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When one thinks of the most globally savvy person in Finland, Egbert Schram comes to mind – and with the data and statistics to back it up. On top of his cultural awareness, garnered through a career of helping businesses make the most of cultural differences, it’s his generosity and excellent use of the Amcham Finland community as a resource that have earned him this year’s Amchampion of the Year award. Congratulations!

We visited the Itim International Oy offices to have a talk with Egbert and learn a thing or two about the place where people, culture and business intersect.

How can you leverage cultural differences to take your company ahead? And why are you so devoted to the Amcham Finland community?

“I take part in Amcham activities because they’re an excellent way to become informed on what’s going on in the world of business, especially in terms of different opinions from the international point of view. You get honest viewpoints. They’re also an integral part to the professional development of my staff,” says Egbert.

Itim’s goal is to make generalized cultural differences explicit, so that companies can make informed decisions on which market to launch a product in, for example, or employees can more quickly integrate into a new market place and become productive.

People can better anticipate differences if they have data and statistics to base their views on. Itim’s asset for helping companies succeed in international business is data based on research that has been conducted more than 60 times over the past 40 years, and the results continue to stand.

Egbert, a Dutchman, clearly loves Finland, and he has a top three list of ways Finland can become more globally savvy:

1. Understand where you come from and your own value preferences.

2. Acknowledge how Finland compares to the rest of the world, which is a big place!

3. Comprehend how this impacts the way you do business; be consciously aware of differences and how your differences can be pro-actively leveraged as advantages. Don’t try to be everything to everyone; use your strengths.

“Amcham members should go out of their way to talk with people from other places and industries,” he concludes.

The diversity of the membership is a big part of our strength, and that is something that we, as a community, can leverage.