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The Nordics’ most powerful leaders come together to share wealth of expertise

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From the outside, working at the most prestigious, wealthiest, A-list events in the world might have been considered superficial – until now. Nordic Collective is bringing together influential minds at the most exquisite events to capture the true power of philanthropy.

Striving to shine a light on northern Europe’s ingenious companies and founders, Nordic Collective CEO Janna Salokangas endeavours to empower the global community by sharing the success of the progressive nations through meaningful opportunities with business leaders and entrepreneurs.

"The right people, the right time and the right place can do magic together," Janna tells The CEO Magazine. "I believe in the power of people coming together and the power of networks."

Premium networking events, high-end panel discussions and partnerships with some of the world’s finest leaders, including Princess Märtha Louise of Norway representing her foundation "A Peace of Scandinavia", is how the inspiring group is enhancing the world with new opportunities.

"In the Nordics, we are at the forefront of many processes such as sustainability, education and equality. Therefore, I feel we should, and can, inspire from the north," Janna says. "I felt there was a gap for this collective support to reach international stages and markets.

"Together, we can discover the international path for meaningful organisations – that is what Nordic Collective is here to do."

Events post-COVID

While the pandemic has halted many in-person events for this year, it has also amplified the demand for meaningful affairs.

"People are looking for more meaningful content; they are more aware of what is happening," Janna says. "We want to learn and evolve and grow the whole time, so we are more open to change, which attracts us to meaningful events."

Nordic Collective has a number of collaborations on the cards for 2021 including the Awareness Lounge, which is a global platform to raise awareness of important issues; the Davos World Economic Forum Week; and the Cannes Lions festival – all with COVID-19 safety precautions front of mind.

"The right people, the right time and the right place can do magic together." – Janna Salokangas

In the rapid-fire pace of the luxury event industry, Janna believes the golden formula is to jump fearlessly into new situations. Although she doesn’t see herself as a risk taker, instead she is simply following her passion.

"I have to try new things and I trust that I will learn what I don’t yet know – and once I do, I will do better, again and always," she reflects.

Having been part of some top forums and festivals in the world, including Amber Lounge and Formula One, it’s through her hunger to follow a passion for people that the Nordic Collective executive understands exactly what it takes to bring a client’s dreams to life.

"We learned how to turn every rock in a situation into an opportunity and always deliver the best for our clients," Janna shares. "My job is to discover the international path together, to open doors and negotiate deals.

"If you manage to build a gap between the vision and reality with determination, hard work and trust, a move is never too risky."

Building quality partnerships

With years of hard work and expertise behind her, building a solid partnership is certainly a craft Janna has mastered. The secret? Listening.

"You listen, you listen, and you listen more and figure out the rest along the way," she explains. "We have to be open throughout the process, be transparent and deliver, and be on the right side as the partner."

Connecting prominent global figures through meaningful events allows Nordic Collective to touch on the most troublesome areas including environmental awareness. It may just be the nudge needed to shape future actions.

"My philosophy is that I want to see positivity in every situation, and in the end, the change is good," Janna says. "I want to highlight our sustainable innovations from the Nordics and show we can actually inspire from the north.

"We can show the whole globe what we have here."

Power of Nordic nations

Nordic countries have long been the trailblazers of thought-provoking innovation and equality.

The nations are often touted as being the happiest on Earth. They are also leaders in equality and continue to be a fine example of how sustainable living is crucial for the future.

"Nature is so important to us," Janna explains. "The nature is present everywhere we go in whatever we do. It’s present in our brands and our materials.

"We have the purist air; we have a lot of forest. A passion for sustainability comes quite organically as it’s something we want to protect and highlight because it’s always been there."

With the region’s reputation for social solidarity, it’s surprising – but not uncommon – to hear Janna’s biggest career challenge is attached to the year she was born.

"I have to try new things and I trust that I will learn what I don’t yet know – and once I do, I will do better, again and always." – Janna Salokangas

"I have a lot of not-so-traditional working experience," explains the 26-year-old. "One challenge for me has been people’s perception of me because of my age. Before, I might have even avoided telling my age because that would have been bad for my credibility.

"Now I’ve realised my young age is one of my powers: I have the energy to strive; I’m constantly open to learning and adapting; and I’m forever curious and evolving.

"I’ve worked in the luxury industry, so I would say I am always the youngest there. But in the tech field and startup world, I would say I am with people my age peer."

Surrounded by influential women including Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin (who is 34 years old) and Amber Lounge Founder Sonia Irvine, empowering others through equality is one of the pillars of Nordic Collective.

"I’m privileged to have always been told I can do what I want and be as successful as I dare to dream and work hard for," Janna says. "I think that’s a strong message and belief I have pursued from my roots and Finland."

Nordic Collective on a mission for meaning

Possibly one of the very few silver linings of the COVID-19 health crisis has been its effect on driving society towards a greater future.

As the globe continues to bunker down to fight the unseen enemy, international cross-collaboration is proving to be more important than ever.

"The pandemic has shifted the mindsets of individuals and organisations towards being more compassionate and collaborative," Janna says. "Even though we might be a little physically socially distanced, we are connected and in the same situation.

"During these times it’s more important than ever to come together and collaborate, and I feel we’re doing valuable work here. We’re adding value to Nordic partners through collaborations, partnerships and high-end events.

"We have to work together and figure out the new normality together."

And don’t be mistaken thinking COVID-19 will be the end of galas, soirees and panel discussions.

"The shift here will be, in the end, people will be very selective in the events and business trips they are going to attend," Janna says. "So our job is to create meaningful events and encounters that are worth the time and travel."

With the 2020 Nordic Collective calendar wiped clean, Janna says it was an ideal time to plan for when the world returns to its new norm.

"Now we’re focusing on new opportunities, growing and evolving – 2020 wasn’t cancelled; it’s been postponed," she says.

"A lot can be done virtually, but in the end, people will come together."

Feature image: Elina Simonen

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