Agent Marjo Oliva, the founder of Napa Agency, is the Agent of the Year 2022!
Napa Agency’s umbrella organization AGMA, the Association of Agents and Managers in Creative Industries of Finland, recognized its members and their clients at an event held on June 2, 2022. The purpose of the event was to reward agents, managers as well as their artists and clients with a recognition designed to highlight important activities that are often overlooked. This year, the victory came home and big when the founder, illustration agent, big boss and superwoman Marjo Oliva of Napa Agency, was awarded the Agent of the Year 2022 (Välittäjä 2022) recognition! We colleagues are astonished and super happy about the recognition, but not surprised, because we think the award went to just the right person!
The jury that decided on the awards argumented for Marjo’s win as follows: “Marjo Oliva is an artists’ agent who has been working in the field for a long time and promotes good cooperation between professional illustrators and those who commission illustrations. Marjo sees potential where it is. She supports illustrators as well as repeatedly brings new talent to the field of illustration, believing in their skills and relying on long illustrator-agent relationships. In addition, Marjo supports and encourages her subordinates and helps them develop into self-confident agents themselves. Both illustrators, subordinates and customers trust Marjo 100%. Marjo has accumulated her know-how and her extensive networks by herself. As an entrepreneur, she is a tenacious innovator who is not afraid to take risks and is always thinking of new earning models for both illustrators and the agency.” We, Marjo’s co-workers, completely agree!
AGMA’s awards were now given out for the second time and are aimed at the commercial agent field in the creative industries. The awards are a recognition for profile-raising the activities that are little known in the creative industry, but without which many creatives and their content would not be able to emerge and reach their audiences. The awards are given out by the Association of Agents and Managers in Creative Industries of Finland, which represents agencies and managers working in all creative industries. In addition, AGMA acts as an advocate for its member companies, providing events and coaching, and actively participates in the development of the creative economy at the national and international levels.
As mentioned above, we at Napa are excited about the recognition, but most of all we are proud of Marjo – there wouldn’t be Napa without her! Here’s Marjo’s speech and thank-you’s in full:
“An agent, a broker, a producer, a safety pillow, a tray, an enabler, a bridge-builder, a trash can, a robber, the middle woman of everything, a helping hand, the one who does all the shitty work”… Here are a few terms I have heard referring to my profession in the last 15 years. It tells about the versatility of my profession, its necessity and, on the other hand, the demandingness of it.
The field has changed and developed dramatically in 15 years. It’s a long way from where we started in 2007 when Napa Agency was founded!
A big thank you goes to AGMA ry, with whose support I am delighted to have seen the field evolve into the lively and truly existing player it is at the moment… I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from AGMA over all these years, especially in terms of licensing and developing our international trade. I happened to do my bit too: I sat on the board for many years, much of it as chairman. Special thanks to Kati Uusi-Rauva, the CEO who has just left her place, with whom we even became friends during all these years! AGMA would not be what it is now without her significant work.
I started this job alone 15 years ago – God only knows why … If I had known everywhere Napa Agency would take me, I might have chosen otherwise. Of course, I was not without the support of my illustrators, some of whom have continued with me all these years – a big thank you to them for this <3 This has always been one of the strengths of my agency: long illustrator-agent relationships.
It wasn’t until about the middle of the 15 years that the strongest force began to develop around me, my great team that I would like to thank: Its heart Maria Kozulya (also a deputy member of the current AGMA board) and Miia Heikkilä and Merkku Kiianmaa, who joined along later. THANK YOU, there would be nothing without you !! I would also like to thank Marit Hohtokari, who once connected me and Maria, and of course for the wonderful female energy that was needed to set up AGMA.
I thank the authoritative jury for this honor! I as well congratulate my fellow nominees, everyone was undoubtedly worth rewarding. I would also like to thank my friend and my child’s godmother Jenni Rope, who designed the pattern of this Marimekko dress I’m wearing today, because without her there would be no NAPA – she founded the small publishing house called Napa Books, and gathered these hugely talented artists around here – who later also formed the core of Napa Agency.
Finally, a THANK YOU to all the illustrators who contributed to Napa! I know I made the right choice 15 years ago when I answered them YES, I will be your agent. That’s how it went: I set up the agency at the request of the illustrators. This spoke of the real need for existing agent work to support artistic work. This need has not disappeared anywhere, and agents are still needed. Work requires problem-solving skills, flexibility, creativity, and a desire to help others succeed. My role has always been to support and celebrate others, and now that the spotlight hits me, I feel quite emotional. THANKS <3″
Congratulations once again to Marjo and all the other winners and nominees, especially to our client Tommi Kantola from Posti Group, and thanks to AGMA for this wonderful recognition!