Johanna Lundan is a 35-year-old entrepreneur and active change maker based in Finland.
Johanna comes from a family of entrepreneurs and has been an entrepreneur her whole life, running the operations of the 2 family businesses: a car business of selling, renting and maintaining used cars and a real estate business of buying, selling and renting commercial and business properties.
She also runs her own business of consulting and training and is an editor for an online lifestyle magazine called Stylefellow. She is a certified teacher and have been teaching on Strategy and Sustainable Leadership.
Johanna Lundan has been the National President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Finland in 2015, JCI Vice President in 2016 and JCI European Development Council Chairperson in 2018.
With all your different hats, how do you make your priorities?
I don’t consider myself as a very organized person, but I get the things done that need to be done through prioritization. I have made a policy to work during my office hours but when I am at home I can relax and take my mind off of these topics. I have allowed myself not to work in the evenings or weekends. This is how I get my energy focused.
How do you make your decisions?
Facts are important but the things have to feel right as well. The intuition part is very important. To give a concrete example, last year I initiated a monthly article series to promote finish jewellery designers and companies doing jewelleries in Finland on Stylefellow. I was a strong believer that this would be a good thing when the others in the magazine were more hesitant. It’s my intuition that told me to push to do that. At the end of the year, we’ll open a public vote competition to elect the “Jewel of the year”.
How did you become a Global Goals and Sustainable Leadership enthusiast and advocate?
In 2014, I was about to become the National President of JCI Finland and we had in our strategy the promotion of Sustainable Leadership. So, I started to explore more on the topic. Sustainable Leadership is still an emerging field in science. Basically, it is combining the principles of sustainable development to the principles of good leadership.
In 2015, the Global Goals were set by the UN and JCI was at one of the working sessions to get involved and committed to those goals. I was running for JCI Vice President and I learned more about them and I realized that Sustainable Leadership and the Global Goals are connected and that got me even more enthusiastic. It was quite inspirational, I’ve been at the UN three times and I got a new wave of enthusiasm a year ago when I was teaching at the University of Applied Sciences about Sustainable Leadership and we took the Global Goals as part of the studies for the students. I realized how the young people are excited to create a better future.
Sometimes we are too polarized to think just about climate change and that’s an easy topic to speak about but to truly make a change, we need to also take a look at the causes as a whole and how all the things are linked and how in business we can work toward the Global Goals. At first sight, it can be considered as a “charity” but if you dig into the topic, you realize that it can be heavily linked into the business and you can create financial well-being through the Goals. It is really important to understand that as well.
How do you apply Sustainable Leadership in your activity?
By simple things like considering: Are we treating people fairly, how do we make the people feel? If companies in our premises have financial troubles, we’re trying to be flexible with them and help them figure out how they can make it up and be profitable again. We want companies that are here for a long term and do good and that the people working there also do good. Whereas some others would push the people out just for the sake of the money.
How did you decide to do an MBA and what are your takeaways?
I had a Bachelor Degree from the University of Applied Sciences, and I had the ambition of teaching which in Finland requires a higher degree. So, I decided to run for the M.B.A program.
I did my thesis about Personal Growth and Development which was very fruitful and still a current and interesting topic. My study was cross scientific as it was about business but philosophy and psychology as well. This supported my background as an educator/trainer to know more about how can people fulfil their potential and become the best version of them.
Is there an accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?
In 2015, as JCI Finland National President, I approached the President of the Republic of Finland and didn’t meet him but his Chief of Staff. I explained the main themes of the year that JCI Finland was working on and I mentioned a “new word” Muutosmyötärinta which means the 3positive attitude towards change”.
It is a word that came up during a workshop where the “negative attitude towards change” had been highlighted as a root cause to challenges that we had as a society.
Later he gave me a phone call asking if the President of Finland could use the word in his speech and, some days later, the President mentioned it when opening the governmental year. I got goose bumps when reading the news and seeing the clips of the speech and the Prime Minister tweeting about it. JCI Finland was not mentioned as being the source of the idea for the President to use this word but, some months later, I got invited to the very select celebration event of Independence Day, organized by the President, among high society attendees.
What was really amazing, was to showcase that by simply being active, brave and speaking about the things that are important to you, there can be an avalanche of things that bring very nice memories.
Is there a particular failure that you learned a lot from?
There were some speed bumps in our business caused by a third party and it didn’t end well and we had to take the blame also monetary wise. In that process I learned: “don’t worry about the things you cannot control”. This experience helped me improve my stress management and to create some boundaries between home and the office. You don’t have to be 24/7 thinking about your business. Use your energy on the matters that you can change and allow yourself to recharge.
What is your message to women in business?
Trust in yourself. Often women might think that their skills or talent are not good enough and their ideas are not good enough. Trust in yourself that you are good enough. And you are probably more than good enough. In many cases, women are much more competent, much more skillful and talented that the guys are. Guys know better how to promote themselves and this helps them grow. Trust in yourself that you are more than good enough!
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