Written by Paula Blomster.
You are on the newly established blog page of the MPI Finland Chapter. My name is Paula, and I had the pleasure to start my term as the president of our active chapter in July 2016. Our current board of directors have committed themselves to produce blog posts this term. You are also welcome to send material in Finnish or English, if you wish to share something with all of us relating to our industry or MPI at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY I JOINED MPI
I moved from Copenhagen to Helsinki in 2011 and became a MPI member soon after. I wanted to have influence in our industry, but managing a one-woman office, even for a very large Swiss corporation, was not doing the trick. Though my employer had remained the same, my work tasks and working conditions had changed completely. In Denmark, the travel industry, including international meeting and events business, is considered an important economic sector. There are resources for promotion, the newspapers follow actively whether Denmark is losing its competitive edge on the global event markets, politicians work actively to get large international conventions to Copenhagen and different actors within the industry work closely together for a common good.
In Helsinki, there were not enough big international congresses for my employer to invest in additional staff and I could have continued working as an official housing agent or a PCO for pharmaceutical conferences. I started organizing incentive tours, and in order to have enough sales I still worked with projects in Copenhagen and Stockholm. The co-operation with Finnish suppliers was somewhat different to the Danes, who are known as a very productive work force – but still I had problems to understand why a Danish company could send an offer within seven minutes when for a Finnish company to send a competing offer could take in some cases several days. While the Danish suppliers protected our interests and gave us 20% commissions, in Finland I was often competing against my suppliers as the end client was receiving the same rates as I did.
So here I was back home, facing challenges of not having enough business and with quite weak supplier relationships in a country that seemed to be suffering from a post-Nokia-trauma. But I knew that there is a better future to fight for. All I needed was to coordinate efforts with others. I joined MPI Finland. My aspirations were purely to promote the industry, but becoming member has given a number of positive things which I could not have imagined.
My industrial promotion aspirations have given me an opportunity to find new colleagues and friends around the globe
FRIENDS & SOLID BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
MPI is a true community. Coming to a MPI event is pleasant, people greet warmly - for Finnish standards we hug a lot- and wish to hear how everything is going. Meeting people in an informal manner creates solid business relationships. When I still was working as a planner and looked for a certain service in a company, I would naturally call the MPI member within the sales staff, even if a different person had been appointed as my Key Account Manager. You also remember more quickly those suppliers who are active in the MPI activities and you unconsciously start preferring them.
SOULMATES FOUND AROUND THE GLOBE
We chapter leaders work on a voluntary basis, even when we already are employed in the most stressful jobs within the labor market. However, I felt that working for the education team I created so many new contacts, that it actually sped up doing my own tasks. What I did not know when I took my position as VP of Education was that the MPI International would invest in us. So it was an amazingly nice surprise that I was sent together with the President and VP of Membership for a two-day training/meeting for a European Chapter Business Summit (ECBS). Suddenly my MPI Community grew with new soul sisters and brothers, who are challenged with the same issues in their own chapters. You connect with the foreign MPI board colleagues immediately, they are equally a bit crazy as you, spending free time trying to reach something better.
Our discussions continue even after the face-to-face meetings. For example, this past summer our whatsapp group for European leaders was very active not only on business-related issues: We were passing our condolences to our British friends after Brexit and England’s lost soccer game against tiny Iceland, we checked that our colleagues were o.k. after the attacks in Nice and Munich and we were simultaneously informed about the development of the failed coup in Istanbul, better than the media itself!
It has been a joyful ride, which I can only recommend to others!
EASY PARTICIPATION TO EMEC
The European Chapter Business Summit is organized just prior to the European Meeting and Events Conference (EMEC) in the city of the conference. This is a great way to introduce to your employer an excellent educational session, as the flight tickets have already been purchased by MPI International.
I recommend that every MPI member participate in EMEC. It gives the maximum benefit of your membership. The 2.5-days-conference has a moderate cost, but has an excellent industry-related program with many parallel educational sessions. You can make a program that suits your needs and during the breaks and plenary connect with your international colleagues. The first evening you dine in a spectacular local place the second night is devoted for a party. The next EMEC will be held in March in Granada, Spain- please join us, if you only can!
MEET MR. MINISTER
I have also managed to advance my industry promotional aspirations within MPI. It is much easier to get in touch with a political leader when you speak in the name of a group, not only for your own interest. As one of the founding pillars of the MPI is to be the “voice of the industry”, there is a lot of support to be found from MPI International in the form of studies and expertise. We took advantage of all that support when, in co-operation with other actors, we organized a meeting headed by our Minister for Foreign Trade Kai Mykkänen and the Chair of MPI Board Fiona Pelham. Here is the link for that event, that took place beginning of September:
So summing up; my industrial promotion aspirations have given me an opportunity to find new colleagues and friends around the globe, to upgrade my theoretical skills in our industry-related matters and to practice my jamming moves on the dance floor in the various MPI parties. Being part of the MPI board has also created solid business relations and business opportunities. It has been a joyful ride, which I can only recommend to others!