A Cross-disciplinary Advisory Board

The Delegation for the Alumni Association of the University of Helsinki arranges its meetings at the campuses of the University of Helsinki. The University faculty have been eager to discuss potential ways to engage alumni and to cooperate with the Alumni Association in 2019.

During the visit, the delegation aims to familiarize themselves with the education and top research taking place on that campus. The question of which fields and careers will likely employ new graduates is of special interest to the delegation. The delegations goal is to support the university’s interaction with the broader community. The delegation’s participants have expressed a desire to get to know firsthand the different faculties and their endeavors. 

On Tuesday the 4th of September, the delegation was on the Meilahti campus’ Terkko Health Hub. During the visit, members of the delegation familiarized themselves first with collections of TERKKO health sciences central library, HealthHub and LUX HUMANA. The LUX HUMANA is a humanities focused collection. After the tour, Anne Pitkäranta presented the top research projects of the faculty, and Vice-Dean of Education, Tiina Paunio, presented an overview of the school’s curriculum. The delegations visit concluded with a discussion with Vice-Dean Kari Reijula about increasing the cooperation between the faculty and the Alumni Association. The School of Medicine and the Alumni Association have several common causes they will seek to work on cooperatively during 2019.

Meilahti campus seeks to keep the delegation and its members up to date on the activities of the school as part of their goal of increasing the school’s interaction with companies and communities of import. In November, the delegation will hold its meeting at the city center campus. 

Kati Myllymäki is chair of the Advisory Board. She is a medical alumna and CEO of the Finnish Medical Association.

"We are the largest Nordic alumni association as regards the scope of our membership and activities. Likewise, we are among the leading alumni associations in Europe in terms of participation rate, with a membership total that continues to grow. So, we have every reason to feel proud. But we must also bear in mind that our alumni activities were established quite recently in comparison to many other top universities. We still have a lot to do.

We also have reasons to remain vigilant. Changes to university funding, the reorganisation of  administrative structures and the upcoming reform of entrance examinations are all hot topics in the academic community. Alumni must contribute to the public discussion to defend the concepts of a research university and a civilised state."

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Christina Gestrin is first deputy chair of the Advisory Board. She is a politician and former Member of Parliament, as well as an alumna of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, specializing in environmental protection.

Gestrin was a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2015. She has also been vice-chair for SFP and chair for the parliament group.

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Arto Ojala is second deputy chair of the Advisory Board. He is a consultant for Avepo Oy and a Finnish politician, previous Mayor of Kemijärvi and labour market director. He sits on the Kemijärvi council and on the board of the Regional Council of Lapland.

Ojala is a political science alumnus (M.Sc.), majoring in macroeconomics with studies in statistics, mathematics and political science.

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Taina Aaltonen is an alumna of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and works as Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Aaltonen has also worked at the ministry as Veterinary Counselor and Deputy Department Manager.

Since 2007 she has worked as Director at the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, where she is responsible for the general health and wellbeing of animals.

Heidi Andersson is a freelance writer, activist in matters of nature conservation, and a jurisprudence alumna.  She is a board member of WWF Finland, and has had her own legal firm. 

Andersson co-founded the alumni foundation Friends of the Environment.

Seppo Honkapohja is professor at the Aalto University, economist and political science alumnus.

Honkapohja has previously worked, among other things, as professor of macroeconomics at the University of Cambridge, at the Academy of Finland, the University of Helsinki, Harvard, and at the Turku School of Economics. Honkapohja's research deals mainly with monetary policy.


Taisto Hujala is a Master of Laws with court training and an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, and is now an authorised lawyer giving legal counsel at If P&C Insurance.


Juha Jolkkonen is Executive Director for the Social Services and Health Care Sector in the city of Helsinki. He is also Seure Oy's board member and has previously worked as chief physician for the Social and Health sector in the city of Vantaa and as chief of the results unit for hospital services.  Jolkkonen is a medical alumnus and doctor of medicine. 

Kirsi Komi is an attorney, board professional and jurisprudence alumna (L.L.M). She works as chair for the Veikkaus board as well as for the Docrates Cancer Center board.

For a great part of her career Komi worked for Nokia, first as a lawyer and later as General Counsel & Executive Board Member of Nokia Siemens Networks.

Since 2010 Komi has sat on the following boards: Bittium Oyj, Citycon Oyj, Finnvera Oyj, Martela Oyj, Mestä Board Oyj, Patria Oyj, SPR Veripalvelu, Vekkaus Oy, Docrates Oy, Directors' Institute of Finland - Hallitusammattilaset ry.

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Leena Niemistö is a Board Executive, Healthcare Professional and active as an investor in the healthcare sector. She is deputy chair for Pihlajalinna Oy's board, chair for boards of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the Opera and Ballet Support Foundation, as well as deputy chair for Stockmann Oyj's board. Niemistö is an alumna of the Faculty of Medicine (MD, PhD).

Mari Pantsar is Director of the Finnish Innovation fund Sitra. She is also active as board member of the Tampere University of Technology Foundation and the Ahlström Capital Cleantech Management Ky. She is an alumna of the Faculty of Science.

Jari Pitkälä is a Sales Management professional, currently Executive Vice President of Sales & Customer Relationship Management at the Barona Group Ltd. He is an alumnus of the Faculty of Theology.

Sami Sarvilinna is City Manager at the City of Helsinki. Sarvilinna is an alumnus of the Faculty of Law and Humanities.

Anna-Maria Soininvaara is Director of the Helsinki Central Library and an alumna of the Faculty of Arts.

Teemu Tanner is the Finnish ambassador to the embassy in Paris. Tanner is an alumnus of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Timo Tanninen is the director of the Ministry of the Environment and alumnus of the Facul­ty of Ag­ricul­tu­re and Fo­re­stry.