Meet our new colleagues Harri Widing, Severi Sinkko, Sami Pelander and Juho Jalonen

Our team is getting even stronger. Welcome to the team Harri Widing, and trainees Severi Sinkko, Sami Pelander and Juho Jalonen.

Harri brings more than 35 years of extensive management experience in the financial sector in Finland and abroad to VALOR’s team of professionals. He has previously worked in the banking sector, asset management and non-life insurance, and as a consultant for Midland Montague, Postipankki, SEB and OP. He also has long experience in management and board work.

Our newest trainees Severi, Sami and Juho are all from Aalto University – Severi and Sami from Industrial Engineering and Management and Juho from Sustainable Energy Systems and Markets. Juho is also studying finance at Aalto.

Severi has previous experience in various market analyses, operational analytics and forecasting at KONE, as well as a variety of roles in startups. Sami has worked in data analytics in both software and forest industry companies. Juho has deepened his analytical skills in previous internships in management consulting and as a sales manager in a construction dust management start-up.

Let’s get to know our new colleagues!

What would be your dream project to work on?

Harri: A broad and challenging project that combines a suitable combination of my own expertise, but more importantly, learning new things and delivering clear added value to clients.

Severi: A dream project – good question! Yes, projects that create solutions that improve people’s quality of life in addition to financial benefits are certainly the most rewarding.

Sami: What makes projects particularly interesting for me is the opportunity to challenge myself and to see the results of the project in practice. I also appreciate long term assignments, as they allow me to go deeper into the problem and different solutions. For these reasons, it would be great to work on a transformational project around themes such as sustainable growth.

Juho: I like projects where you can work with the client to find new business opportunities – a dream project would be working on a pricing or go-to-market strategy in the energy sector.

Summer is just around the corner. What does your summer look like, any plans yet?

Harri: I’m looking forward to the boating summer and relaxing at the cottage.

Severi: I’m looking forward to a lot of cottaging, shouting “FORE!” on frisbee and traditional golf courses and hanging out. Maybe I’ll even do a little kayaking, if the weather permits.

Sami: During the summer, I’m going to invest in my own relaxation and spending time with friends. I’m planning to spend a lot of long weekends at the cottage, a quick trip abroad and jazz festivals.

Juho: I’m going on an adventure to Andalusia with my partner this summer. We plan to enjoy the Spanish cuisine, beaches, mountains and visit Alhambra.

Meet our new colleagues Mikael Karvinen and Joonas Heimonen

The VALOR team is growing. Welcome to our new trainees Mikael Karvinen and Joonas Heimonen.

Mikael has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Aalto University. He has experience in supply chain management and the development of analytics and automation tools. In addition, he has been part of the operational development of a smaller technology company.

Joonas has a wide range of experience in various roles in the finance industry and has just finished his Bachelor of Science in Finance at Aalto University.

You have now worked at VALOR for a month. What has helped you to get involved in the VALOR team and work community?

Mikael: As well as working and eating lunch in the office, I’ve been able to get to know my team through informal one-to-one meetings. Events organised for Valorians outside of working hours, such as the impromptu workshop during my first week, are also a great way to get involved!

Joonas: Everyone in the team has been super nice and approachable, which has made it easy to fit in. Also, my new colleagues have a lot of interesting backgrounds, so a general curiosity has helped me get to know them better.

What does work-life balance mean to you?

Mikael: I believe that a good work-life balance should support long-term wellbeing. I try to do things that give me energy, both at work and at home. In my free time, I prioritise sport and seeing friends and family, whether it’s playing padel in the evening or cooking together.

Joonas: One of the cornerstones of life. When it is out of balance, it affects everything. In the long run, flexibility between work and other aspects of life is crucial.

Meet our new colleagues Jouni Knaapinen, Mikko Puumanen and Topias Saari

Our team is growing! A warm welcome to our trainees Topias Saari and Jouni Knaapinen and to our analyst Mikko Puumanen.

Prior to his internship at VALOR, Topias was an exchange student in Toronto as part of his studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at Tampere University. He has worked in the steel industry as an operational procurement manager and in the paper industry as a logistics planner. Jouni has worked in the Heavy Industry Services business unit and has a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Aalto University.

Mikko completed his internship at VALOR in 2022 and is now back to strengthen our team as an analyst. Mikko has experience in financial statement analysis, company valuation, credit risk management and project management.

To get to know our new colleagues better, we asked them a few questions.

Has working at VALOR lived up to your expectations?

Topias: Working at VALOR has exceeded my expectations in a positive way. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the office, which makes working pleasant. In addition, I appreciate that even in the midst of rush, there is banter with colleagues, which significantly enhances the office experience.

Jouni: My expectations on consulting and VALOR’s professional, solution oriented and encouraging work environment have been exceeded. Every employee’s contributions are appreciated and I have enjoyed the self-driven and flexible nature of my tasks. Moreover, VALOR’s work environment has provided me an opportunity to gradually develop my skills as a consultant.

Mikko: Working at VALOR has lived up to the positive impression formed during the internship. Projects offer just the right amount of responsibility, and the work environment fosters an ambitious yet supportive culture.

What is the most interesting thing about your job at the moment?

Topias: The most interesting thing about my job at the moment is definitely the variety of projects. I work on several different projects, which are very different in terms of industry and content. This brings a nice variety to the days and allows learning new things in different contexts.

Jouni: The broadness of my tasks has given me an opportunity to explore different industries and work methods. The challenging tasks I have been assigned to has carried my interest from day to another and the continuous feedback I have received has really boosted my development.

Mikko: The opportunity to contribute to solving broad and current societal issues has brought both interest and significance to the work. Focusing on a few projects at once also adds variety to the job, keeping things interesting and engaging.

Three promotions in the VALOR team

We are pleased to announce that Jenna Nyländen has been promoted to Senior Associate, Jaro Mykkänen to Associate and Ville Vuola to Associate.

The opportunity to take on responsibility from the early stages of one’s career is deeply ingrained in VALOR’s culture, enabling rapid individual growth alongside the company’s. I am grateful for the trust and opportunity to be part of this growth story! – Jenna Nyländen, Senior Associate

It has been great to see how VALOR gives room for development and for building one’s path driven by personal interest. – Jaro Mykkänen, Associate

I am truly delighted to be a part of the company’s growth and to continue tackling challenges with amazing teammates. – Ville Vuola, Associate

They all bring an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge to our team. Congratulations on the promotions!

Meet our new colleagues Veikko Valtonen and Tuomas Puolakka

Our team is growing.

Veikko Valtonen and Tuomas Puolakka both started as interns at VALOR in January 2024. Before the intership, Veikko worked in the real estate business, focusing on diverse business development and strategy work, as well as sales and customer service. Tuomas gained experience as an entrepreneur in the clothing industry and as a research assistant at various departments at Aalto University.

Let’s get to know our new colleagues a bit better!

What kind of tasks have you started with at VALOR during your internship?

Veikko: I have been assessing profitability in the automotive sector and synergies in the public transport sector. My practical work has included various analyses, interviews, preparation of presentation materials and workshops with clients. 

Tuomas: So far, I have been researching and modelling market developments in the energy sector.

What are you looking forward to the most from your traineeship at VALOR?

Veikko: What I expect from my internship is to deepen my understanding of the business logic of different industries, as well as to internalise the practical working methods of management consulting work. I’m also looking forward to new encounters and of course the VALOR ski trip!

Tuomas: I wish to expand my range of skills through project work and meet new people. Like Veikko, I’m also looking forward to our ski trip in March!

What was your dream job as a child? Are there any similarities with consulting?

Veikko: My dream job as a child was to be a professional football player. So even in my childhood dreams, work life was built around teamwork and working together towards the same goal.

Tuomas: As a child, I aspired to be a businessman when I grew up. At VALOR, we create value for our customers’ businesses, so I got pretty close!

Meet our new colleague Oskari Vappula

We have a new colleague – welcome Oskari Vappula!

He joined the VALOR Investment Banking team as a trainee in December 2023. Before joining VALOR, Oskari worked as a management consultant and as a research assistant at Aalto University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Aalto University School of Economics.

We had the opportunity to interview Oskari and ask him a few questions.

As you have been a part of the VALOR investment banking team for a month now, can you tell me what the most interesting part of your job is?

Certainly! The most interesting part of my job is that I get to step out of my comfort zone daily, which complements my studies perfectly and allows me to develop my skills even in such a short period.

In your opinion, what is VALOR’s top competitive advantage?

In my opinion, VALOR’s top competitive advantage is its collective entrepreneurial mindset, which has been apparent since my first day at the office.

Wishing you a happy new year! How do you feel about the new year, and did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

Thank you! After a relaxing break, I am excited to challenge myself again back at the office. As for New Year’s resolutions, I decided to revisit an old resolution and run a marathon with a close friend.

Broad expertise creates value for clients

Sonja Korhonen and Juha Viljakainen implemented several joint client projects over the past two years. Their diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and working methods enriched the collaboration and improved the project outcomes.

Increasing business value for clients is at the core of VALOR’s operations. It comprises deep industry expertise, structural thinking, efficiency, and surpassing expectations.

In each project a team that best meets the client’s needs is assembled. The composition of the team is also influenced by the individual members’ areas of expertise and topics of interest.

Juha Viljakainen, responsible for VALOR’s financial sector clientele, and consultant Sonja Korhonen are typical examples of work partners who often collaborate on projects.

Juha has decades of leadership experience in the financial sector. He has managed business units, been heavily involved in business development, IT development programs, and strategy formulation. Over his twenty-five-year career in the financial sector, Juha has developed an extensive network and solid expertise.

Sonja, on the other hand, has worked in consulting since her student days. Her typical projects have focused on market analyses and operational improvement projects, including procurement and pricing. Over five years, Sonja has acquired strong expertise in conducting analyses and utilising various data collection approaches in client projects.

Efficient methods bring new information

Sonja’s and Juha’s joint projects have all been closely related to the financial sector, such as wealth management and health insurance. Through their collaboration, they have developed efficient working models and methods.

“VALOR’s clients are well-versed in their respective industries and have a sense of where the market is heading,” Sonja explains.

“However, they need facts to base their decisions on, which we aim to provide through our research. We don’t rely only on public sources; in each project we strive to bring genuinely new information, through for instance market research,” she emphasizes.

According to Juha, the layered nature and intertwining of service layers are prominent in many projects, such as in health insurance.

“We consider aspects from multiple perspectives and levels to ensure the strategy covers all layers. We also work closely with the client throughout the process, helping to prioritize the identified improvement measures into a clear implementation plan,” Juha highlights.

Sonja Korhonen has worked in consulting since her student days. She values the flexible work atmosphere and her motivated colleagues at VALOR.

Low hierarchy in project teams

In their joint projects, Juha has naturally assumed overall responsibility due to his extensive industry experience. Sonja is responsible for conducting analyses, while conclusions are reached collaboratively. Depending on the need, the project team may also include additional members.

“When a project starts, we brainstorm ideas together, after which everyone is given relatively free rein to move things forward. The most important is to utilize the full potential of our expertise,” says Juha.

Sonja adds that they meet up regularly to ensure that all streams work seamlessly together.

Project teams usually comprise individuals from various organisational levels, allowing knowledge, skills and best practices to spread throughout the company.

“We cross-collaborate as much as possible so that the best expert is the one who has investigated or has prior knowledge of the issue, not the highest-ranking person. This ensures a low hierarchy in project teams,” Juha notes.

Juha Viljakainen has decades of leadership experience in the financial sector. He joined VALOR to develop consultancy in this field.

Acquaintances welcomed to VALOR

Both Sonja and Juha became interested in joining VALOR through old acquaintances.

“The high level of ambition at both the individual and company levels persuaded me to join VALOR,” Sonja says and praises the work atmosphere. “Additionally, there is flexibility in the amount and content of work within agreed schedules.”

Juha joined VALOR to build the financial sector consulting from scratch. Moving from a large organisation was a new challenge, and after the initial phase, he has truly enjoyed the entrepreneurial work.

“Although the workload is substantial at times, we all find the work meaningful and strive to get things done,” Juha highlights. “We aim to continually improve our operations and therefore, after each project, we evaluate if we could have done something even better.”

VALOR is growing rapidly and regularly hires new talents to join the team.

“The consulting industry offers excellent opportunities for career development,” Sonja reflects. “Additionally, working closely with partners and seniors, who have deep industry experience and extensive networks, is a valuable learning opportunity.”

An educational background in finance or industrial engineering is common at VALOR. These fields prepare well for consulting work, but other higher education degrees are also valued.

“VALOR is a combination of different profiles working together. Our broad expertise and diverse backgrounds enhance our capabilities and ensure the best outcome for our clients,” Juha concludes.

Meet our new colleagues Timo Hentunen, Markus Melin and Tuomas Suominen

Our team is growing, and we are happy to introduce our new colleagues Timo Hentunen, Markus Melin and Tuomas Suominen.

Our new Senior Advisor Timo has over 30 years’ experience of business development and leadership, as well as of change and transformation as a consultant, in line management positions and as a startup investor. He has worked in Scandinavia, in the UK, and in continental Europe and gained specific experience in the ICT, professional services and manufacturing sectors.

Markus joined VALOR as a Principal. He has long experience of ICT, first and foremost from cybersecurity, with experience from weather data and payment processing as well. Markus has been leading R&D and engineering organizations, running operations teams, delivery and support, and being VP & GM for business units. Markus has held management positions at F-Secure, TietoEvry, Vaisala and Enfuce.

Prior to his traineeship at VALOR, Tuomas worked in wealth management at S-Pankki and business banking at Atom Bank. Tuomas’ previous experience is centered mostly on the financial services Industry. Alongside his traineeship, Tuomas is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Finance at Aalto University.

What have you learned during your first weeks at VALOR?

Timo: VALOR is a team of energetic and ambitious individuals where people also seem to have a lot of fun. Joining the team has been smooth and pleasant.

Tuomas: The first few weeks were full of new things, so it’s difficult to mention only a few things. However, I think the main lesson has been that you are always welcome at VALOR to ask anyone for help, regardless of seniority. This is something that has helped me settle in, as it has allowed me to get to know my new colleagues and gather a multitude of different perspectives!

Markus: VALOR has a very experienced team with highly professional integrity and a genuine aim to focus on solving the customer’s problem. I am proud to be part of such a team.

How do you keep yourself lively and energetic during the gloomier fall days?

Timo: I like to stay active through sports and other activities. During this season, family and friends also give you some of that extra energy you need.

Tuomas: The best way to survive the fall months is to actively go to the office rather than work from home. Obviously, it’s good to have a balance and sometimes work from home as well, but for me, the social aspect that the office offers is crucial, especially when it gets darker and colder.

Markus: Exercise and walks with the dog. A bright-light lamp is a great help too!

Meet our new colleague Ville-Veikko Laukkanen

Ville-Veikko Laukkanen shares his thoughts on joining VALOR.

VALOR is a reliable, competent and trusted advisor in highly demanding needs—something I’d already heard downtown from respected business leaders a few years ago. I decided to follow the development. Meanwhile, the world got even more turbulent, with increasing complexity for companies and respective owners, and I made the connection between the potential, skill base, spirit and results to date with positive trends. Then, I flagged that I wanted to join the team to deliver success to the customers and thereby to VALOR!

I’ve always been bold enough to grasp new things whenever possible. That’s where the beef is right now, and that’s how I’ve gained experience and networks, as well as a realistic approach to must-learn hands-on new approaches without jargon – for example, about tech and data with AI to enable a sustainable competitive advantage. I’ve also realized the need for boldness in raising intuitive ideas, hidden risks or surprising disruptors in the traditional sectors. Today’s winning teams, whether internally or with the customers, need the passion, social skills and capitalized trust to challenge each other. Every day I remember that “Tomorrow wins yesterday!”

Sports provide me with health and both physical and mental everyday strength. Exercise as a hobby brings fresh and inspiring thinking and views into the future. So I actively seek shared sports moments both with customers and internally, perhaps accompanied by a tasty lunch or dinner to deepen dialog and trust. Success is an everyday choice we make!

Ville-Veikko joined VALOR as a Senior Advisor in October 2023. Ville-Veikko has executed growth, transitions and turnarounds in the Nordic finance sector at Varma, Nordea, Tryg, AIG and Sampo. For the past four years, he has run a fast growth data-AI-driven tech company as CEO, continuing there on the board and as CoB with a disruptive digital business at scale. He is also experienced in other board assignments, is active with the National Defence Course and follows the defense sector. 

Six new partners and four promotions within the VALOR team

As VALOR continues on a strong growth track, we are proud to announce the designation of six new partners and four other promotions within our team.

“Since its establishment, the idea behind VALOR has been an open and dynamic ownership structure that reflects partners’ roles in the company. As VALOR has doubled in size every four years, it felt natural to also double the number of partners. The freshly appointed partners have each demonstrated their commitment to the long-term development of VALOR, making this a clear and unanimous decision.” Henrikki Palva, Managing Partner

The following six people have been invited to join the partnership:

It has been a great experience to be a part of VALOR’s growth story in recent years. The growth has been made possible by VALOR’s team’s wide expertise and uncompromising desire to create value for the customer.

– Juha Viljakainen, Partner, Finance

VALOR consists of a great group of people with different complementary expertise. Together with a solution-focused, development-oriented and entrepreneurial culture, VALOR forms an entity that is great to be a part of.

– Kalle Ahlstedt, Partner, Energy

It’s great to witness how VALOR’s supportive culture combined with strong growth has enabled us to advance in our careers and challenge ourselves with new responsibilities also through ownership.

– Johan Matinmikko, Director, Associate Partner

I’m excited for the opportunity to further contribute to our continued growth and success as a company. I look forward to working closely with our talented team to write the next chapter of our story!

– Tuomas Nenonen, Director, Associate Partner

It has been great to experience both my own and VALOR’s growth for five and a half years at VALOR. During this time, I have been able to develop my own professional skills as a consultant in interesting and different projects, which I have been able to do with a motivated and competent team. VALOR has also grown and developed into an even more interesting workplace. In the partner position, it’s great to be even more deeply involved in VALOR’s development.

– Teemu Sirén, Manager, Associate Partner

At VALOR, the mentality has always been to encourage people to grow and take responsibility. The continuous development of the team and business brings exciting opportunities for all of us.

– Tuomas Suomi, Manager, Associate Partner

In addition to the new partners, the following colleagues have been promoted:

The dynamic work environment at VALOR alongside versatile client projects have provided a platform to develop both individually and as a company. I am looking forward to the possibilities ahead together with our colleagues and clients.

– Sonja Korhonen

It is great to work at a place where you are constantly given new challenges, invaluable learnings from your colleagues, and the chance to grow towards the next step in your career. These things make an excellent base at VALOR to keep going forward!

– Anna-Rosa Lehto

I am delighted to be a part of VALOR’s growth and its vibrant culture. Our exceptional colleagues, unwavering commitment to continuous improvement at both organizational and individual levels, and a steadfast focus on serving our customers are attributes that will, without a doubt, drive us forward in the future.

– Jyri Knaapinen

Warm congratulations on the new roles at VALOR.

VALOR constantly gives new challenges and responsibilities the moment one has mastered earlier skills, if not a little before. I find this an extraordinary privilege, and I look forward to being able to bring further value to our clients.

– Robert Kokkola