Head of Communications of both the Finnish National Gallery and Ateneum Art Museum, Johanna Eiramo, enrolled in Aalto EE’s Global Leader program in 2020.
“The Finnish National Gallery is Finland’s largest art museum organization. It comprises of three museums: the Ateneum Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. Each year, our museums attract a total attendance of more than 600,000 visitors,” Eiramo explains.
“Internationalization is one of our strategic focus areas. My job includes building new international connections and communications, so I decided to participate in Aalto EE’s Global Leader program to gain a deeper understanding of leadership and strategic planning especially from an international perspective,” she says.
Eiramo has an M.A. from NYU where she studied political history and cultural anthropology. She admits that she was somewhat hesitant before the program started: would she be the only participant with a background in humanities in a room full of business leaders?
Our diversity definitely enriched the learning experience."
“I need not have worried. Sure, there were plenty of people with strong backgrounds in business – but our group was delightfully diverse and international, with participants from a wide array of industries. I fit right in. Our diversity definitely enriched the learning experience, and we learned a great deal from one another. Discussing strategy with a Cardiologist or a Process Engineer really opens up new ways of thinking,” she reminisces.
Useful insights for upcoming strategy work
The Finnish National Gallery is commencing strategy work this year. Eiramo says this will provide a marvelous opportunity to implement many of the lessons she learned during the program.
“Everything I learned during the Leading Change and Global Strategy modules will be highly useful in our strategy work. Likewise, the insights I gained during elective the Strategic Foresight module will be put to the test in our strategy work, because the museum sector has a real opportunity to be an even more relevant content provider for consumers in their free time, if we find the courage and funding to move forward,” she remarks.
“All the modules were beneficial, but the Strategic Foresight module deserves special praise. It was exceptionally rewarding – and especially appealing to my inner strategist. It challenged me to thoroughly reflect on ongoing large-scale changes in our field, as well as future outlooks,” she emphasizes.
Creating a stronger international presence for Finnish art is central to Eiramo’s work. She affirms that the program provided many useful ideas on how to advance this goal as well.
“The Strategic Marketing module, for example, gave me valuable insights for determining how we will engage new target groups for future art content,” she points out.
Inspiring new viewpoints
Eiramo participated in just one module, Leading Change, before the program switched to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was skeptical about online learning, but I am happy to say that my prejudice was uncalled for. All the online modules were great, and we had genuine, fruitful dialogue. Aalto EE is very professional in arranging programs online,” she affirms.
Aalto EE is very professional in arranging programs online."
Eiramo was particularly pleased with assignments conducted online in smaller groups of 5–6 people.
“I got to know fantastic new people during the program, especially through working in smaller groups. We were given highly challenging tasks and solving problems together was very gratifying. It was tremendous how much wisdom and inspiring new viewpoints one could accumulate during the sessions,” she mentions.
Eiramo says she is happy to recommend Aalto EE’s Global Leader program.
“The program gave me valuable insight about strategic planning and leadership, as well as interesting new perspectives about various industries. I am happy to recommend participating. Global Leader is an especially good choice if your organization has aspirations or the opportunity to focus more on long-term, strategic planning for the future,” she concludes.