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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

What I learnt at the University of Helsinki

I remember one particular occurrence that later had a big influence on my attitude to work and achievements. We were queuing up to get our exam grades entered into our report books after a Finnish history course taught by Martti Ruutu, director of the National Archives. The student in front of me did not want the exam grade marked in the book because it was an A 1, the lowest pass mark.

Martti Ruutu, who was rather experienced in those kinds of situations, remarked: “Why not take the A 1? You passed, didn’t you? No one will come to ask you what grade you got for this course. Most likely no one will even ask what average you got in Finnish history. Probably they won’t ask what your Master’s thesis was like, either. Take this grade and put more effort into the next course.”

Martti Ruutu taught me that it is best to look ahead and go easy on yourself sometimes. You have to consider whether to prioritise time or quality and which things matter most in the end.

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