Through Amcham, Rauli Mård found a professional team, entered the U.S. market and scaled up his artist-centric business. Now he’s the Amchampion of the Year 2016.

It all started two years ago in a café in the city of Lahti. Artist Rauli Mård was reading the latest Ilta-Sanomat, Finland’s evening newspaper.

On the front page he saw a photo of Amcham’s C.E.O., Kristiina Helenius, with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, in Times Square.

“What on earth is this?” he asked as he pulled up Amcham’s website on Google.

Today, Rauli is making the most of the Amcham platform to build relationships and advance his rapidly growing art business. He took home this year’s Amchampion of the Year Award, that recognizes an active individual member in the community.

When you think of an international business hub like Amcham, an original such as Rauli may not be the first person that comes to mind.

But that just goes to show that any kind of business can use the range of benefits that Amcham has to offer.

“From the beginning I tried to keep an open mind. I guess everyone was a bit surprised when I joined the community, but in a good way.”

Since becoming a member, Rauli has made great use of the Defence Industry Dialogue. He’s done two live art shows at Finland’s International Airshows in Turku in 2015 as well as this year in Kuopio.

He’s also had his own art exhibition in Times Square.

“I try to evolve every day, to get out of my comfort zone. I have always been curious about life, people, and their experiences. Art is my instrument to explore other things and other people. Amcham is my channel.”

Rauli also uses the Amcham network to find new connections. “Being a member of Amcham is almost like to going to school, I learn something valuable every time I walk in the door.”

“I’ve fallen in love with the atmosphere and spirit. Amcham is full of hope and dynamism.”

Like most things in life, the more you give to the Amcham network, the more you get. Rauli has gone above and beyond, and it’s paid off.

“To see without prejudice is the most important part of how I view Amcham, with an open mind and open eyes.”

The Amchampion Awards are an annual event in which the Amcham community recognizes those members that have really gone above and beyond – those Amchampions who have taken it upon themselves to go the extra mile in improving the business environment and facilitating Amcham’s mission.