Good strategic decisions are not made without first conducting thorough background research and creating of the story that is to be told. That is why we need people who can leverage and combine both analysis and storytelling. UPM’s Strategy Manager Louise Ankartjärn shares some thoughts on her career.
After completing her degree in Business Administration, Louise Ankartjärn was offered a job at an investment bank in London, after beating her competition in the bank’s investment game. So began an almost five-year-long career in international finance.
“The years in London taught me a lot. However, I’d always felt drawn to tangible businesses and I knew that I ultimately wanted to pursue a career at an industrial company.”
Louise left behind the financial markets of London and searched for work experience that would take her closer to her career goals. At first, she worked at a business management consultant agency. Working as a strategy consultant gave her a chance to research different kinds of businesses and challenges. This prepared her for her next step – becoming a member of UPM’s strategy team.
What brought a successful woman like yourself to UPM?
“I happened to notice a job vacancy for a strategy manager. The job description caught my attention because it fitted me and my goals perfectly. I started to research the company more carefully and realised that it was dynamic, colourful and forward-looking. With six different businesses, there would be plenty of different strategic questions and interesting things to learn.”
What does your job in the UPM strategy team entail?
“I have two roles: I examine strategic topics on a corporate level and support the decision-making process of the top management, but I also cooperate with the different businesses. My work is very diverse. I study markets, trends and opportunities, and help to analyse data and create impactful presentations. I also organise various workshops and participate in the planning and implementation of both corporate-wide and business-specific initiatives.”
In your opinion, what are the distinctive features of UPM as a workplace?
“We are a modern company that keeps up with the times and fearlessly searches for new opportunities. We value responsibility, employee welfare and a healthy leadership culture. Our businesses are surprisingly diverse and besides the traditional pulp and paper products, we also produce, among other things, electricity and advanced biofuels.”
Can you tell us a bit about UPM’s open-minded, forward-thinking culture?
“We had an internal initiative that investigated the opportunities that digitalisation would bring to UPM, a subject that is highly relevant. The team consisted of people who were passionate about the topic and came from various UPM businesses and roles: biorefinery, environmental responsibility, IT and strategy. However, we did not limit our thinking to UPM’s boundaries. We interviewed key people in charge of digital transformation in other companies and participated in events such as Junction and Slush. This way we were able to gather a huge amount of new information and inspiring viewpoints.”
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
“There are many things that I enjoy. For example, I find it rewarding when, after an intensive workshop, you see the satisfied looks on the faces of the participants. You can feel the change in atmosphere when you’ve reached a better and clearer understanding of the common goals and direction. That’s when you know that the day has been a success.”
Photo: Tage Rönnqvist
Originally published in Univerumin Tulevaisuuden Yritykset 2017.