Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 10

Toastmasters member since: 2002

Education: Masters specialized in Management and Engineering

Employer and/or position: Visma Consulting Oy, Project Manager

Served as district governor of district number: 95

Term of service: 2015-2016

In term as district governor, district achieved: President's Distinguished


Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):

  • 2015-2016 District Director
  • 2014-2015 Lieutenant Governor Education & Training
  • 2013-2014 Lieutenant Governor Marketing
  • 2012-2013 Division G Governor (Denmark, Finland Norway, Sweden)

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2015-2016 President's Distinguished District
  • 2015-2016 President's Extension award
  • 2014-2015 Excellence in Education & Training
  • 2013-2014 Excellence in Marketing
  • 2012-2013 President's Distinguished Division Governor

Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board member:

I have experience both in IT and in marketing, where I’ve been working with projects that involve penetrating into new markets, strengthening current position, and repositioning a product or service. I have more than 20 years of experience as an IT project manager. I’ve been involved in IT projects in which I have been in charge of reengineering the processes and carrying out changes throughout the organization. I’ve been working on various steering committees, planning the strategies, and working with experts who have different cultural backgrounds.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

The projects I have worked on have involved the strategic planning phase, the “what and why”. Some examples of creating a new service or product are: I created the strategic positioning for one of the first internet start-ups in France. At that time most of the start-ups focused on creating a customer portal of the local business directory. I envisioned the upcoming needs of internet applications for business use and convinced our team to look for business-to-business sector to create those applications. I defined the strategies to launch new software for a professional market. To reach the results, we created a technical expertise team who could support Nat Systems' European subsidiaries on projects and then transfer the competence to local teams. I also conducted a technology and market study in order to contribute to the evolution of the solution NatWeb. In Toastmasters, I set up the strategy of expansion of Toastmasters to Finland in order to apply to District 59.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

As project manager, I’ve been responsible for the budget and controlling the finances. At the Finnish Customs Dept, I worked for tax ledger application and learned other aspects of finance. I was in charge of a preliminary study of financial management reengineering. The Project started with assessing the current processes to find out the bottle necks and risks, followed by defining target processes and conducting a gap analyses.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

My experience in developing policies is on projects which involved suggesting or reviewing the changes to Finnish law. Another aspect was in reviewing the suggested changes to Finnish law or Union Customs Code to determine their impact on the processes. In the project of setting up an internet business unit, I created the policies and best practices that project managers and the development team should follow. The result of that work was a Quality Manual, which defined a methodology for conducting value added projects and specifications for the application architecture.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

The most important lessons are connected to the communication. The more complex or abstract the project, the more communication is needed. Even if it requires repeating the same message over and over again! I’ve learned to create a project mission that is simple, clear and well defined. Throughout the project, such a mission statement provides guideline and helps to keep the focus on the ‘main thing’. As District leader in a District that served 18 countries with almost as many languages, I learned to state clearly in emails, what’s expected from the reader, if an action or reply was required. I’ve also learned that diversity of cultural differences is not only related to language or nationality, but also to the professional sector. Sometimes two engineers with different native languages understand each other better than an engineer and an artist with the same native language.

What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?

I have experience in marketing and IT. The business sectors from which I have experience vary from Customs, to Broadcasting. During a ten year project at Finnish Customs, I learned Customs systems in Europe and the taxation when importing goods to EU. In the banking industry, I’ve worked with diverse International projects within Europe. At Eurosport I learned about broadcasting and sport industry, mostly how to create synergy and partnerships with diverse operators in the industry. My strengths are analytical skills applied to creativity while optimizing the budget. I’m curious and eager to follow current trends and future possibilities. In my work I’ve learned quickly to analyze the sources of current problems and seek for creative solutions. In IT my main task has been to envision the future and future applications of the emerging technology.

Why do you want to serve as an international officer/director?

I believe in envisioned future and I want to contribute in transferring it into the mission Toastmasters International. I also believe that our countries, companies and communities need motivational leaders and Toastmasters can be the answer to this need. I have knowledge and experience that I wish share in Toastmasters and in that way keep on serving members. I’ve gained experience in expanding Toastmasters within a new country and how to build future leaders. I want to expand this knowledge so that each member in each country could benefit from the support of their leaders and districts.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

I’ve been volunteering on a project basis in organizing diverse activities or events within my business, at my daughter’s school, and in my community. For example I organized a weekly fitness and gym session for my colleagues during the lunch hour. At my daughter’s school, I contributed to fundraising events, and in my community, I actively attend events which aim to improve the environment by cleaning up the public green areas, planting flowers and trimming the trees.

Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.

I’ve worked with several steering committees and executive teams, in which I represented my domain of expertise or my business unit. In my start up, I worked with the board of directors and decided on the strategies for getting the market share, and determining the service mix which would appeal to business needs. At Eurosport I worked with the directors from different business units and defined the strategies and services for creating an internet platform for sports community.

In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?

Toastmasters International’s major objective is to keep on working towards transforming the Envisioned Future of the mission of the Toastmasters International. That objective involves managing growth while expanding globally. The strategic Plan 2015 is at its midterm and I would focus on assessing and adjusting the operations to reach the objectives set in the Strategic plan. I would also work on Strategic plan 2020 in which I would focus on the strategies how to make it the first-choice provider.

Additional information about candidate:

I started Toastmasters in Finland and integrated it into District 59. During this process, I looked for advice from District 59 leaders, started to build future leaders in Finland, and trained club members and officers. Later I shared my experience and helped Romania, Ukraine and the Baltic Countries with the process of becoming districted. As Division Governor, I created a District Leader mentoring team consisting of the most experienced Toastmasters in Division G. They‘ve helped me to recognize the future leaders, to mentor Area Governors and to advice Club Building Leaders. As Lieutenant Governor Marketing, and in charge of future District 95, we achieved the best ever net club growth in the world: +63 clubs. As Lieutenant Governor Education and Training of the newly formed District 95, I foresaw the growth pattern and suggested a joint reformation committee with District 59 to District 95 trio for creating five districts in Continental Europe. The proposal was approved by both District Governors 59 and 95 who started the process of the reformation with Toastmasters International. As District Director, I worked closely with District 59 Director and Reformation Committee Chair and we eventually became 6 districts.