Riina Salmimies, LUT University
" Tell others what you want, because no one can read your mind. Never be ashamed of big ambitions. If you really want to make a difference in the world, get involved or even lead it".
What have you studied and how did you choose this option?
I studied chemical engineering, especially process and factory design. Since then I have been working on my doctorate and, alongside my work, I have also obtained a Master's degree in Economics. I was good at science in high school and it seemed to offer more challenge and interesting puzzles than other subjects. Science is about how things really work, whereas other subjects are about memorising information. However, I didn't feel that pure science was my thing, I wanted to do something more concrete - so I was aiming for a degree in engineering. I guess my options at the time were chemical engineering and industrial engineering. I also considered medicine as an option, but after my final exams I didn't have the energy to cram for the entrance exams. I have never regretted it.
How did you become Dean of Engineering at LUT?
When I graduated as a master, I applied for a PhD to do a doctoral thesis. The university was my first choice for a job. Since then, I've done all sorts of things, but I've arrived at my current job by applying for management positions and investing in leadership qualities for the last five years. In practice, I have obtained a second degree in business studies and have worked as a manager in a variety of roles.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love the potential that exists in my community of experts. They are very smart and it's easy to envision the world of the future with them.
What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?
I consider my current role to be a great achievement. I dare to do things that no one has done before. Unlike almost all other deans, I don't have a professorship. As a woman, I am leading a community where men are the main influence. I also think I am the youngest dean in Finland. Few deans of Finnish universities of technology have appeared in Cosmopolitan either - I wonder if anyone has? My selection has required great courage on the part of the university management.
What are your expectations for the future?
I often focus on what I am doing at the moment. My only goal is to do something meaningful in this world and to walk through new doors and windows as they open. They will open if you do your job well and are patient.
What greetings would you like to send to a young woman considering a career choice?
Always believe you can do it and find the means to succeed. Tell others what you want, because no one can read your mind. Never be ashamed of big ambitions. If you really want to make a difference in the world, get involved or even lead it.
For whom is this a suitable career option?
It's not so much about my field, but about the world in general. We need brave dissidents who know how to work with others. People need to be able to play to the same goal, challenging each other in a positive way. We need big thinkers and effective practitioners.