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Matti Hirvola

Matti Johannes Hirvola
Born December 17, 1974, Pori

MA 2004 (General History), University of Helsinki

Project leader (Public relations and communications expert) at SAK, 2015–
Special advisor to Minister of Finance Antti Rinne, secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) ministers’ group, 2014–2015
Senior advisor and partner at Miltton Networks, 2013–14
Special advisor to Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen, 2011–13
Head of Communications for SDP, 2006–11
Training and organisation secretary at SDP, 2006
General secretary of the Advisory Council for Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Education, 2004–05
Information officer for the Socialdemocratic Youth in Finland, 2002–04
Board member of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL), 2001
Board member of Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), 2000

Photo: Matti Hirvola
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Joe McVeigh

The Goal of Lobbying is to Improve National Discourse

Matti Hirvola is concerned with the division between the private and public sectors in contemporary society. Hirvola longs for stronger national discourse through lobbying and communications, i.e. passing information from one sector to another.

– The goal of lobbying is to ensure that those in power have as much information as possible to understand the circumstances, objectives and consequences of the decisions made by various parties. At the same time we try to make the political decision-making process clear to those in the business world.

Hirvola suspects that the cause of the decrease in dialogue is the apolitical period following the 1960s and the 1970s, when people distanced themselves from decision-making in society. The children of that era now hold executive positions in business.

– Those born at the turn of the 1970s no longer have previous generations’ youthful experience of influencing society. As a result we have fewer people who have participated in social decision-making and have an understanding of political processes.

Hirvola points out that lobbying is still in its infancy in Finland.

– At the beginning of 2013 I left politics and joined Miltton to develop lobbying. The basic gist of it was to help those in the business world make their voices heard in society. To someone who had spent practically his entire life in politics, it was fascinating to see and understand how things were done in the private sector and how business was conducted. Lobbying is not just advising how to make things look good, but also pursuing societal win-win situations. I believe that the goal should always be to find solutions that benefit both society at large and the business itself.

There has been public criticism at times of those who retire from politics and immediately engage in similar work in the private sector, with calls for a waiting period before they are allowed make such a transition. Hirvola does not support the implementation a quarantine period and feels that a smooth transition benefits both sectors as well as the employee himself.

– It is purely an advantage that people alternate between the public and private sector. A person can develop tunnel vision if they are stuck in one sector for too long. Then they will no longer have any idea what is going on in the other.

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