CoPassion Seminar


TIME: Monday 11th & tuesday 12th of january 2016

PLACE: university of helsinki, main building (unioninkatu 34), great hall


In today’s world, could compassion be the key to both well-being and business success?

In personal lives, it is easy to see why compassion could be an important factor in both personal well-being and building of deep interpersonal ties. Compassion creates a deep sense of meaningfulness.

But also the business world is changing. In the post-industrial era, innovation-based growth and team-based work have become essential success factors. Compassion is a factor that could enhance better team-work, mutual helping and knowledge sharing, thus making possible a more healthy, meaningful and more innovative working life. Could compassion lead us to living a good life, both at work and outside of work?

In this seminar, CoPassion research project brings to Helsinki some of the most distinguished researchers of compassion to explore together both the nature of compassion itself, as well as how to improve it in personal lives and in the business world.

The registration is now closed. If you haven’t registered, but wish to participate in the seminar, please contact us by email

You are most Warmly and Compassionately Welcome!

Scroll down to view the seminar programme.

Read about the seminar in Finnish.


MonicaWorlineMONica worline

Leading compassion as social process and strategic advantage 

Monica Worline is one of the cofounders of CompassionLab in the University of Michigan and a research member in Compassion Center in the University of Stanford. Among leading scientific publications (ASQ, Org Science), she has also written about compassion in many highly appreciated journals e.g. Harward Business Review and Huffington Post. Her keynote speech will give a rationale for compassion as a key to sustainable competitive advantage in organizations of all kinds. With the importance of compassion in mind, she offers three images to help us unpack compassion as social process, amplify organizational change, and envision new ways that we can facilitate its development as leaders.


SallyMaitlis cropattusally maitlis

Building Resilient Teams through Caring and Compassionate Conversations

Professor Sally Maitlis from University of Oxford has, in addition to her groundbreaking research about compassion, researched e.g. traumas and adversities as well as expanding understanding and personal growth in organizations. She has published in leading publications in the field (AMI, AMR& Organization Studies). Recently she has focused on thorough qualitative research about compassion among professionals doing creative work.



monday: Leading compassion 

9.00 CoPassion Project – finding purpose in life through compassion, Professor and Project Director Anne Birgitta Pessi, University of Helsinki
9.15 Keynote: Leading compassion as social process and strategic advantage, Ph.D Monica Worline, CompassionLab and Stanford Compassion Center
10.15 A commentary by Professor Esa Saarinen, Aalto University
General discussion
Compassion video booth opens up
10.45 Coffee to go
11.00 Towards a more meaningful and optimal human functioning in today’s organizations: Servant leadership grounded in compassionate love, Professor Dirk van Dierendonck, Erasmus University
11.45 A short commentary by CEO Leena Mörttinen, The Finnish Family Firms Association and University Lecturer of Systematic Theology Olli-Pekka Vainio, University of Helsinki
General Discussion

12.15 Break

13.15 Sustainable leadership in a changing working life – The role of compassion, Ph.D. Christin Mellner, Stockholm University
13.45 Compassionate management in the creative sector – and how to cope with it. A critical intervention, Professor Bent Meier Sørensen, Copenhagen Business School
14.15 General discussion
14.30 Coffee
15.00 Musical performance, Singer & Pianist Laura Sippola
15.15 Workshop on Leading Compassion; CoPassion Team

16.15 End of first day


tuesday: how to become more compassionate? 

9.00 Keynote: Building Resilient Teams through Caring and Compassionate Conversations, Professor Sally Maitlis, University of Oxford
10.00 A short commentary by Executive Director Olli Valtonen, Helsinki Missio and Professor Pirjo Ståhle, Aalto University
General discussion
10.30 Coffee to go
10.45 The impact of focusing on compassion in working life – preliminary research findings, CoPassion Team
11.45 A short commentary by Psychotherapist and writer Maaret Kallio
General discussion

12.15 Break

13.15 The Concept of Compassion in the Christian Tradition, Professor Risto Saarinen, University of Helsinki
13.45 Compassion training in academia, business and health care – some experiences from Sweden, MD, PhD, Director Walter Osika, Center for Social Sustainability, Karolinska Institutet
14.15 Coffee to go
14.30 The neuroscience of empathy and its importance for human cognition, Researcher Katri Saarikivi, University of Helsinki
15.00 A short commentary by Director Outi Ruishalme, SOS Crisis Center, Finnish Association for Mental Health
General discussion
15.30 Musical performance, a quartet of Academic Choral Society
15.45 Panel discussion on compassion: Panelists

Ph.D Monica Worline, CompassionLab and Stanford Compassion Center
Ph. D. Henrietta Grönlund, CoPassion Team
Professor Liisa Välikangas, Aalto University School of Business
University Lecturer Janne Nikkinen, University of Helsinki
CEO Jaakko Hirvola, EY

16.15 Closing of the seminar
16.30 Reception by Rector Jukka Kola, University of Helsinki