Staff interview with Elina Juntunen, the Development Director of Elinar

Elina Juntunen has been in the software company Elinar since day one, starting in 1994. The young woman had an educational background from business and food sciences at the University of Helsinki. She was also interested in technology and had a prospect of running a company, making her the Managing Director of Elinar. The company founded together with Ari Juntunen was first focusing on software programming, Web applications and subcontracting. ”First jobs were software development of elevators and escalators with international maintenance. But soon our field of expertise was expanding at a fast pace”, Elina says thinking back to the beginning of the company. The timing was just right – the Internet was making its way and information technology was constantly developing, giving Elinar a perfect environment to start growing.

In the year 1996, Elina graduated and she started working at Elinar full-time. As a Managing Director, her days were spent on projects, sales and marketing also focusing on economics and quality control. As Elinar grew, new employees were hired to different tasks, which helped her to focus more on her growing duties as a Managing Director. In the year 2013 Elinar hired a new Managing Director and Elina moved onto being Chairman of the Board, taking a break from the operative tasks. In the spring of 2018, Elina started working as a Development Director while still holding onto her duties as a Chairman of the Board.

Being around people and technology

In her current position as a Development Director Elina is responsible for supervising and leading different working groups. In Elinar there are many working groups all responsible for different areas in the company – well-being at work, security, acquisitions – and it’s Elina’s job to lead and organize all of these working groups. In addition to that, she also takes a lead on the conversation of the company’s values and responsibilities. Elina’s days include participating in meetings of projects, resourcing, sales, and marketing, from communication to the surveillance of the AI product development. As the Chairman of the Board, she prepares strategic approaches and as a Development Director puts them on the action. “To shortly describe my job, I basically have to be aware of almost everything that happens inside the company and the surroundings”, Elina says with a smile.

Elina is enjoying herself in her current role as a Development Director. She is motivated by working around people and technology, also Elina enjoys challenging work. “One of the best aspects in Elinar are the people I work with – my colleagues and also our clients”, Elina thanks. During her free time, Elina spends time with her family, jogging, pilates and playing badminton. She also has a cottage that she enjoys spending time at. In her activities, Elina combines the spending time with other people with personal relaxation to balance out her hectic working schedule.

From a small company into an international AI producer

Elina has seen the company change with the industry during these past 25 years. “Elinar has changed a lot. We’ve grown from a micro-enterprise into an international company that employs 30 people, focusing on AI-supported content management solutions”, Elina describes. The World itself has also changed during these years.  For example, at the 90s this industry was still missing a generally binding collective agreement. “We put our effort from the start to the fact that Elinar has values to which we all commit. Our employees and our clients can also count on them”, Elina says.

As a Development Director, Elina keeps a close eye on the industry as well as on Artificial Intelligence development. In Elinar the strategic plans are made for a few years at a time because the trends on the industry are impossible to predict. However, she has a strong vision of the fact that the need for human work will not disappear by utilization of AI. ”It’s great that in the future all the physically challenging and dangerous work tasks can be performed on automated robots”, Elina explains, “even though the working environment is changing, humans will still be needed to supervise, train and control the robot. New job functions and occupations are emerging, as has always been the case within changing society.”

In the future, the ethical rules for AI in companies are going to be under inspections – and this has already been noted in Elinar. “We will produce our own AI ethical guidelines which are based on our values – the ones that have carried us now forward for the past 25 years”, Elina promises.