Learn MoreWho we are
We are a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing community-based education products and services. The three communities we have targeted to serve are conceptual rather than geographic, for those seeking insights and strategies for one or more of our “3 Ins”:
Inspiration ⇒ The Sisu Fellowship
Innovation ⇒ The Sisu Instructional Technology Center
Insecurities ⇒ The Sisu Retirement Finance Institute
These “3 Ins” are not intrinsically good or bad. They can serve as means to ends, but it is the responsibility of each of us to select honorable ends. One can be inspired to help end social inequality, just as on 9-11 (2001) 19 men were inspired to disrupt our world. One can use the innovation of online social media to connect with family far away, or to spread fake news. One can use insecurities as motivation to more clearly identify and achieve goals, or to avoid directly confronting dreaded prospects, letting them morph into realities.
Held a managerial position at a Fortune 500 and was CEO of a SME
Emeritus professor of finance; former academic dean; held endowed chair.
Learn MoreWhere We Started
Learn MoreWhat We Learned
At IAFOR we each were exposed to ideas from many disciplines, presented by thought leaders from many countries. More important, we developed multiple friendships. As we listened to their individual journeys and over time felt comfortable asking more personal questions, we came to recognize that, although the speakers and attendees at the IAFOR conferences came from many backgrounds and cultures, and were at different stages in their careers, most were driven by or seeking guidance regarding:
The common trait we observed among keynote speakers, beyond their knowledge, was:
Sisu is a Finnish cultural concept. It means persistence, grit, will power, tenacity, and determination to conquer any obstacles even if they seem impossible. When paired with other important aspects of life-enhancement skills, sisu becomes an invaluable and irreplaceable personal characteristic, needed to successfully negotiate the next steps in reaching a goal, target, or a resolution. This concept holds for firms and nations as well.
Given these insights, we formed a new nonprofit organization, The Sisu Advantage
Learn MoreHow We've Evolved
In 2016 we decided our new nonprofit organization should initially serve the California academic market, modeling our approach loosely after IAFOR. Preliminary research indicated that 14% of all U.S.-based college professors worked at colleges and universities in California, but the state hosted only an estimated 3% of academic conferences based in the U.S. Since peer-reviewed presentations at conferences are an important component to tenure and advancement, and travel budgets had been shrinking at many institutions, California faculty seemed disadvantaged. We created The Sisu Advantage initially to address this perceived problem, naming it in recognition of that characteristic we deemed common to keynote speakers. Between 2016 and 2019 we hosted more than twenty peer-reviewed academic conferences in California.
We also found much confirmatory support for our three key motivating factors that seem to most interest, drive, and/or characterize inquisitive minds, so in 2020 we restructured the organization into three corresponding units. In doing so we followed four guidelines:
- Each of the principals to serve as leaders of a unit highly aligned with their expertise
- The governing Board to be independent, preferably not to include any unit leaders
- The units shall strive for connectivity across disciplines and synergy with other units
- Each unit shall establish boundaries that make clear its intent and align with expertise.