"Diversity is the thing every company should embrace", Jan Schmidt
A few weeks ago, we had an interesting conversation with Jan Schmidt. Before we go into details about it, let me give you some brief information about Jan. Originally from Germany, he graduated with a degree in Insurance Business and Economics from Berufsschule zu Kiel. He has been living in Finland for 7 years now and prior to that, spent 10 years living in the UK. Besides being a CEO and Founder of 1Step Business Development Service, he is also an Event and Community Manager of Njetworking – a co-working and office space in Oulu. Njetworking was born to help businesses to network and you can find more about their mission here: https://www.njetworking.com
During the conversation we had, Jan revealed he had previous experience in entrepreneurship before he arrived in Finland. He started to learn Finnish like everyone else in order to communicate with people around him. Nowadays, he has a basic understanding of Finnish language in daily life. On a more regular base he is using English when a situation requires more of his understanding.
However, he emphasized that learning Finnish was not his top priority. Then what was the first thing he focused on doing when he moved to Finland? The answer is: “Network, network, and network to build the trust and the connection with the people here”.
Not only that. “Stop wandering around your comfort zone. You need to go out and showcase yourself, try to interact with people and listen to their stories. It’s important that you show them who you are and what you can do for them. Remember that no one will come and ask you to join their team if they know nothing about you.”
To him, diversity is the thing that every company should embrace. The different skills set and the cultural background in each person can enhance the development of a business. Cultural diversity creates an impact on a professional level. Sadly Finnish society is still reluctant to take the chance to embrace diversity. It is a challenge which can not be solved easily. There is a need to create more events or programs where native and non-native Finnish speakers can communicate and bond with each other.
“Internationals always need to make a great effort to integrate to a foreign society”, Jan concludes.