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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 1990s, the old traditional Nokia was transformed into a modern telecommunications company that began to conquer the world. After the financial crisis of the 1990s, mobile phones and networks caused the company to grow rapidly. We were at the forefront of telecommunications, and I got to experience how Nokia and its phones spread to all four corners of the globe. Nokia became an excellent calling-card for Finns.

There was an ambitious working atmosphere at the company, and we were young and excited about our jobs. The excitement and feeling of belonging were tangible in the air. The slogan Connecting people came true: cheap mobile phones revolutionised communication and improved the quality of life, in many developing countries too. Nokia was successful and kept growing.

We had the opportunity to build a truly global communications team, and we learned to make use of the technological possibilities created by our own company. Our goal was for Nokia to be the brand that would come first to people’s minds when talking about mobile phones. When we visited China, India, Africa and Brazil we noticed that our years of work had borne fruit.

When I applied for the job of Communications Manager’s at Nokia, the CEO advised me to bring five books I had read during the past year to the next meeting. I got the job. Therefore, it matters what you have read and what kind of general knowledge you have acquired.

The technological boom was at its height at the turn of the millennium. However, the bursting of the Internet bubble started a change in the world of telecommunications. Structural changes started on the web and some years later spread to devices. Apple challenged Nokia. After our spectacular rise, we had to learn the communications of change. The challenges became tougher. I left Nokia at a moment of hope in 2011: that’s when we still believed that a new choice of technology would give a new boost to mobile

Nokia’s N1 device. Photo: Nokia image bank / Material archive, Nokia N1 launch.


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