Faces of Dörren: Jaana Simula

Jaana Simula registered as a Door Opener not long after the launch of the program and has since then experienced two completely different networking meetings through Dörren. When thinking back to the discussions she had with the international professionals, she highlights how the meetings broadened her perspectives as well.

Jaana is the managing director of Globe Art Point (GAP), which is an association that promotes and supports the status and working conditions of foreign-born artists and cultural actors from different disciplines living in Finland. She has broad experience from the culture industry and has previously worked for 10 years as the Cultural Director of the City of Pori. She has also a long career from the museum sector as well as from working with communications at the Theatre Academy. Her heart beats for equity, equality and inclusion – and for cultural planning as she is the chairperson of Cultural Planning Finland.

Trying out Dörren was therefore a natural decision that also followed her enthusiasm of earlier having experienced being a mentee as a part of an educational program. Jaana’s first Dörren meeting was with Rita Vargas, a culture professional with vast experience who had already lived in Finland for many years. In the meeting they talked, among other things, about what to consider when making a career in Finland – especially in the very competitive culture field of work. They met in Rita’s studio, Vargas Print Studio, and the meeting went on for several hours. Afterwards Jaana felt that she also learned a lot from the international professional.

“It was really nice to be able to let the time flow and talk about the person’s experiences in Finland. We talked about the success she has had but also about the setbacks and how unfair she had been treated,” says Jaana. “It was amazing to hear about everything she has done so far and I was thinking that she actually broadened my perspectives potentially more than I broadened hers.”

Later on, in October, Jaana did her second Dörren meeting but this time as a part of the networking event organised in collaboration with Svenska Kvinnoförbundet i Sörnäs. This meeting followed the conversation guide more closely and Jaana felt she could give more concrete tips about how things work, when, where and who to contact.

“For me these meetings were completely different. In the individual meeting I, as a Door Opener, had a bigger role in initiating the meeting while the networking event started with a group discussion before having a cup of coffee with your match. Therefore I warmly recommend to participate in both. If you are being a mentor for the first time it could be a good idea to start with taking part in a networking event.”

After the meetings, Jaana connected with the international professionals on social media and she is eager to be in contact again if something comes up that could be of interest to them. According to her this is an important point of the meeting. 

“When discussing with somebody and getting to know them you really want to help them if something pops up later. Participating in Dörren only takes a couple of hours of your life and you don’t know what it can lead to. Be curious and jump on the opportunity.”