Benelux manager of Finnair at that time, who asked me to become a member.

You’ve been active at the Chamber for the whole duration of your membership and also served as a board member. Could you tell more about those years?
As I said, maybe it was 1995 when I became a member. Then I became a Secretary General from 1998 till 2008, and the years 2004-2008 I actually had a double function as a Chair of the board.

Which benefits have you received as a member during these years?
Well I became quite famous – everybody knew me. Maybe you know the Finnish magazine Emigrantti, that voted every year who are the most well-known persons in different countries. On that time I was voted as the most well-known person in the Netherlands. The year after I was it together with Jari Litmanen, Keijo Suila and Johan Helsingius. So at that time, I was very well known here which was very helpful for my business. 

I was invited to all kinds of events, for example once I was a dinner guest to the Turkish Embassy: I had earlier been at a Finnish embassy’s dinner and was sitting next to the Greek Ambassador. The Turkish Ambassador was a good friend of the Greek Ambassador and I was invited to a dinner at the Turkish Embassy.   

Do you still receive benefits from being a member? If not, what keeps you a member?
Well, I am retired now so not exactly. But I still have my own business and every now and then do something for my customers. I am an honorary member, and still sometimes I like to go to the FDCC events where it is nice to meet old and new people. Even if I don’t attend the events so often anymore, when I do come, I always enjoy it.

How has the operation of the FDCC developed during the years you’ve been a member?
If I think of when I started, the operation was quite “primitive”, as technology was new and we had something like 100 members. 

Now I could tell a nice story regarding our activities; once we had a Nordic event with Sauli Niinistö in 2006. After he had his speech, I thanked him – and now listen carefully what I’m about to say: “Mr. Niinistö, thank you very much for the very interesting speech. It was a pleasure to listen to. On behalf of the Board, I would like to give you this Delft blue plate as a remembrance of this event. (Now it becomes interesting: ) Just last week I read on a newspaper, that according to the public opinion, most of the Finns would like for you to become a president candidate for the next elections. Regardless if that happens or not, we hope you will find a nice place in your office for this plate. And who knows, perhaps this plate will stay later on in the office of the president of Finland.” 

All in all, already then we had company visits, networking events and co-operation with Nordic chambers and Trade guilds from all over the world. For example we also had an Europol event (which was similar to this year’s FDCC Young Professionals’ AfterWorkSauna on International Relations). 

The Young professionals program, that started in 2014, is a very nice development from the Chamber. 

What kind of events would you like to see?

Herring party was a nice tradition as well as the Crayfish party with schnaps, wine and beer and crayfish delivered from Finland. Back when I started, we also had for instance presentation training events; you got to present yourself or your company and it is still important today.

What are your thoughts on Nordic Chambers’ cooperation?
It is the future. I very much like it – for instance Independence Day at Euromast last year was really nice.



Interview with FDCC Individual Member
Ms. Marika Malin / Unelma Beauty

How long have you been a member? Why did you become a member in the first place?
I think about four years. I was just starting as an entrepreneur, and Anne Bergshoeff (FDCC Board member) suggested me to join. I understood it was important if I wanted to grow my company.

What kind of benefits have you received as a member?
I’ve gotten new clients by being a member; I’ve actually become very well-known through the chamber. Since people know my name and know what I do, it is easier to offer my services to them. The events have given me important opportunities for networking.

You have your own company (Unelma Beauty). Why should an entrepreneur join FDCC?
If you’re a small or big entrepreneur and want to grow, you really have to join the chamber. The networking opportunities, making new contacts, are important for everyone: you meet all kinds of people from big CEOs, to small ones, to other entrepreneurs and so on. 

How do you think FDCC should develop in the coming years? What services have you been especially satisfied with so far?
Well so far the Chamber has done good work, since every year it’s growing and expanding in new areas. I think it should continue to do so. For example, I love this quite new mentorship program: it is really good and helpful for people looking for a direction or boost in their careers. 

I love the variety of events, since you offer everything from pub quizzes to career boost events.

What are your thoughts on Nordic Chambers’ cooperation?
I think we can always do more. Together we are stronger, I believe in that. We are small countries (Finland, Denmark, even the Netherlands is small) and I believe that when we come together, we can achieve more.



Interview with FDCC Young Professionals Member,
Ms. Johanna Raivio

I’m Johanna Raivio, 27, and I arrived to the Netherlands from Finland in December 2016 for personal reasons. I’m a Master of Arts from University of Helsinki. I’ve been a member of FDCC since February 2017.

Why did you become a member of FDCC? What expectations did you have?
My expectations were to network, learn, meet other Finns and Dutch people who are interested in current trends in business. And, because networks are one of the biggest strengths in today’s constantly changing society! 

Most important reason for me was to learn to know new people in a new country, and how they have done the switch from working in Finland to working in the Netherlands, and of course to meet local people and learn about the business culture here. I’m still looking for a job starting from August 2017!

How have you benefited so far from being a member?
Getting new contacts, participating into interesting events, getting new ideas.

Why would you recommend a Finnish young adult to become a member?
Just go for it! Investing in yourself and developing skills together is important for today’s young adults, especially because of fragmented careers. Today’s young adults are not going to spend decades working for the same company, but are required to be multi-talented networkers who have the experience of working with different smaller projects and people, with different tools and preferably updating their skills as they go. For this kinds of small reasons you will need your network.

How do you think FDCC should develop in the coming years? 
I think FDCC should profile themselves as a bridge between people, businesses and ideas. That bridge should lead into co-creating new partnerships, networks and developing businesses together. There should also be a co-creating space for this, open for everybody from startups to big companies and events where the community could meet. Social media and videos could be used more in marketing the chamber. 

What are your thoughts on Nordic Chambers’ cooperation?
We have a lot in common with other Nordic countries (more than just the weather). Design, technologies and businesses are very innovative. There should be more Nordic co-operation!

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