I came to storytelling late in life after a global career as a high tech manager. Born in Kotka, Finland, I immigrated to Canada in 1951 with my parents and siblings. My parents were from Karjala, the part of Finland lost to Russia in WW II. Upon arriving in Canada, we settled in Northern Ontario. I grew up in the farming community of Sylvan Valley near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
After earning my BA and MBA from the University of Toronto, I held senior positions with high tech companies and management consultancies in Canada, the USA, Australia, and Europe.
Upon retiring I started to write books. Initially I wrote four family history books – one for each of the ancestral lines of my children.
Since then I have published two books:
1. The Karjala Story: Revolution, War, Wonder, and
2. The Art of Robert-Ralph Carmichael
3. How Beautiful Was My Valley
The Karjala Story is a combination of a history book and a family saga. Always interested in history, I became impassioned by the history of Karjala, the part of Finland that was lost to Russia in WW II. As there were no books in English (and very few in Finnish) on Karjala, I decided to write and publish a book on the subject. After over five years of research and writing I completed The Karjala Story: Revolution, War, Wonder –the recounting of the history of Karjala from Prehistory to WW II as seen through the eyes of my family.
The Art of Robert-Ralph Carmichael is an art book - a compendium of the life and works of Robert-Ralph Carmichael - a well noted Canadian surreal, landscape and still life painter; and, the designer of the one dollar Loonie coin. I grew up in the idyllic old farming community of Sylvan Valley where Bob and his artist wife Gwen set up their home and studio in 1976. I got to know them quite well, and fell in love with Bob Carmichael’s art. Bob, Gwen and I talked intermittently about doing a book on his art. But it was not until he passed away that Gwen Keatley said, “Ok you must do this book. Bob’s wish in his last years was to be famous”. And so the book came to be.
"How Beautiful Was My Valley is a light hearted recounting of my boyhood in the magic northern Ontario farming community of Sylvan Valley during the 1950s and '60s. Included in the book are memories of his initial years living in the inimitable Finnish Canadian wilderness community of Wabos before he moved to The Valley. The book also showcases images of 27 of Robert-Ralph Carmichael's paintings of Sylvan Valley."
While an Ironman Triathlete and former “Bay Street suit”, I now spend my time gardening and chasing my grand children in Oakville…and writing - along with presenting an occasional guest lecture at The University of Toronto.