Introducing Camilla Carlbom Flinn, Honorary Consulate of Finland in Immingham, Grimsby and Hull
Ninth in our article series, introducing the Honorary Consuls of Finland in The United Kingdom is Camilla Carlbom Flinn. Mrs Carlbom Flinn appointed as an Honorary Consul for Grimsby & Immingham in 2008 and in 2015 Hull was added to the district in 2015.
Camilla was born in Lincolnshire, and is a proud fourth generation Swede, raised in a cross-cultural environment. With a BA in International Business Management, and an MA in Broadcast Journalism, Camilla worked in Paris, London, and New York, before returning to Lincolnshire and the Shipping sector in 2008.
Camilla was appointed Chairman of Carlbom Shipping Ltd, the family ships agency in Immingham. She is Vice Chairman of Team Humber Marine Alliance; and became the first woman elected onto the Federation Council of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in London. Camilla is keen on promoting small businesses especially in the maritime sector, as well as promoting business and cultural links between the Humber and Scandinavia.
1. How did you end up as an Honorary Consul for Finland?
The Finnish Vice-Consulate was first established in Grimsby in 1920 – in my Great Grandfather’s Shipping company, and the post of Vice Consul and subsequently Consul has remained with the family business to this day. I took over from my father, Anthony Carlbom, after he passed away in 2008.
2. What do you enjoy most in your role as an Honorary Consul?
I enjoy learning about Finland and trying to bring together Finnish companies, ideas, education and culture to the Humber region, as well as to promote this region to the Finnish business community.
3. What is Finland known for in your area?
The top of the list has to be Father Christmas and Finland as a magical winter wonderland! Aside from tourism, Finland is known for its forestry products, for its technology and Nokia phones, as well as Finnlines, a well-known shipping line here on the Humber. Finland has also hit the news locally with regards to its outstanding education and being known as the Happiest Country in the world.
4. What do you wish people in your area knew more about Finland?
I wish people understood more about the culture and drive that the Finn’s seem to have, and perhaps we could learn from them – a little more SISU in our daily lives would be a very good thing! I also find the Finnish education system fascinating – and the British should really study what’s going on and why it works, not only at school but university level too. I’ve recently been very impressed with Team4Learning (T4L), an educational movement born in Finland and promoted here at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.
5. What does your area have to offer for Finns or Finnish companies?
The Humber region is known as the UK’s “Energy Estuary” and takes the title of being the busiest ports complex by tonnage in the UK with Immingham, Hull, Grimsby and Goole. We are leading the world in Offshore Wind construction and O&M, we have a thriving chemical, advanced manufacturing, food processing and energy sectors, as well as being a hub for Scandinavian forestry product imports. We have the UK’s largest set of enterprise zones for industrial development, coupled with low property rental and low wage costs compared to the rest of the UK, making the region and ideal place to invest and live in.
Our two major cities, Lincoln and Hull, both have amazing Universities, beautiful waterfronts, historic quarters, and of course the majestic Lincoln Cathedral and Castle – all worth a visit.
6. What is your favourite Finnish word or expression? Why?
That’s easy – SISU - you can never have enough SISU in your life!
Finland has about 400 honorary consulates around the world, of which 20 in the United Kingdom. Honorary Consuls promote economic, political, academic and cultural relations between Finland and the UK, and monitor the rights of Finnish citizens in their sphere of operation. They can for example guide and assist in contacts with the local authorities or the embassy. However, their possibilities to provide assistance are limited, nor for instance can they grant a passport.