“Think Sisu”

A U.S.-based non-profit organization based near Washington D.C. organized into two theme-specific centers providing education services of potential interest to government agencies, nonprofits, churches, corporations, small businesses, families and individuals. 

What … does the word SISU mean?

Sisu is a Finnish term and concept that has a mystical, almost magical, meaning there, yet conveys a universal message.  It has been translated into English as exhibiting strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

Why … is it an ADVANTAGE?

Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage. What must be done will be done, regardless of cost.  It is a measure of integrity that surpasses the hardship and sees through to the end. We all face challenges; sisu helps propel us through those challenges, turning them into opportunities for the future benefit of all.

Who .. is THE SISU ADVANTAGE?

The Sisu Advantage is the creation of two former tenured professors and high-level university administrators who, despite success within those hallowed circles, share the belief that pursuing a degree often does little to prepare for real life, with its mix of curveballs that one just cannot anticipate, and its changing socio-political landscape.  We’re here to help with all that.  

Marjo is a native of Finland who earned a doctorate in applied linguistics while a single mother of three.  She also has been a licensed pilot and former flight school owner, a designated U.S. representative to the United Nations body that formulated the current international standards for aviation communication, and an invited TEDx event speaker.  She taught for two decades in the School of Education at the University of Redlands, and served in senior academic administration roles at two universities in Japan.

Jerry was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.  He holds a doctorate in public policy and post-doctorate in data analysis.  In addition to leadership roles in a Fortune 500 firm and a “silicon valley” startup, he taught finance for two decades before being named the first internal selection for dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University.  He later served as the inaugural Senecal Chair and dean of the School of Business at the University of Redlands, and then professor at Akita International University in Japan.

Our homepage addressed What, Why, and Who questions for The Sisu Advantage.  The remaining questions [Where, When, and How] are addressed at their respective Centers by Marjo and Jerry.   Personal experiences during their formative years, and lessons derived therefrom, have guided each to create a center that proactively pursues their respective goals.

Our History

A core team of three professionals worked together for several years in various capacities at The International Academic Forum, based in Japan, developing and hosting conferences in Asia, Europe and the U.S. for academicians and policymakers.  Following our experiences there, the Sisu Advantage was formed as a limited-liability corporation in 2015, but converted to a California-based non-profit educational organization in early 2016. During the ensuing three years we organized and hosted more than twenty conferences, each with a keynote speaker, select featured speakers, and (usually) an array of presentations that first passed academic peer review processes. The early portfolio of conferences somewhat mirrored a university, with an array of themes that reflected subjects of inquiry from all corners of ​campus, but with the expressed focus on interdisciplinary approaches that knocked down artificial institutional-imposed boundaries.

One of the founders has relocated to Canada to pursue other opportunities.  Marjo and Jerry then refocused the organization to focus on two issues about which they are passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable — for Marjo and her colleagues it is church-related sexual abuse of congregants  (sisuCARES), and for Jerry and his colleagues it is data-informed family choices and business or public policies (sisuDataPlatteR).  We also  have expanded beyond conferences to workshops, books, and related products and services, and expanded beyond the earlier narrow focus on the academic marketplace to offer events of interest to the general public. To better position the organization to realize its goals , in 2019 we strategically relocated to the ​Washington D.C. area, close to Dulles International Airport.

Organization Structure

The Sisu Advantage benefits from the talents and synergy of its two centers:

  • sisuCARESChurch-related Abuse Research and Education Services
  • sisuDataPlatteR —Servings of Data-informed ‘Food for Thought’