Kai is a professional actor and a coach. A firm beliver in acceptance and positivity, failing and trying again, he is on a mission to help others enjoy being themselves on stage. His course at the Aalto University Business School ”Meet the Stage, Public Speaking and Interaction Skills” has been described by students as the single best course of their university studies. Oh, and should we mention that he has two master’s degrees, one in acting and another in Economics.”Stop worrying, start delivering.” kaibackstrom.com
Bruce, originally from New York, is the former United States Ambassador to Finland. He’s a lawyer, a businessman and a lecturer at Aalto University.
On stage Bruce tells numerous memorable and positive stories. He engages the crowd with carefully chosen words and tones. Bruce is able to touch, inspire and educate the audience, and still remains relaxed and humorous.
Elina is a Helsinki-based professional actress and coach in public speaking and communication. Elina helps organizations to create a culture of acceptance and positivity. She encourages people to break their boundaries and to embrace the skill of happy failing. Elina’s presentation courses at Aalto University have been highly appreciated for over thirteen years. Besides universities she has been coaching numerous companies and societies. Her goal and desire is to help one find their own, personal way to speak and perform. elinaalto.fi
Elsa has a dynamic and creative way of coaching stage presence and interaction skills. She desires performers and speakers to find their personal way to be on stage. She is helping to find the personal way to use body language, voice technique, and emotions. She works as a presentation and interaction coach at Ervasti Consulting Oy. Elsa is interested in start-ups, innovations, education business and wellness through arts.
André is a smiling fellow from Montreal, Canada, and a former senior advisor to Veikkaus. Nowadays he uses his positivity and energy as a business consultant, a writer, and a keynote speaker.
On stage André is known for his vibrant, international and entertaining style. He’s able to make his audience laugh and even sing. André speaking might be the closest thing to the sincere passion you can hear.
Saku Tuominen is a Finnish entrepreneur who has founded several companies He has been teaching creativity and innovation in more than a hundred companies around the world, and in Aalto University in Helsinki. He has also written 10 books; about innovation, the future of office work, good life, human belief systems, everyday creativity, and Italian cuisine.
At the moment he concentrates only on improving K12 education globally and his main project is HundrED in which he is the founder and the creative director. He lives in Helsinki, Finland and in Paterno, Italy.
On stage Linda is herself: she isn’t afraid of showing emotion and inspires people with her spontaneous presence. Her constant smile and never-ending passion transmits to the audience and makes the presentation memorable.
Henkka is a creative director, a founder of several companies, a published author, and a well-known media personality. He has got several awards for his skills as a radio and television host.
On stage, Henkka is a passionate storyteller who engages his crowd with real life case examples. Those, combined with scientific research and his authentic style, inspire and challenge people to question their previous knowledge.
Elina is passionate about meaningful relationships and good communication. She has a Master’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Helsinki, and BSc in Interactive Technology. Though, instead of focusing on localising softwares, she decided to explore “friends with benefits” relationships in Helsinki and San Francisco in her MA thesis. Sounds like fun, right? In the process, she realised that people have a very strong desire to talk about their sex lives to someone trusted.
After graduating from Behavioural Sciences, Elina did a degree in sexual counselling and started a practice in personal and couple counselling. On top of that, she has a content production business (blog and podcast), and she arranges matchmaking murder mystery dinners and hosts corporate events. Alongside her businesses, she has worked for many years in international tech startup-companies in marketing and communications.
Elina is always ready for new opportunities and to get the adrenaline and positive energy flow on stage. On stage, she talks about the concept of “finding the One”, and gives answers to why romantic relationships don’t work nowadays the way we expect them to. Even if relationships change in this modern world – love will always stay in fashion!
Sini is a happy banana: yellow on the outside, white on the inside. And this banana has been around. Having lived in four different countries and worked in everything from real estate economics to cosmetics chemistry before landing in tech means that out of the box is the norm here. Sini doesn’t shy away from challenges. Jumping into the deep end and then learning to swim has proven tedious, yet rewarding once it’s over.
There is one essential trait that she believes will save the world: empathy. Caring about others and the world isn’t a luxury we can skimp on. With her down to earth talk, Sini wants to achieve two goals. First, to overcome her worst fear: public speaking. Second, to bring world peace, one kitchen at a time.
Half-Finnish, half-Norwegian, with a soul burning for expression, Heikki has more than a decade of experience in storytelling and the performing arts. He thrives both behind the camera as a cinematographer as well as in front of it and on stage as an actor, dancer and musician. He finds inspiration in deep-digging conversations, silent moments with dear friends and is always up for a good read, be it a book, a magazine or a Whatsapp message.
Since his edge-seeking paratrooper training in the Finnish army special forces, Heikki has been on a quest to explore the various facets of masculinity. Somewhat surprisingly, that stereotypically masculine environment proved to be rich with nuance and color; the exceptionally strong bond between a small group of men allowed multiple kinds of masculinity to prosper. Around their campfire, the simplified definitions of manhood and masculinity have given way to appreciative dialogue, unmasked emotions and conscious vulnerability. For our own wellbeing and, above all, for the trust and connection between us and our beloved: it is time to truly man up!
Content creator, marketing creative, tech enthusiast and a walking jukebox. Our Jessica finds her energy in life when she is travelling, having amazing encounters with people she meets on her adventures, when she is splashing colors on a white canvas in her flat or spending time in the Finnish archipelago. She is all about positive energy and attitude towards whatever occurs in life. Jessica has been hosting and speaking at several tech events in the Nordics and Asia. Entering the stage, she always makes sure to deliver her energy to the audience and create a connection from the first moment – never leaving a person cold.
With three world championship gold medals under her belt, Jessica is taking the Talk the Talk stage to share her story on what she learned during her time as a junior figure skater and how millennials should take it easy, breathe and just live life.
“Give society the tools, and they will build the world they want to see tomorrow” is Stephany Mazon’s motto. She believes the tools are science and technology, and the way to hand them out is through effective science communication. Stephany is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) of the University of Helsinki. This Mexican superstar is the Communications Officer of the Pan-Eurasian Experiment Project, a program to tackle environmental challenges by combining research, policy-making and education.
Her passion for storytelling has inspired her to find platforms for science outside the academic realm. She co-hosts the podcast of The Science Basement, an association providing science communication opportunities for young researchers. She is leading an urban art project to take science to the streets of Helsinki, and has given a TEDxHelsinkiUniversity talk on the importance of science communication. She believes that only by blurring the lines between science, art and technology can we solve the global challenges we are facing.
On stage, Stephany will inspire you with her bubbly personality. After all, the world needs more scientists rocking the stage!
Dakota is a force of empowerment to reckon with. Having his father leave when he was 9 months old and growing up dyslexic, with an eating disorder and a highly sensitive personality, he didn’t have the best possible cards to begin with. And being transgender in a small town certainly didn’t help. Dakota has had more than his share of struggles, yet without them, he wouldn’t have grown into one of the most understanding, energetic and simply fun people around. The insecurities of youth have given way to an inspiring leader who vibrates goodwill, confidence and passion for life. Dakota is a real diamond.
Now this unapologetic life enthusiast travels the world, educating all kind of professionals like social workers on peace skills. His superpower is understanding why people do what they do, and he puts his skill to good use by creating human connections and bringing people together. With his positive energy and endless intensity, Dakota will challenge you to live life fearlessly, and inspire you to be who you truly are – without trying to fit in. Just do you, and let others do them!
Among his friends, Jonne is best known as the ‘productivity junkie’. Not surprisingly, this personality trait often leads to extremes: instead of enjoying a night out with his friends, Jonne might decide to spend some quality time honing his weekly routines or exploring the newest productivity apps on the App Store. Considering this, Jonne often wonders how he has any friends to begin with.
Being productive 24/7 has led Jonne to start a business, a non-profit and an investment club at a rather young age, but it has also taught him about the adverse effects of high expectations and constant comparison. After being diagnosed with stress-based OCD and depression, he knew he had gone a smidge too far. Enlightened by his experiences, he now aims to steer millenials away from the “culture of comparison” – in other words, guide them to live their lives instead of comparing them.
On stage, Jonne’s addiction to productivity translates into unstoppable energy and flow – you have to see it to believe it. He is like caffeine to the audience. Jonne encourages listeners to question their beliefs and always motivates them to take action. When Jonne speaks, something always sticks.
A philosopher by heart and a performer by nature, Karri loves both broadening one’s thinking and engaging with the audience when on stage. While working at the University of Helsinki, he gave talks in e.g. Rome and Hawaii on such diverse topics as systemic risks and energy consumption of saunas. Whatever the topic is, Karri believes that before delivering your content, you need to make an emotional connection.
Karri has written three novels and just published his first game. He is on a mission to learn how to have a larger impact – how to reach more people and give them something valuable. His topic is a curious fact we often miss: every single one of us is a leader, whether we choose it or not.
A native Kurdish Syrian, Araa used to volunteer around the Middle East to help children into a brighter future. In 2013, however, when he was 23 old, Araa’s life took a dramatic turn. Escaping the war in his native Syria, this civil engineer had to leave everything normal behind and become the master of his own ship. After working numerous jobs in Iraq and Turkey, he ended up, of all places, in Finland.
He cherishes the memories of his hometown, family, and old friends. That is Araa’s happy place. This music-loving creative, however, isn’t one to live in the past. Araa believes there are many ways you can build confidence in yourself, and over the course of his wild history, he has overcome several obstacles others would deem insurmountable. Now speaking fluent Finnish and believing every obstacle can be conquered, he has been able to build a new wonderful life in this strange country.
Araa has a unique, downplayed charm that shines through in his crisp, intelligent delivery. He will make you think, he will make you wonder and he will spark your curiosity. Most of all, however, Araa will make you see that no one is “just a refugee”.
As an enthusiasm junkie, Aliisa often finds herself bursting with zest for new things. Aliisa loves bringing joy to the world, whether it is by crafting Valentine’s cards to lonely seniors or hosting a cake party for her friends. She also thinks there’s not enough rap songs about being kind to people around you.
Aliisa is burning to make the world a better place through human connections. This led her to study social psychology, and later brought her to work with enabling people to give and get more positive feedback. Aliisa has seen how people get blown away by personal recognition. She has also experienced the strong impact of giving or only witnessing sincere appreciation.
Being more confident in speaking than rapping, Aliisa will share her insights about the power of appreciation on Talk the Talk stage. TTT is also a journey for Aliisa to accept her vulnerabilities. Learning to love imperfection and embracing mistakes are part of the personal growth Aliisa is now pursuing. Her humble charm and unrelenting enthusiasm will captivate you and get you to see possibilities where you previously saw problems.
Milla is stepping on the Talk the Talk stage to share a personal story. Struggling with a rare eye disease, she is a real-life example that things may not always go according to plan. Hers is a message of positivity and making the best out of shitty situations.
At the moment, Milla is studying corporate communication at Aalto University. She is curious by nature and loves to ask questions. As a writer, she has always felt comfortable expressing herself in text, but now she seeks to be more expressive in front of an audience. On stage, she wants to question the prerequisites of good life. What are you held back by?
Tuija is a geographer whose vision is to make the world a better place by using means of the newest technologies. She is a Singularity University’s Global Solution Program 2017 participant, and a co-founder of Oasify, a start-up which makes unproductive land productive again using dredging waste. She has worked years among development cooperation like in Nicaragua, where she is a co-founder in a sustainable forest management co-op, and in Nepal, where she worked as an technical advisor for 2,5 years to assist the local government to make a national forest inventory so they could participate in UN’s carbon credit system. Currently, she works as an urban analyst solving how to make urban areas happy place to live.
Tuija will question your current knowledge on concept of work and job in the perspective of future. On stage she is stimulating and encouraging. Her approach to view the world is problem-solving centered and you can feel it in her utmostly optimist attitude when she is on the stage. To convey her message, she is not afraid of awaking feelings like fear or sadness in the audience.
Max, 18, has been a volunteer at Slush and studied finance and economics in Columbia University, NYC, in the summer of 2017. With the intention to pursue his studies and career in either abroad or in Finland, he wishes to fulfill his passion in making the world a better place. Max is worried about the challenges of the future, but knows, that with the right approach, anything can be solved.
Eager to share his message with as many people as he can, Max takes his passion with him to the stage. He tries to provoke thought in his audience by proposing solutions to large-scale issues, but knowing that he does not have the answer. Max thinks it is important to connect with his audience on an emotional level, because for him, a speech is a dialogue with each individual in the crowd.
Currently pursuing M.Sc. at Aalto University in Information Service Management, Miika is a typical millennial: hungry to learn and develop. He is curious of the intersection between human and technology, sustainable future and e-sports. He shares the passion to improve our common future by shaping a more inclusive and collaborative society. He is always up for a spontaneous coffee to hear new stories and thoughts – so feel free to drop him a message.
On stage, Miika believes more in true uniqueness than pure perfection. He thinks that the message is not delivered through what you say, but how and why you say it. Despite the crowd size, he is always well prepared and tries to bring something new. In his talks, Miika strives to provoke and bend the common thinking to create meaningful call-to-action or thought to stay in the mind. He loves the growing tension before walking to the stage and lets it show.
Shreya is at an intersection of being a designer by profession and a researcher at heart, which helps her bring out meaningful outcomes at work and personally. She is on the run trying to innovate as she goes, exploring all kinds of spaces and audiences where she can put her design and empathy skills to use, wanting to create an impact. She worked at Amsterdam MediaLab – where she did design research on how interactive screens and content could bring citizens closer creating meaningful encounters. She took this research forward, trying to test it in other forms of media and spaces. Its about looking back to make sure you have all the insights and stories filed up and looking ahead, grabbing the opportunity to put it to use by constantly connecting dots.
She was recently awarded the ‘Excellence in User Experience’ for contributing to an organisation that innovates to create futuristic and user friendly digital experiences and wants to continue contributing to institutions that aim to create impact. Also, she lives a parallel healthy life to draw in quality, which helps her break away for a while and head back to the other parallel after a refresh. Her love for the hills takes her to the Himalayas every now and then and has a bunch of treks planned for the next three years. Currently she is training to be a Solo Paragliding Pilot. Come take a flight with her.
Aaron is a second-year student in Etelä-Tapiolan lukio. Time after time he gets passionately interested in new stuff and ideas, which are weird more often than not. When Aaron is passionate about something he is ready to go far from his comfort zone to achieve his goals. While aforementioned ideas only last for so long, books have been Aaron’s loyal companion from the second he learned to read.
On stage, Aaron believes in knowing what he wants to say and then determinedly following through. If you got someone’s attention, you must strike them with words, like a fighter throwing a combination to the gut and a left hook to the jaw – in a gentle way. Because if your message isn’t strong enough to affect the audience without any help from rethorics, it’s not worth saying it at all.
Silky salsa hips, sloppy rap lines and climate worries – Johannes, a sustainability engineer 24 years of age, is to set our world back on track before arrival at Destination Fucked! Our growing desire for material is the most worrying tendency according to him, who though sees the problem as exciting challenge awaiting to be solved. On his various endeavours abroad, he’s learned to live with very little, and has found minimalism a pleasant way of life to fight distractions and materialism at home too, which he recommends for all to try. Also, Johannes is intensively engaged in the Helsinki startup community, organizing the annual Slush Helsinki event and helping the next generation of tech founders forward.
The proudly nominated “Hype-Man” of his university basketball team, Johannes will ignite the crowds just like he does his teammates on the court. Loud and clear!
Starting as a civil engineer in St.Petersburg, Anna moved to Helsinki to pursue a degree in design and business management. Finland became the alma mater, eye-opener and a gateway for the rest of the world. Being constantly attracted to new experiences, she has lived and worked in different countries and believes in global citizenship. Anna loves to take the role of a medium for all unseen and unheard. At Talk the Talk, she will tell the story of Finnish karting pro-league.
Anna has been on stage since early childhood, first as an animal character in child plays and later as a part of stand up comedy team. Her talks are very emotional and always refracted through the prism of personal experience. Anna coached speakers of TEDxAaltoUniversity and believes that public speaking is a skill that anyone can master.
Ilene is a bachelor student in automation and information technology at Aalto University. Before Aalto, she had an adventure in Sweden where she studied medicine at Umeå University. Ilene enjoys theatre both in and out the audience, but her true love is poetry. These arts have always been a gateway for Ilene.
On stage, she can finally be whatever she wants to be without any burdens or boundaries. Through poetry Ilene mirrors her inner self and pursues the deepest layers of her mind. Despite her background in theatre, public speeches are new to her. Talk the Talk is an opportunity to better her skills but first and foremost it is an opportunity to get her voice heard.
An anthropologist by training and a media communications professional by trade, Arttu is curious about culture and society in many ways. On a mission to constantly develop himself, he applied to Talk the Talk 2017 to unlearn everything he thought he knew about public speaking. Arttu is also a keen and expressive writer, who looks to remain on top of current events and news. Because before you can talk the talk, you need to learn to listen.
As an energetic, fast-talking person in any situation, Arttu takes this same energy onto the stage too. Even for large crowds, he strives to talk to everyone as a close friend by drawing cues from his listeners. For him, even a monologue is a conversation. Talking on stage he takes up a lot of space to get closer to his audience, both mentally and physically. In the end, Arttu talks in order to hear and shares in order to learn more.
According to his mom, Manuel is handsome, funny and smart. Besides that, he is a young soul that is heavily interested in human behavior, psychology, communication and learning. At the age of 17, he started helping people with social anxiety 1-1 and wrote a book. For the past 4 years now, Manuel has been incredibly fortunate to learn from amazing people at Supercell. He aims at constantly surrounding himself with people that are much smarter than him in private and professional life, in order to learn and grow.
When in front of people, he’s passionately driven by the chance to contribute something of value to every person listening. What you see on stage is who he is off-stage. Fairly comfortable in front of people, he enjoys genuine interactions, dislikes scripts or too much structure, and believes that spontaneity is a key ingredient of any engaging speaker.
Markus started his first company when he was 18-years old and since that has been an entrepreneur in the fields of marketing, media, event management and IT. Now he works as an IT-entrepreneur and studies finance at Aalto University School of Business. He’s passionate about big data and algorithms; his mission is to understand everyday human decisions better through psychology and statistics.
Markus is a passionate performer who is eager to excite and to offer people something to think. He is also a natural entertainer with over one hundred gigs and speeches under his belt.
Katariina is a science, design and people enthusiast from Aalto University, where she studies architecture and business. In everything she does, she is driven by curiosity and a willingness to constantly learn and develop herself. Katariina loves to take chances and get out of her comfort zone. She keeps finding herself in interesting and sometimes even peculiar events and places – this time giving a speech on stage at Talk the Talk.
On stage, Katariina is a positive and passionate speaker, who wants to make people pay attention to their thoughts and the reasons behind them. She’s not afraid of thinking on a big scale or question every opinion you or even she has. As a dancer, she has a lively non-verbal communication. Until now most of her on-stage experience is dancing, and she is just now starting to find her voice on stage, too.
Miki is a dynamic package of analytical psychology and sales-oriented mindset. He is a business student at Aalto University and has always been deeply fascinated by marketing and understanding people. This passion has led him to various sales-related tasks and projects. He thinks that in the end everything on our planet is about the interaction between people and he is hugely enthusiastic to deepen his expertise and understanding in this grandeur.
On stage Miki is charming and energetic, often spicing his performance with a little touch of intellectual humor. Whether being in front of a big audience or in a face-to-face conversation, for Miki it’s all about being present and grasping the magic of the moment. Regardless of the situation, always when climbing on to the stage he aims to do his thing better than ever before.
Richard’s a digital marketer by trade and a graphical designer by accident. The things that academic methods did not teach him, ended up being learnt through trial and error. Hence, the onset of graphical design into the mix. Having filled in for both job titles, and worked with marketers and designers alike, he’s realized that in order to get best results, you have to think like them, or become like them. Also a big fan of old school blues.
Richard’s a tad hyperactive. That kind of vibe is usually transferred visibly on to the stage. Whether its a theatre performance, or a band gig, there’s usually quite a fair amount of bouncing around. Let’s hope that type of energy is meaningfully applied when talking the actual talk.
Peik wrote his first business plan in ninth grade about an idea of renovating houses. Since then he has always been interested in dreaming and building things. Nowadays, most of his time goes to building his own company. In his free time Peik is either studying at the Aalto School of Business or fixing bicycles in his parents’ garage.
Peik likes to activate his audience with rather interesting or even controversial arguments. He puts often a lot of extra effort to have the perfect supporting material, be it slides, videos or other things, to amplify his points. Peik has been hosting several events in Finnish, Swedish and English both in Finland and abroad.
Sauli is a rebel child from Aalto University School of Business, currently working on Slush, thesis, digital student card and few other ventures. Having entrepreneurship, creativity, tech, blockchain and other weird s**t close to his heart, and an ambition to “do something big”, his experimental mindset lures him continuously into new discomfort zones, this time Talk The Talk. His motto, “beware of bewaring”, describes him probably the best.
Though he has performed in improv theaters and concerts, hosted events and given speeches, his stage fright gets to him on a constant basis. Thus the goal of each stage performance is to try and learn something new. If his stage presence has to be given a description, “awkwardly entertaining and experimental” might be a quite accurate one.
Viljami is a M.Sc. student in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, a video communications professional and a part-time photographer with a passion for travelling and a sustainable future. This tech-minded guy was awarded as the Digital Student of the Year 2016 in Universum Awards.
As a speaker he’s natural and passionate and has experience in hosting various student events, giving speeches and even acting in a musical theater. He’s been described as authentic and inspiring on stage – where he does his best to try, fail, learn, and repeat.
Amanda is a M. Sc. Student in Energy Engineering at Aalto University. At the moment she’s finishing up her master’s thesis at the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT. Studying energy engineering is part of her grand plan to first fully understand the challenges the world faces in terms of energy supply and climate change, and then rolling up her sleeves to do something about it.
On stage Amanda is herself: energetic, smiling and you can really feel her passion shining through. For her, joining Talk The Talk is all about getting more experience and finding her own “on-stage personality.”
Anni is a medical student with a background in research. She’s passionate about disrupting healthcare by developing new approaches to the problems and challenges the industry is faced with now and in the future. Currently working with developing digital services for healthcare, Anni has an open mind and true calling to challenge the ways in which medicine is talked about.
She hopes to make a change by inspiring other young students and researchers to think of medicine more creatively and open-mindedly. On stage she’s energetic, passionate and her enthusiasm reaches everyone listening. She doesn’t like to present many pre-package thoughts, but loves to challenge the audience to think.
Robert is a high school student from Helsinki who works for Entocube, a local startup, and holds leadership positions in a variety of organizations. He’s extremely inspired by the future possibilities and wants to continue learning and developing himself constantly.
On stage Robert focuses on getting his message through to the audience. He wants the youth to realize their value and encourage them to take initiatives. He craves to see more smart, inexperienced youngsters finding their place in startups and other organizations already at a young age.