Career story: A good director enjoys being around people

Since the beginning of March, Heikki Vuorenmaa has been taking care of two director jobs in Salmisaari in Helsinki as well as in Stockholm. He thinks that developing interaction and negotiation skills is highly useful to anyone interested in management duties.

Name, position and age

Heikki Vuorenmaa
Senior Vice President, Group Procurement, and Senior Vice President, Paving, Sweden
Age: 35

What kind of training and education do you have?

I studied at the University of Vaasa and got my Master's Degree in Business Administration in 2006.

How did you end up in your current position?

After I graduated, I worked as a controller for Metsäliitto, then moved to Nokia in 2008 and then on to Microsoft after the acquisition in 2014. I was the global sourcing director at Nokia/Microsoft with the responsibility for the mobile phone business. I also worked in the same duties in Taiwan in 2014. My years with Nokia and Microsoft were tough, but taught me a lot and have been very useful in my current job. I started working as Lemminkäinen's procurement director in October 2015.

Since March 2017, I have also been the head of Lemminkäinen's paving operations in Sweden. Paving forms a major part of our business in Sweden, and we operate in six different regions there. Our Swedish headquarters are located in Stockholm.

You currently hold two positions. How do you divide your time between the two?

At this time, approximately two thirds of my working time is spent with paving in Sweden and approximately one third with the Group's procurement tasks in Finland. Luckily, I have an excellent procurement team, which largely manages its own operations.

What is your typical working day like?

My working days vary greatly, and I don't really have a "typical" day. What is common for all days, however, is that most of my work entails encounters with people, both in person and by phone. I talk both to people inside Lemminkäinen and to external suppliers of goods and services. Contacts and interaction with many kinds of people is what I like best about my job.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect is to communicate to others the ideas and messages I find important in such a way that they all understand them in the same way. This is usually best achieved face-to-face.

Because I'm working two jobs, my days are sometimes a bit long, but I cherish the principle that I don't continue my working day at home in the evening. Instead, I stay in the office a bit longer if necessary or occasionally take care of something urgent in the morning before my family wakes up. Luckily I'm an early bird, whereas the rest of the family enjoys sleeping a bit longer.

What kind of person does well in your roles?

A person with good interaction and negotiation skills and a solution-centered mindset: in negotiations, it's more important to find a result which is satisfactory to both parties than to convince everyone that your opinions are the right ones.