Career stories

Maija Jokela, Ramboll Finland

Chief Executive Officer

"Everything is ultimately based on cooperation and communication between people."

Maija Jokela, Ramboll Finland toimitusjohtaja

What have you studied and what influenced this choice back in the day?

I studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, now Aalto University, majoring in Civil Engineering. 
I chose construction by chance. I was supposed to become a doctor, but after one gap year I applied to several universities. The doors of medicine did not open, so I started my studies at Otaniemi with the idea of trying to become a doctor again the following year. 
However, I was attracted by the student community and the job I found in my field after the second year and, to my surprise, I found very interesting jobs in a field that had previously been quite foreign to me.

How did you end up in your current position?

I worked for the same company for a long time, in fact since my summer internship. Over the years I took on new responsibilities and finally, on my return from parental leave, I was given the opportunity to take on the role of Managing Director. 
I think I benefited a lot from having the attitude that I want to learn new things and am happy to take on tasks where I can learn. Perhaps this was also noticed by the management of the company and I was able to progress to new positions repeatedly.

What is the best thing about your job?

The opportunities to develop our company and the sector as a whole, and the chance to meet interesting people and learn new things from them. 

What have been the highlights and key lessons of your career?

Highlights have been the moments when a difficult problem has been solved through teamwork.
The most rewarding thing for me is not the awards and public recognition, but the feeling that we have worked together as a team to find solutions. 
One of the most important lessons is that everything is ultimately based on cooperation and communication between people. 
I have learnt to listen more and calm my mind, even though I am naturally fast-paced. Another important lesson has been that we all make mistakes and when I dare to admit my mistakes, it creates space for learning, openness and trust.

What are your plans and goals in the future?

I don't have a specific career plan. I want to do interesting work and keep a good balance between family, work and my hobbies.

What kind of person is suitable for your profession?

Engineering studies provide the basis for a wide range of careers. 
I have never consciously set my sights on becoming a CEO, but rather have been brave enough to seize new opportunities. In the role of CEO, I see the importance of self-awareness, a willingness to learn and listen, and the courage to make decisions, sometimes unpopular ones.

Your greetings for young women in high school deliberating their future career?

Be open and curious, seize the opportunities that come your way. 
Careers take shape and change over the years. Even if you don't know exactly what you want yet, be kind to yourself.

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