I am a Finnish entrepreneur and audiovisual executive who love powerful stories and purpose-driven business. Stories to screen and ideas into action.
My background is in media, especially in television and audiovisual storytelling. I am a co-founder of Aito Media, one of the biggest Finnish production companies, which I have run for 20 years as a CEO. After a successful exit, I am a co-founder in Ilkkas’ Creative Studio. A company that focuses on international drama and documentaries. Stories with impact and inspiration.
In addition to meaningful stories, I am involved in businesses that make the world a better place. I am a founder of WEGAN, a company that will bring tasty vegan food to the masses. In addition, I am a partner and chairman in Sitomo, a company that brings psychological safety to workplaces. In addition, I am a board member in the leading Finnish event production company Aku’s Factory.
I am also a podcaster and writer. Today, I am writing a book, IDEACTION: how to put your ideas into action.
Here are three sides of my professional self.
As a producer, I am at my best in creating stories and overseeing putting them on screens. Big or small, fiction or factual, it does not matter. When the story is good, I love the process. And the good creative teams.
I worked as a founder and CEO of Aito Media from 2001 until 2021. Today, I am am thrilled to create and produce audiovisual through ICS, Ilkkas’ Creative Studio. We focus on international drama and documentaries. I have been lucky to have regular changes to work in the international field. As a leader and media executive, I have led teams and projects all around the globe, from Russia to Australia.
As a leader I have experienced a fun ride from London to Toronto and back to Europe, Paris on the business side. Before joining Lagardère Studios (joined Mediawan 2020), Aito was part of London-based Content Media. I am currently in charge of several international-level fiction series, including Lakeside Murders that premiered in fall 2021, and broke all the records on digital platform Ruutu. I have also created both fiction e.g. ”Dirty Snow (2023)” series and documentaries and podcasts, e.g. ”Finland and the Threat of War?” (2022)
So far, I have produced more than 1700 hours of programs and created multiple long-running and award-winning series in scripted and unscripted genres.*
I am a life-long entrepreneur. When business and purpose grow hand-in-hand, that is one of the most powerful ways to solve different problems. I started my first venture at the age of seventeen to get gigs for my local band. Even, I did not become a rock star (at least that is the case while writing this), entrepreneurship was my thing. I launched a company to focus on journalism and radio and television shows at the age of 20 while I was studying at university. Three years later, the same company was rebranded to Aito Media which became one of the biggest independent production companies in the Nordics. After a four different integration processes in four years (mostly with public companies), and succesfull exit, I decided not to hold a CEO position in any company in the coming years. Instead, I am working from the board with the strategy from the board and with the companies' creative leadership.
I am the founder of Wegan Group. The company's mission is to give access to tasty and easy climate-friendly vegan food to the masses. After visiting Bangladesh or Tanzania as a journalist and director, I got climate change anxiety already 15 years ago. I felt that after seeing a climate change documentary, we got the knowledge. But it did not drive us to action. After a few days, we returned to our old habits, a little more anxious than before. To put a long story short, WEGAN is here to make everyday climate-responsible food actions easier and tastier for all at wegan.com and in physical restaurants. And WEGAN comes from the words we can vegan. We will solve our daily problem to get access to easy, tasty, and affordable climate-friendly food. WEGAN is for anyone who wants to crab a healthier wrap (for both humans and the planet). For me, this is a dream-come-true project. I can live my values by finding ways to grow our audience and customers—every bite counts. And so far, this has been the most extensive learning experience in my entrepreneurial career. I've been fortunate to work virtually with ambitious and highly creative professionals so far in 9 countries. Also, I am happy that our first restaurants are now open in the physical world. And more to come soon.
Currently, I am a partner and a Chairperson of the Board in Sitomo, an advisory company that focuses on psychological safety and brave new leadership. I am working on the growth strategy alongside with CEO. In addition, I am providing some volunteering consultancy to small and mid-size companies to achieve their goals.
WRITER AND LEARNER:
I began to write to newspapers at the age of 17. I have written ever since, the past decade, primarily audiovisual concepts. Currently, I am working on a book IDEACTION: how to put your ideas into action. It will be published in 2023. Unfortunately, too many good ideas will never see the daylight. As much as we need creativity, we also need resilience and execution. My mission with this book is to give tools on how to put ideas into action. The podcast with the same focus will be on air in 2023.
My other current podcast, which I co-host, is about hits and misses running the television production company.
I try to hold my ears and eyes open and learn something new every day. I hold a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. As a lifelong learner, I have done (and will do in the future) selected business studies at Harvard and Oxford Universities.
I am a husband and a father of two daughters. They help me not to take myself too seriously.
*Latest international nominations are:
- Rockie Awards 2021 - Pirjo (producer, short-form fiction), Finnish Crime Mysteries (ep, documentary), The Au-pairs (ep, reality)
- Rockie Awards 2020 - Almost True (ep, fiction)
- TBI's Innovation Awards 2020 - We're All Here (showrunner, live event)
- C21 Format Awards 2020 - The Food Inventors (co-creator, ep, branded)