In life nothing is as constant as change. Some change you hardly notice and other times it can totally consume you. Here at FACC we have had a change in our organization with the election of new board of directors and officers. Meanwhile, Europe, Finland included, is trying to come to terms with a refugee crisis of historic proportions. The United States is at the same time preparing for an election year that may not look like anything we’ve seen in the past.
At FACC, Lena Hartikainen, one of the founding members along with Peter Makila and the first president of the organization, has moved to back to Finland to blaze new trails and pursue new opportunities. I want to personally express my sincere thank you to Lena for the opportunity to serve on the board under her leadership and for the friendship that will continue regardless of the distance. The FACC is very grateful for the outstanding job Lena has done over the past years and look forward to finding new ways to work with her in the role of our ambassador in Finland. The new FACC board will have Esa Jokela as president, Peter Makila as vice-president, Cynthia Fletcher as treasurer, Serge Boheme, Tom Kuutti and Betty Resch will serve as directors.
We have a busy year of activities planned. This season will kick off with a Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo in Broward County on October 13th. This is followed by a networking event in cooperation with the Lantana Chamber on October 15th. A Tax planning Seminar will take place on 29th of October. We will then celebrate the 150th birthday of Sibelius with a concert in Lake Worth Playhouse on November 7th. And last but not least, our Christmas party is on 10th of December at Benvenuto’s! Your participation is invited at each of these events and tickets are available by contacting the FACC in Lake Worth.
Meanwhile, Finland is trying to find ways to deal with an unprecedented wave of refugees who have been displaced as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East. This presents economic, as well as social challenges to a country that is in the middle of a serious economic recessions. Many in Finland find the influx of refugees who look different, speak a different language, have different customs and worship differently a very uncomfortable and threatening spectacle. However, those of us who have experienced different cultures through our own immigration to unfamiliar places, can also see the opportunities, possibilities for growth and understand the riches of diversity. I think we can be in a unique role to provide a positive and optimistic voice to the discussion.
In United States the election cycle is getting in high gear. The emerging picture indicates total displeasure with the establishment. A dark horse presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is giving the front runner Hillary Clinton all she can handle on the Democratic side. The Republican Party meanwhile has three total outsiders in Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson in strong position to contest for the nomination. We at FACC see this as an opportunity to make our voices heard by arranging candidate forums and by inviting those vying for various political offices to come and speak to us and hear our concerns. Let’s all remember that if we don’t participate and vote, we shouldn’t complain about the results either.
I look forward to serving as the president of the FACC and will rely heavily on active board and member participation to make this a great year.
As Thoreau wrote; Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined!
Yours in service,