Strong Emotion, Determined Mindset and Collaborative Efforts

For me, 2023 was in many ways about wrapping up the old and opening new inspiring gifts. The finalisation of my doctoral dissertation on social capital, collaboration and human leadership in a virtual environment took place in autumn 2023. I got a peek into the new package in November as a project manager at the Kerttu Saalasti Institute of the University of Oulu in the KASVA project. I will work as the project manager until the end of October 2025.
Henna Väätäinen

Through deep network cooperation, the aim of the KASVA project is to achieve solutions that benefit the entire North Ostrobothnia region to improve the operating conditions of micro and small enterprises. Each member of the network builds cooperation with their own expertise. I bring to the network my twenty years of experience in coaching and leading companies and various organizations. Together we are more. I am privileged to be able to help entrepreneurs, business service providers, and entrepreneurship researchers collaborate to build a better future for the entire Northern Ostrobothnia region.

Meaningfulness aligned with my values

Values tell us what we consider meaningful. My value story is built around freedom, joy and wisdom. Kerttu Saalasti's story tickles the emotional layers of the mind and amazes with its courage. As I open this package, I am filled with a profound sense of humility. During my career, I have worked as part of a wide range of skilled and multiprofessional teams. Being surrounded by people who are smarter is a breath of fresh air. Each of us has our own strengths, and through them we strive towards socially influential research and development of entrepreneurship together and separately.

People first

I built my doctoral dissertation on the basic idea of social constructionism. I firmly believe that the world is built through encounters and interaction between people. Over the years, I have coached hundreds of companies, been involved in developing the city's procurement services and trained hundreds, if not thousands, of hours. I have practiced training and leadership, first as a child in scouting and then as a young adult in the JCI. Ten years ago, my year as the national chairman of the JCI Finland taught me a lot about humanity. I met different people from different cultures. In human encounters, the world seems to contain quite a few absolute truths. In a world like this, curiosity is not only a resource that feeds the mind, but also a good tool for building success. Listening is my superpower, and I often feel rewarded in situations where I notice insights emerging, whether they arise in my own mind or in the minds of others. The more fear and uncertainty the world contains, the more humanity and wisdom of the heart are needed. You need the ability to face the other person gently and whole, understanding that their perspective on the world can be radically different from mine and still be meaningful

Dreams are not fulfilled, they are created

In the words of Kerttu Saalasti: "There is nothing in the world that moves forward without strong emotion and willpower." Entrepreneurship is based on dreams, designing them into visions and leading them into goals achieved through actions. Dreams do not come true, goals are not exceeded, and visions do not become reality without the ability to feel and process emotions. Making dreams come true requires tolerance of uncertainty and incompleteness, solid trust in the process and the people working on it. The dissertation work has concretized the importance of emotional management in many ways. When you wake up in the morning with strangling fear and uncertainty takes over your mind, or when the joy and enthusiasm that bursts through the day does not turn into focused activities, you need methods that help you focus on the essentials. A strong will and trust in people help. Everyone plays a significant role in achieving results, but in the end, success is always built together.

Author: Henna Väätäinen, Master of Laws, Project Manager, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute, Microentrepreneurship Centre MicroENTRE