Chamber Volunteer of the Year Awards - Director of the Year - Johanna Hurme

by Admin 25. February 2016 13:04

Like many organizations, The Chamber depends on its volunteers. An important way of acknowledging their contribution is through the Volunteer of the Year Awards. Johanna Hurme was presented the Director of the Year Award at our State of the City Luncheon, Feb. 25.

Johanna Hurme always wanted to be an architect … while maybe not always.

When she was six, she wanted to be an interior designer, but by the time she was 12, she knew she wanted to be an architect.

A newspaper article about a winning entry in an architectural competition talked about how the building related to the landscape.

“That resonated with me,” says Hurme, who’s now a partner in 5468796 Architecture.

Originally from Finland, she came to Canada as a high school exchange student and was placed with a farm family 2 ½ hours northwest of Winnipeg. During her stay, they were brought to Winnipeg and she had a chance to visit the University of Manitoba’s school of architecture, which impressed her.

At the end of the term, she went back home to complete high school. But while here, she met her future husband, so she wanted to come back to Winnipeg. She applied at the U of M and was accepted.

“That’s how it all started.”

At university, she met Sasa Radulovic, a classmate who’d become her business partner.

“We started working on student competitions and had success together … we had design synergy. When I started working, he convinced his boss to hire me. We worked together as interns at Cohlmeyer.”

In 2007, they started out on their own, opening what has been nicknamed Barcode Architecture.

“I live and breathe this, which maybe is a problem. I love the opportunity to be really creative … to participate in shaping our city with every building we’re involved with. I also love working with our team, which is now up to 15 or 16. They’re like an extended family.”

When asked what she does best, Hurme says it’s never been about her.

“It’s about us as a collective. We’re like a think tank … trying to inspire Winnipeggers about the design economy and about the public environment – places we live and should take pride in.”

She chuckles at the best business advice she’s been given. Point blank, it was that there will always be some part of your job you don’t enjoy and there will always be someone else who will love it, so hire them.

“For example, payroll and collections are not my cup of tea – I’m not passionate about that - so now I have an amazing office manager, who’s great at that and much more,” she says.

Johanna is passionate, however, about breaking down barriers. Too often, Winnipeggers look at our city through silos.

That’s one reason, she joined The Chamber.

“The further we can break out of our core businesses, the smarter we get and the more we benefit,” she says. “Winnipeg is at the edge of realizing that the creative sector has much to give and can be an economic driver.”

She sees part of her role as encouraging the creative community to get involved with The Chamber.

“Winnipeg has so much potential.”

The Chamber brings people together – groups that might not otherwise talk to one another.

“I really enjoy the spirit of The Chamber – the positivity, the optimism and the opportunities it sees for the city. You’ve got people who are at the top of their game and visualize what they can do to spring us forward.”

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