Entrepreneurial sparring for creative individuals

Executive Director Pekka Krook and film student Lotta-Kaisa Riistakoski like to meet early in the morning for their mentoring sessions.
Aalto-yliopisto/Alumni/Mentorointi

Executive Director Pekka Krook likes to think of himself as a professional sparrer.

He is the director of Diges ry, the Finnish association for the development of Finnish creative industries, which he also helped establish ten years ago. The association’s team of 5 experts advises entrepreneurs in the creative industries.

‘I spend around 70% of my time sparring people. I meet artists and would-be creative entrepreneurs for one-hour or even day-long sessions all around Finland. I provide them with guidance and advice on how to conduct their business or commercialise their services. In addition to this, I also lead our association’s team of experts. We also conduct assessments and strategy work for the associations and ministries in the field.

Krook’s work is closely related to mentoring, and he has been an active participant in the mentoring programme that was initiated last autumn. His first mentee was film student Lotta-Kaisa Riistakoski from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

‘At first I thought that I had set my expectations too high, since I had requested a mentee who could raise the bar to record-breaking heights. I was beginning to suspect that such a person didn’t exist, but then I was paired with Lotta-Kaisa. I’m interested in people who possess a great deal of potential,’ notes Krook.

Riistakoski is a master’s student of film production and she will graduate in spring 2013.

‘My final thesis is a script for a full-length movie. My major focuses on film and TV production, but I’ve approached my own authorship with a wider-ranging focus. Writing is an old passion that I’ve been able to rekindle again,’ Riistakoski says.

Her goal is to establish a production company with two other classmates. Krook also has experience in running his own TV production company.

‘This was a match made in heaven, basically. There’s this one saying that he is especially fond of, which is that your dreams will always remain dreams if you never do anything to achieve them. Pekka has also introduced me to a bunch of interesting people. He has a formidable network of contacts.

The pair usually schedules their meetings in the morning, beginning at 7.30 am sharp.

‘This way, I can fit our meetings in my schedule and still be at work by quarter past nine. Mentoring is not all about scheduling, notes Pekka Krook, but he commends his mentee for never being late.

Riistakoski is a keen learner in other ways as well, as she has kept a diary of every meeting.

‘It helps us focus our discussion for each meeting, and I’m certain that it’ll be of great help in the future as well. Since I’m about to graduate, the mentoring process came at just the right time, as this has helped boost my confidence as well. Pekka has helped me discover my strengths and he has encouraged me to try even harder.

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