Career stories

Miia Satomaa, Stora Enso

Head of IT, Lignode

"The courage to take on challenges, to jump into the unknown and the belief in the power of the team is why I'm here now."


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

I had previously graduated as an engineer in civil engineering, but the job situation in the field led me to look for other options for my future. In 2000, LUT was about to start a conversion course, which offered the possibility to combine a broad-based production economics with a completely new major in Information Management. This form of education also allowed me to combine work and studies.

So we were the very first Information Management programme to combine studies from the departments of Information Technology, Production Economics and Business Studies. At that time, we certainly tested a lot of new approaches, from which we have drawn in our current studies. It was also noteworthy that our study group was a close-knit community, which also left us with a formidable network of highly skilled professionals.

How did you become an IT-manager?

I started at Stora Enso as a graduate student in the Packaging Boards Division, researching how to use data and different tools to support decision making and enable the sharing of unspoken knowledge. This was seen as an important issue and the work continued with the development of processes and operating models. As technology evolved, the tools evolved and changed and there was a desire to develop the approach at corporate level, so the journey led to the company's IT department. I am grateful to my manager at the time, who also entrusted me to lead a team, which started my journey in people management.

About a year ago, I jumped into the Lignode business as IT Manager. Lignode is our innovation on how to make batteries from wood and this is a unique opportunity to work in the start-up world building something completely new from scratch.

The courage to take on challenges, to jump into the unknown and the belief in the power of the team is why I'm here now.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best part is seeing all the things we've achieved together. How our work has enabled us to support Stora Enso's strategy and develop technologies to support our vision that "everything that is made from non-renewable materials today can be made from wood tomorrow". It has been important to understand that my role as a leader and manager is to guide the organisation towards a common goal. My role is to help the leaders in my team by enabling them to act in order to make the most of everyone's skills and talents and achieve great results. It's great to see successes and also to celebrate them.

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

People and encounters, the power of diversity and how technology can help change.
The important thing is to be aware that no issue is so big that it can't be solved. Be brave, dare to ask questions and remember to listen and of course the fact that chicks can make it in hard core IT too!

What are your expectations for the future?

The future is part of constant change and it is important to me that my work both motivates and inspires me to challenge myself to learn new things and maintain a genuine interest in exploiting the potential of technology in as many different areas as possible.

For whom is this a suitable career option?

A degree in engineering is suitable for anyone with a genuine curiosity to face new challenges and a desire to find solutions through technology. As a whole, it provides a good basis for thinking about the world and offers a limitless range of employment opportunities. In addition, if you later want to change fields, studying technology will also give you a good basis for other fields.  

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

Be brave and seize the opportunity, listen to what is calling you and don't hesitate about your own abilities. Technology gives you the tools to do anything and you can apply them in your life, both personally and professionally.

If you want something, go for it. You write your own path and you can do anything - keep on rocking!

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