What is the status of women in business in Finland and globally? As a woman, what challenges do you face in the workplace? And what are your success stories that we can learn from?

This Monday, at member Fondia’s marvelous offices, Amcham hosted a Women’s Network session to discuss those questions. We had the opportunity to share insights and learn how to overcome gender equality challenges and how to leverage success in the workplace, both locally and globally.

We heard from Joanna Roper, United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality, her experiences from the U.K. and around the world during her extensive international career, the shared and non-shared challenges women in business face. Marianne Saarikko Janson, Fondia’s Founder and Head of Commercial, shared her entrepreneur story about changing the status quo and re-defining a business model at the field of law.

There are differences in gender equality in the workplace depending on the industry, region, age and alike. Much has been done to remove the gaps, much is yet to be done, and we can all work actively to promote gender equality in our daily lives.

Here are Joanna Roper’s top ten tips for women in business:

1. Don’t listen to your gremlins – these little voices in your head that tell you you’re not clever enough and hold you back from making your point or make you apologize when you intervene in meetings. Lean in, speak up and put that impostor syndrome back in its box!

2. Think about the kind of style you want to convey, including how you dress. Be smart and develop good personal impact – it’s how people will remember you. Get someone (a friend, colleague, mentor, boss) to help you develop your personal style and don’t be afraid of showing your emotions or flexing your personal style for the fear that it will undermine you. It’s fine to do so and in fact it makes you more human. Just try not to overdo it.

3. Exploit opportunities as they come your way – they often lead to other opportunities that you might not have thought about. While you don’t need a definitive plan, do think strategically. Do jobs which interest and excite you and which help you towards a longer-term goal, whether it is a promotion or a specific role.

4. Push yourself out of your comfort zone – it’s a great way to develop and stretch. Even if you feel nervous when you start, you can look back and be proud that you took on and accomplished a new challenge. Take on a corporate role too – it’s interesting and helps you understand the organization. It also helps to increase your own visibility and might just open new opportunities.

5. Leadership can be lonely so find people to talk to, whether in-work mentors or buddies, or a support network outside work. They both help to create perspective which is vital at times of stress or change. Identify people around you who will tell you when you get it wrong – they’re gold-dust – as it’s not always easy to judge if you don’t get something right.

6. Never sacrifice the things that are really important to you. Don’t be embarrassed about making space for what really matters; whether not missing more than 2 children’s bedtimes in a row, or trying to get to the gym every now and then, or even making time for work that energizes you (e.g. mentoring, leadership) and not just doing the energy-sapping things. Prioritize ruthlessly!

7. Don’t let them get you down! We all take knocks every now and then, whether it’s from bad line managers, or from mistakes that we make and then learn from. Develop resilience, learn from difficult experiences, but don’t let them dominate how you see yourself. Your networks, friends and mentors can help you take a step back and retain perspective.

8. Learn what you’re good at, and be proud of it. There’s always plenty that we kick ourselves about, and feel frustrated that we’re not better at. We are better leaders if we also recognize our strengths, and make the most of them. Self-awareness is a powerful thing.

9. Build, maintain and make the most of your networks. It pays dividends, provides a support network, but also enables you to draw on experience and expertise that you might not otherwise have access to. Don’t be nervous of actively building and using your networks. It’s not only part of our job but will also work for you personally.

10. Finally, nurture those around you as you have been nurtured. It’s good for you and for your colleagues. It’s the right thing to do.


With special thanks to Joanna Roper.



United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality

The Women’s Network is Amcham’s longest running program. The high-level forum covers key developments and issues that are of particular interest to women in business. Dozens of executives can attest to the career-boosting insights and contacts the network has brought within their reach. The sessions feature internationally renowned women from the world of politics or business and focus on professional development.

For more information contact Jenni Isola.