One night in one of Prague’s bars changed my life, says our Finnish colleague at Wunderman

Our Wunderman colleague, Lauri Hanninen, comes from the “the Silicon Valley of Northern Europe”, the Finnish city, Oulu. He has a great sense of humor, and has recently learned a lot of interesting things thanks to Wunderman’s YouSwap and Talent programs. He has been very kind, and summed them up for us.

Lauri, what do you do at Wunderman, and how long have you been working here?
I joined Wunderman in May 2017, so almost two years ago. I work as an Implementation Project Manager in the Ford Lead Management team. In other words, we work together with Ford Europe and national sales companies to make sure leads are successfully delivered to dealerships, and then we try to improve dealerships’ lead handling performance to ensure that all customers get an excellent customer experience. I like to think we are bridging the gap between marketing and sales.

How do you like it in Prague? And at Wunderman? What do you like here and what don’t you like?
I fell in love with Prague at first sight in 2011 when I visited our beautiful city for the first time, and I’m proud to be able to call Prague my home. Especially, I admire the dark sense of humor Czechs tend to have.

I believe Wunderman’s most valuable resource is its people. Every day, I have a chance to work with great colleagues, who are not just exceptional professionals, but also wonderful people. For me, one of the most important things is to be able to work in an organization with lots of opportunities, and a positive and supportive workplace culture. I’m glad we have all these qualities here in Wunderman. But, yes, there is always a ‘but’. Way too many interesting courses provided by Wunderman are in Czech, and Czech is too difficult a language for normal people to learn. Já vím, já vím. Žiji v Praze téměř tři roky. Měl bych to zvládnout (source: Google Translate).

How did you get to Prague, and how long have you lived here?
I believe it is a pretty normal story: a guy decides to take a student loan so he can go and explore the world. During his trip across Europe, he meets a girl in one of Prague’s smoky bars. After returning to Finland, he realizes that the encounter in the smoky bar turned out to be a turning point in his life. He packs his suitcase and jumps on a plane. The plane landed at Václav Havel Airport on Tuesday, 26th of April 2016, and he felt like he had come home.

Have you ever lived someplace else other than Prague and your hometown?
I basically lived my whole life, before moving to Prague, in Oulu, Finland. Oulu, the “Silicon Valley of Northern Europe”, is approximately 606.94 kilometers north of Helsinki, and ice-hockey fans, which many Czechs are, may recognize it from its famous ice-hockey team Oulun Kärpät. By the way, if you ever happen to walk into Ivan Huml or Petr Tenkrát, please let them know that heroes get remembered but legends never die!

Like almost all men in Finland, I also had a chance to experience Finnish nature in more detail when I joined the army to serve my mandatory military service. My unit, the Jaeger Brigade in Sodankylä, specialized in training soldiers for the harsh climate of Lapland. So, in addition to Oulu, I also lived a year in a forest digging foxholes.

You recently participated in the YouSwap exchange program, managed by Wunderman for employees. The agency sends employees to other worldwide offices for experience. Where and when did you go, and what did it bring you?
Yes, I got an amazing opportunity to spend 2 weeks in London at the Wunderman UK office at the end of last year. I spent most of my time with the project managers on the BT account, and I participated in different meetings and training. The YouSwap programme is one of the best experiences I have had in my professional career so far. Not only did it give me a better picture of how business is done across Wunderman, but I also met fantastic people during my stay. And, being a massive Harry Potter-holic, as I am, having an opportunity to visit Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter was the cherry on top. I bought a pair of green Slytherin socks from there, which serve now as my lucky charm.

But, that‘s not all. You were also part of another Wunderman project – the internal Talent Program.
To be honest, I didn‘t know anything about the program before I was nominated. It was my first performance review meeting with my supervisor, Radek Hradecky, in 2017, when I heard about it for the first time. It was a little bit like Steve Jobs’ famous „Oh yeah, there’s one more thing“ moment, when at the end of the meeting he announced he would be nominating me for the Wunderman Talent Program. I do not recall if Radek was also wearing Jobs’ signature-style turtleneck. I doubt that, but I remember smiling like a lunatic for the rest of the day.

I’m forever thankful to Radek and Gordana Šíma. I have a feeling that she also had something to do with my getting selected for the program, for the opportunity, and showed real interest in my career growth.

Would you recommend it to others? Why? And is it for everybody?
Yes, absolutely. I’m a big advocate of continuous learning. And what better way to do that than through programs like this. People tend to overestimate what they can do in the short-term, and underestimate what they can do in the long-term. Thus, I like how the Talent Program was organized – not just one or two short pieces of training, but a year-long commitment. If you improve 1 % every day, at the end of the year you will be 37 times better, right? I’m not saying I’m now 37 times better than I was before, but I am much more equipped to take on the challenges that come my way. So, if you want to take your performance to the next level, then our Talent Program is definitely for you.


10 things that I learned on the Talent Program
  1. I learned a lot about myself. At the beginning of the program, we did a psychological test which gave all of us insights about ourselves, and this gave me a great foundation for learning.
  2. Thanks to PRINCE2 training, I now have a better understanding of how to have greater control of resources, and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively.
  3. My mentoring sessions with David Lhota have given me more than I can express, and I feel his experience and knowledge of business has had a real impact on me. If you ever get a chance to meet with him, listen very carefully because there is so much you can learn from him.
  4. I also spent time with Tomas Tetour, a great storyteller, who introduced me to the world of marketing automation. It’s time to say goodbye to mundane, repetitive tasks in the workplace: Automation is finally taking off!
  5. I obviously must include YouSwap in this list too, but I don’t think there is a need to emphasize how important and educational an experience it was for me.
  6. Did you know the average person spends 28 % of the work week reading and responding to email? Me neither, but after I participated in a time-management training course, I learned to plan and control how I spend the hours in a day to effectively accomplish my goals.
  7. Milan Janecký showed me how Artificial Intelligence and marketing are getting more and more intertwined. If you are not yet familiar with the CK Fischer campaign, I encourage you to check it out and see yourself how AI can boost marketing.
  8. People are important. During the past year, I have met a lot of new people – colleagues, trainers, managers, board members, you name it. These occasions have taught me that each new person presents a whole new world of opportunities. We should all always try to embrace them.
  9. Martin Zikmund, who helps people and businesses find and mobilize their resources, has been helping me to activate my internal potential. He convinced me to try meditation as a part of my learning process. My current meditation streak is now 36 days and counting (10+ hours), and I feel better than ever.
  10. Lastly, I learned that Wunderman really offers us great opportunities to improve ourselves.

Kategorie: Agentura, Data, Wunderlidi, Zajímavé projekty