Piia Simpanen

Head of Growth Programmes at Technology Industries of Finland Piia Simpanen was interested in many different subjects in upper secondary school. She chose the technical study path, as it allowed her to combine many of her interests.
Piia Simpanen

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path. 

I’m an enthusiastic master of science graduate in technology from Espoo with a keen interest in continual development. I studied bioadaptive technology as well as work psychology and leadership at Aalto University. 

I am currently Head of Growth Programmes at Technology Industries of Finland. Growth programmes are programmes and peer communities that accelerate the growth of our member businesses. A programme that is particularly close to my heart is Women in Tech, an organisational network that encourages women to seek a career in technology and highlights the importance of diversity in the technology business. Many successful companies today place diversity and the culture of inclusion at the core of their growth strategy. I am one of the founders of the network and responsible for running its activities. The theme is very familiar to me because even as a student, I was involved in EU projects that aimed to increase the share of women in technology.  

My career at Technology Industries of Finland has involved working in various units and positions over a period of several years, which has allowed me to get to know technology companies on a broad spectrum and introduced me to a wide network of brilliant professionals. 

How did you end up studying in your field? 

In upper secondary school, I was interested in many different subjects, including psychology, medicine and mathematics. When I finished school, I weighed a number of study options, but chose (what was then) Helsinki University of Technology, because it allowed me to combine many of my interests and assets. As the complexity of human beings has always intrigued me, I ended up studying the human being from different angles. Also, I must admit, I wanted to become a technology student and get that hat! 

What is your best memory from your student years? 

The good times with my fellow students. I particularly remember the many trips around Finland with both the guild of electrical engineering students and Inkubio, the guild for students of bioinformation technology. On those trips, I got to know technology students from other universities. 

What is the most valuable thing you learned at university which has helped you in your professional life? 

Problem-solving skills are always useful in this rapidly changing world (of work). What I also remember is the strong sense of camaraderie among students: you could always turn to someone for help if you were unsure about your studies or other things. The ability to offer help and ask for it is an important one in the world of work. 

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 

Otaniemi was the first place I went to as a baby, because my parents lived in the student village Teekkarikylä at the time.  

What should everyone experience once in their lifetime? 

A bungee jump. The scenery is great from up there and you feel like the king of the world afterwards. 

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