Building better boards: Harnessing cultural differences

Building better boards: Harnessing cultural differences

This online training session is aimed at international and Finnish executive and management board members working in Finland or in Finnish companies. In this webinar you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Finnish business culture and national idiosyncrasies compared to many other countries. All of topics are considered from the board of directors and management team perspective. This session will give new insights also for those Finns that want to reflect and better understand their own experiences in international markets.

The programme for the webinar is prepared in co-operation with AmCham Finland and German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, AHK Finnland

For more information, please contact Heli, heli.koukkula(a)


17.00 Opening and introductions, Taru Lindeman, Managing Director, Boardman and Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson, CEO, AmCham Finland

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

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

17.40 Cultural reflections from Finnish company boards – Fireside Chat, moderated by Egbert Schram, Group CEO, Hofstede Insights


  • Arja Talma, Partner, Boardman Ltd, Board Member of several companies such as Aktia, Metso Outotec and
  • Mervi Airaksinen, Managing Director, IBM Finland, Board member of several companies such as Learning Intelligence Group, Vincit Oyj and Nordic Morning Group

18.10 Refreshment Break

18.15 “What is wrong with these people? Cultural differences in leadership” – Fireside Chat, moderated by Egbert Schram, Group CEO, Hofstede Insights


  • Lauri Sipponen, CEO and President, VR Group Ltd., Board Member of several companies
  • Susan Repo, CFO, ICEYE and Board member of several companies such as Mitek Systems and GM Financial Bank
  • Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner, NordicNinja VC and Board member of several portfolio companies

18.50 Final Words, Taru Lindeman, Managing Director, Partner, Boardman

19.00 End of the webinar


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 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 is the 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.
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.
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.
MERVI AIRAKSINEN is the Managing Director at 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.
LAURI SIPPONEN is the CEO and President of the Finnish Railways, VR Group Ltd. He has always been living, studying and working internationally. Mr Sipponen 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 the President of the Finnish Railways, VR Group Ltd. He has also experience in external board positions in several companies.
SUSAN REPO is the CFO for ICEYE and currently serves on the Boards of Mitek Systems (MTEK), GM Financial Bank and Call2Recycle. Susan has more than 25 years experience in legal, finance and strategic business operations with hyper-growth and global multi-billion-dollar companies. Susan’s extensive board experience as board member, audit committee chair and as a global executive in high technology, automotive, clean energy & renewables, financial services, networking, software and SaaS internationally has allowed her opportunities to provide strategic value to the companies she has served. ICEYE is a member of Amcham Finland.
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.