Career stories

Anne Jalkala, Fortum

Vice-president of Innovation and Venturing

"I wish you the courage to push yourself and your limits. Don't settle for the boundaries set by others, but find your own path".

Anne Jalkala

What have you studied and how did you choose this option?

I studied Production Economics at LUT. After high school, I had several study options, of which production economics seemed like a good combination of engineering and economics. My choice was not a pure coincidence, but it was not an obvious choice either.

How did you become Vice-president of Innovation and Venturing at Fortum?

After graduating as an engineer, I first worked in the university sector in various positions. I worked as a researcher, professor, head of department and dean. I joined Fortum in 2016 to build up the Start-up business. Jumping from a long career in academia to a fully entrepreneurial career is not unusual, but I firmly believe in pushing boundaries. This is also reflected in my current job, where I was simultaneously CEO of a start-up and a director at Fortum. Relevance has played a big role in my career choices, and in one way or another I have always used technology to build a cleaner world in my work. A key challenge in my current job is the electrification of transport.

What is the best thing about your job?

My favourite part of my job is working with inspiring, talented, visionary and entrepreneurial people. I am encouraged and inspired by the courage and drive of people who work with heart and passion. It all stems from a shared vision of working for the good of the world.

What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?

The best moments have been when I have done something that required courage and when I have been able to build trust as a leader. Important lessons are always found when you stop to reflect on past events and your own actions. If I didn't learn something during the work week, then it wasn't a good work week.

What are your expectations for the future?

The work will definitely change. It helps when you think you are on a lifelong learning journey, where you reinvent yourself over and over again. I expect and believe that work will become more meaningful in a good sense: time spent working will be spent more effectively and more focused on what matters to the world and humanity. The COVID pandemic has made many people realise the importance of the basics and the balance between life and work, which will certainly contribute to a positive change in the way work is done.

What greetings would you like to send to a young person considering a career choice?

I wish you the courage to push yourself and your limits. Don't settle for the boundaries set by others, but find your own path. Look at and combine skills with an open mind, maintain your curiosity and a continuous learning attitude.

For whom is this a suitable career option?

Working on climate change through new technologies and growth companies is a good fit for people who are interested in both technology and business opportunities. The sector also needs people who want to understand human behaviour.

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