Online Event

Building Better Boards: Harnessing Cultural Differences

Thursday, October 14 |

5:00 PM – 7.00 PM

Event Details

This two-hour session is organized together with Amcham, Boardman and the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce and it will showcase practical insights from experts on cross-cultural understanding and communication. Additionally, two panel discussions will highlight the experiences of several Board members and Executive leaders from well-known companies. The participants will have an opportunity to ask questions from the speakers and panelists via chat.

This event is excellent for executive or management board members working in Finland or in Finnish companies, who would like to improve the effectiveness of the conversations and decision processes at the highest levels in their organization. Join us virtually on October 14, 2021, from 17:00-19:00 for Building Better Boards: Harnessing Cultural Differences.


17.00 Opening and introductions, Taru Lindeman, Managing Director, Boardman 

17.10 Cultural differences and their practical impact on business – Jan FellerManaging Director, AHK 

  • The six cultural dimensions and examples of implications: Power distance, Uncertainty avoidance and trust 
  • Explicit vs. Implicit communication 

17.40 “What is wrong with these people? – Cultural differences in Board work” – Fireside Chat   

  • Moderator: Egbert Schram, Group CEO, Hofstede Insights  
  • Lauri SipponenManaging Director, VR,  Board Member of several companies 
  • Susan Repo, CFO, ICEYE and Board Member of Mitek Systems, GM Financial Bank, and more.  
  • Tomosaku Sohara, NordicNinja  
  • Discussion topics: 
    • Strategic planning and decision making (the planning element) 
    • Communication and negotiation (the execution element) 
    • Talent attraction and retention (the employer element) 
    • What are examples of culture shock that the panelist have experienced and at what context? 
    • Advices from the panelist what to do when these issues arise? 

18.10 Refreshment Break 

18.15 Cultural reflections from Finnish company boards – Fireside Chat  

  • Moderator: Egbert Schram, Group CEO, Hofstede Insights 
  • Arja Talma, Partner, Boardman Ltd, Board Member of several companies: Aktia, Metso Outotec,,  
  • Mervi Airaksinen, Managing Director, IBM Finland, Member of the Board, Vincit and Nordic Morning Group 
  • Discussion topics: 
    • How can board members use and leverage knowledge and work practices from one organization to other organizations when building a board culture? 
    • Who is responsible of the cultural fit in global companies? 
    • What have you done to utilize the cultural differences in board?   

18.50 Final Words and Next Steps 

19.00 End of the Session 

Event Partner

Event Speakers

Egbert Schram

Group CEO, Hofstede Insights

Egbert Schram is the Group CEO at Hofstede Insights, a global cultural advisory comprising 150 consultants across 60 countries, a Forbes Business Council member and a (non) executive board member in various business associations. He is a thought and practice leader when it comes to making culture tangible. Egbert is known for his ability to make complex people and business topics practical and a strong advocate for making culture the strategic discussion topic it should be. Egbert is a Member of Amcham Finland’s Advisory Board

Mervi Airaksinen

Managing Director, IBM Finland

 Before joining IBM, she has worked as a Managing Director at ALSO Finland and Cisco Systems Finland and the Baltics. She also acts as a Board member and Advisor for Learning Intelligence Group (Chair of the Board), Nordic Morning Group (Vice-Chair of the Board), Vincit Oyj, YTK (General unemployment fund), University of Vaasa, and Technology Industries of Finland. Mervi is a Former Amcham Finland Vice-Chair.

Susan Repo


Susan Repo is the CFO for ICEYE and a Board member of several companies such as Mitek Systems and GM Financial Bank. She has more than 23 years of progressive experience in legal, finance and strategic business operations with hyper growth and global multi-billion-dollar companies. Susan also has extensive board experience as board member and as a global executive in the areas of: high technology, automotive, clean energy & renewables, financial services, SaaS and networking. Susan is a Member of Amcham Finland.

Taru Lindeman

Partner and Managing Director, Boardman

Taru Lindeman is a Partner and the Managing Director for Boardman. She has a long experience in leading and developing the Boardman competence network, partnerships, different development programs and international excursions. Taru has led countless board work evaluations and trainings and has organized hundreds of events about ownership, entrepreneurship, leadership, management, strategies and business trends. She also has personal experience in working in boards for limited companies, foundations and associations.

Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson

CEO, Amcham Finland

Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson is the CEO of Amcham Finland, the Voice of International Business in Finland. Alexandra has significant experience working with leadership and management executives from multinational companies through leadership programs like Amcham’s ongoing partnership with Harvard Business Review and in relevant working groups solving complex-problems faced by business today. Alexandra is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, and moderator on themes such as the transatlantic economy, FDI, Finland as a Business location, U.S. politics and environment, and diversity and inclusion. A dual-citizen, she has lived in numerous countries and travelled extensively.

Jan Feller

Managing director, German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce

Jan Feller is managing director of the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce. A binational, he has had the possibility to study, found own companies and be employed in both countries: Germany and Finland. He has founded three companies, worked 10 years for Nokia and Microsoft, and lectured Cross-Cultural Business at Helsinki University of Technology. Jan has board work experience as an external board member, owner-board member, as well as association board member, and holds a PhD degree in industrial management.


Arja Talma

Partner, Boardman

Arja Talma is a Boardman Partner and she is focusing full-time on board work. Currently she works as a member of Metso Corporation’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee, as Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Aktia Bank plc, as a member of the Board of and as a member of Posti Group Plc’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee. Arja has long experience in financial and general management positions and auditing. She worked for 11 years in management positions in the Kesko Group.

Lauri Sipponen

President, Finnish Railways, VR Group Ltd

Lauri Sipponen is the President of the Finnish Railways, VR Group Ltd. He has always been living, studying and working internationally. Lauri has been building up the Lidl Grocery Chain in Finland from the very beginning the first 20 years, from where the last 10 years as the CEO and country manager.  In August 2021 he started as He has also experience in external board positions in several companies. 

Tomosaku Sohara

Managing Partner, NordicNinja VC

Tomosaku Sohara is the Managing Partner and a founding member of NordicNinja VC by JB Nordic Ventures which is co-created by JBIC IG Partners, Japanese government backed VC/PE firm and BaltCap, Largest VC/PE firm in Baltic Regions. They are a venture capital fund supporting scale-up goals in the Nordic & Baltic region,

For more information contact:

Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson


+358 45 136 6303