Katja Pantzar is an independent Helsinki-based writer, editor, journalist, speaker and moderator with more than 20 years of international experience and a passion for storytelling. She is a mother to a fabulous 12-year-old son, year-round sea swimmer and cyclist. Her academic qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the City University of London (London, UK) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)
She is an internationally published author who writes about Finland for the world. Her latest work Everyday Sisu: Tapping Into Finnish Fortitude for a Happier, More Resilient Life (Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher), was published March 15, 2022. Through expert interviews and fact-based information, Everyday Sisu explores how we can better support our mental and physical health (wellbeing leads to happiness) while taking care of each other and our planet.
Newsworthy talking-moderating points
-Finland tops the World Happiness Report for the fifth year running (March 2022) and the UN report is based on quality-of-life data such as wellbeing, benevolence, health, trust, safety, and access to nature and education, not on emotions as many people erroneously think
-How winter swimming (avanto), spending time in nature and winter cycling can boost your mental and physical health. Katja herself uses a daily dip in the sea year-round to manage and maintain her mental health. She has also done dozens of interviews on this topic with the international media ranging from CNN to El País to Monocle. Her first book on the topic, The Finnish Way, a bestselling non-fiction book covered Nordic well-being, winter swimming, and sisu, and was translated into 23 languages around the world.
-How that unique brand of Finnish fortitude called sisu can boost wellbeing and help us to find solutions to societal challenges ranging from bullying (in schools, workplaces and interpersonal relationships, for example) to homelessness – Finland is a leader in solving the homelessness crisis.
-Many Finns have an outdated definition of sisu – much of the newer research indicates that good, healthy sisu is about personal empowerment and something that can be used positively to help others. International readers and media are fascinated by the concept of sisu.
-Sustainability sisu is also a very relevant topic given the climate crisis. It’s a topic that Katja has much research on along with some inspiring and hopeful stories, such as the Finnish town of Ii which is aiming to be the world’s first zero waste community.
–There’s a serious global mental health crisis impacting people in Finland and elsewhere. People are in urgent need of ways to boost self-care for better mental health. Katja talks about the practical ways — from using nature to community — to better maintain and improve our mental health.
Whether she’s writing, editing, giving a talk or hosting a virtual or live event, one of her main goals is to motivate and inspire.