Learn MoreWho we are


We are a 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
 SisuFellowship.org  [Coming Soon]

Innovation ⇒ The Sisu Instructional Technology Center
InstructionalTech.org [Coming Soon]

Insecurities ⇒ The Sisu Retirement Finance Institute
RetirementFinance.org [Coming Soon]

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.


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Jerry Platt

Director,
Retirement Finance Institute

Held a managerial position at a Fortune 500 and was CEO of a SME
Emeritus professor of finance; former academic dean; held endowed chair.
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Marjo Mitsutomi

Director,
The Sisu Fellowship

Served as president of an international commercial flight school
Former tenured professor and administrator at universities in USA and abroad.
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Bryce Platt

Director,
Instructional Technology Center

Served as manager of technology and operations for a global think-tank
Taught both traditional and online classes, to undergrads and grad students.

Learn MoreWhere We Started

Our collective initial association with an education-focused nonprofit organization was during the period 2011-2016, with The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), based in Nagoya, Japan. Created in 2009, IAFOR is both a think-tank and an organizer of academic conferences, offering dozens of discipline-specific events annually, across three continents. Jerry served as vice-chair of the IAFOR International Academic Advisory Board, Marjo also served on that Board and was co-host of the academic conferences, and Bryce was employed full-time by IAFOR as Manager of Technology and Operations.
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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: 

  • Inspiration
  • Innovation
  • Insecurities

The common trait we observed among keynote speakers, beyond their knowledge, was:

  • Sisu.

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

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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.
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