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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 2011 I joined the blue-and-white ranks of Finnair, right in the middle of structural changes in air traffic. Over the past five years there has been more than enough work in communications, due to the changes in the industry. Now we are building new growth and brainstorming how to offer our customers the best Nordic flight experience.

As a consumer brand, Finnair is regarded highly in Finland and gets a great deal of publicity in the Finnish media. Abroad, however, we are still relatively unknown, which is a challenge for us if we want to succeed in the race against the airlines of the Persian Gulf. We are working hard to gain more visibility in our target market.

In communications we have focused on social media, now that news is no longer read in the next day’s paper but answers and comments are expected instantly. Digitalised communications also enables us to reach the global audience with relatively small resources. The Internet has revolutionised the job description of communications officers.

Social media has become an inseparable part of our team’s work, and not just that of the communications team – we encourage everyone at Finnair to use social media. In that way we can create a diverse picture of what goes on at the company and what kinds of things are important to us. Moreover, we use a lot of photos nowadays in our communication. I firmly believe that the significance of images and emotional communications will grow in the future. This is of course a challenge for traditional Finnish communications, which has been predominantly fact-based.

Our work is facilitated by a clear goal: we are seeking to grow and expand along with the new generation of aeroplanes arriving this year. Our growth would ensure Finns even better flight connections.

I feel that my team is working on something meaningful, not just for Finnair but also for the connectivity of Finnish people. It is the kind of work I could not have even dreamed of when sitting in lectures back in the 1970s.

Finnair photo archive.


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