TelecomDrive.com | Spotlight on Women in Tech
Leena Koskelainen is a goal oriented person and she strongly believes in this philosophy of “Where there is a will, there is a way”. This has surely helped her move up the professional ladder and gain trust of her colleagues and friends.
While spending time across multiple geographies of Europe, Asia, the Middle-East and Africa, Leena carries unique experience of working in the technology space and has her own way of realizing opportunities, addressing challenges and enhancing capabilities.
As part of our special spotlight series on Women in Tech – Leena Koskelainen, Vice President of Product Engineering, Tecnotree speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about her personal and professional journey.
Personal Profile – Curious, Persistent and Determined
How would you describe yourself?
I’m very curious and eager to understand and learn. I’m also goal oriented, organized and I want to be useful. I can be very stubborn and determined when it comes to the things that I believe in and that I believe are right.
Please share with us some of the defining factors and key learnings in your career?
I have been always ready to jump in at the deep end and learn to swim. Throughout my career in IT and telecoms, I have done so much and learnt things that I didn’t even know existed. I have spent time in Europe, Asia, the Middle-East and Africa, and found that opportunities, challenges, capabilities and even people are all pretty similar everywhere you go when it comes to getting work done.
How do you see yourself as a person? What are your three qualities that have helped you grow as a person and a professional?
I see myself as a curious, persistent and accountable person. I take things quite seriously, I want to understand issues in detail, and I want to always handle things as well as possible, no matter what. This has carried me far and has helped me to establish trust in the workplace communities I have been involved with along the way.
Professional Profile – Mainframes, Telecoms to Customer Support
How do you define success? What is your mantra to succeed?
I’m a strong believer in willpower. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is as simple as that. This has carried me through some impossible situations and challenges and has helped me step out from my comfort zone and to learn new things.
In many projects and activities, the critical success factor is to find or create the right motivation within the team, and to help everyone to see the common goal. Even if all the tools, processes and practices are in top shape, success is not achieved without genuine motivation, or even passion, to succeed and meet your goals.
How has been your professional journey so far? Please tell us about your various job profiles?
I started my career as a software developer, implementing systems back in the 90’s for insurance companies. It was a good experience and helped me to learn how systems work and how to build applications.
During that time, I found myself often sitting with the end-users explaining them the application functionality and trying to understand how to implement features so that they would be most useful.
In these early years of my career, I also noticed that there is a lot of misunderstanding and a lack of clarity in IT projects, which slows progress and leads to bad decision-making. Since then, I have learned to always try to get to the bottom of things early and to bring clarity to the table so that right decisions can be made.
After my time as a software developer, I made a big jump from the mainframe application environment to telecoms and to customer support. It was extremely rewarding to notice that I could understand the problems of others and that I could help to solve them.
I have worked in customer support, sales support, and managed operations, and in all these roles I have felt really good about being able to help others to do their job. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, who can remove obstacles and help everyone to reach common goals.
In early 2000,my family and I moved to Kuala Lumpur, where the company I was working for had its regional headquarters for Asia Pacific. I spent 6 great years in Malaysia getting used to the Asian way of thinking and working and learning many survival methods needed to get by in a complex matrix setup within a multicultural off-shore – on-site environment.
My responsibility in Malaysia was to establish and lead the Competence Center, serving our operations for the Asia Pacific Region. I spent my time training customers and our internal teams. I also created a development center which was focused on localizing our products for the Asian market to support sales and our partners in increasing our business footprint in Asia.
This was a truly versatile opportunity to be part of our company’s international growth in Asia. I learned so many lessons about collaboration, the value of cultural diversity and coming together as a team to deliver products and services with the highest standards.
After that I went to work in product management and lead a business unit that handled managed operations in various Tecnotree locations. In this role, have had many valuable opportunities to see the business from different viewpoints and I have learned the valuable lesson that eventually everything boils down to the customers and end-users, and their perception and satisfaction of the products and services we provide.
What are some of the challenges that you faced and overcome during your professional journey? How did you overcome these challenges?
Looking back, I feel that the world of telecoms – just like my career – has been in a constant state of change. The communication capabilities, tools and technologies available to us have changed extremely fast and we have seen umpteen generations of systems and releases going through our hands.
This has given us plenty of opportunities to learn but it has also set us many challenges along the way. Now, once again, as digital transformation truly settles in and business uptake accelerates, we are on the doorstep of something completely different to deal with.
This will impact our ways of working, the technologies we use, and our expectations for what is possible with automation and new application capabilities will become extremely high. This is a wonderful opportunity to change the world for the better. However, changes are never easy, and sometimes one must be a little crazy to forget the difficulties and to proceed full speed ahead.
What are some of your big goals that you want to achieve?
I currently work with a team of super talented professionals in Tecnotree Innovation R&D. We are at the front line in bringing the true digital experience to telecoms clients and to ensure that CSPs will prevail with digital transformation.
We have high aspirations to completely renew and modernize the end-users’ journey and to help CSPs to provide modern and easy to use services to their end customers, which creates a fantastic user experience.
We are investing in intuitive user interfaces and a technology platform which enables full automation and a zero outage service for the end-users. We have partnered with our key customers to accomplish these goals and are going above and beyond usual expectations to make it happen.
My dream and vision for next five years is that we can help to enable a complete digital transformation of the telecoms industry and to see happy and loyal customers continuing to use modern, digital telecoms services in even greater numbers than we see today.
Zia Askari works as the Editor for TelecomDrive.com and carries over 18 years of experience in technology writing, branding, communications and digital marketing. Over these years, Zia has worked with Cyber Media and Grey Head on the content side and RAD Data Communications, Huawei Telecommunications and Shyam Networks on the branding and marketing side.