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Arja Suominen

Born October 24, 1958, Forssa

BA 1982 (Finnish Language), BA 1986 (Finnish Literature), University of Helsinki
MA 1990 in the Faculty of Arts 350th anniversary degree ceremony
eMBA 2003, Turku School of Economics

SVP of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at Finnair, 2001-
SVP of Nokia Communications, 2004–2011
Various positions in communications at Nokia, 1982–2011
Research assistant, teacher and proofreader at the Institute for the Languages of Finland, Töölö secondary school and parliament

Member of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce’s Communications Committee, 2015-
Member of the Savolinna Opera Festival’s Board of Directors, 2015
Member of the Board of Directors of Esperi Care, 2014-
Member of the Confederation of Finnish Industries’ General Assembly, 2012-
Member of the Women’s Bank Steering Committee, 2012-

Photo: Pepe Makkonen, TeMaFoto Oy
Written by Arja Suominen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Joe McVeigh


In the autumn of 1977 my tutor took me to the dean’s Welcome to the University event. I was shocked to hear that 87 per cent of us humanities students would end up as teachers, 3 per cent in other jobs and 10 per cent as housewives. So it was wise to get a teaching qualification as back up. I nevertheless set myself the goal of getting some other work.

I had applied to study the thing I liked – in other words, Finnish Language and Literature. At the university I came to my senses and also studied subjects that I thought would be useful in working life, and to balance that all out I also took courses I enjoyed. I took out the maximum student loan and did teacher training. I have never regretted my years at the university, and I still dislike the thought of students having to graduate within the minimum time. I think it takes time to grow as a person.

Nevertheless, the moment of truth eventually came. I had to find a job: I temped as a language planner, teacher, and research assistant. Then one day after my Christmas holiday I returned home and there was a telegram on the floor, asking me to contact Nokia’s Communications Manager. There were no mobile phones back in 1985. They wanted to invite me to a job interview at the company, for which had done some freelance language work thanks to someone I knew.

That is how I became a communications officer at the beginning of 1986. And I’ve been on that track for nearly 30 years now.

A Nokia galoshes poster from 1906. Photo: Nokia image bank / Material archive, Nokia History Photos.


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