Greetings from Alumni: Liisa Leeve, Communications Specialist at City of Helsinki
19 November 2020
We interviewed our alumna Liisa Leeve, who works as a communications specialist at the City of Helsinki. During her time at Hannes Snellman between 2005 and 2010, Liisa worked as an assistant in our M&A team.
Hi Liisa, how are you? How has the second half of the year been?
Hi! I am doing great, thanks for asking. The year as a whole has been, of course, bizarre with the whole Covid situation, but my whole family and all my friends have luckily stayed healthy. Christmas is almost around the corner, so can’t complain.
You work as a Communications Specialist at the City of Helsinki. How has the year been from a communication perspective in your work?
The spring of this year was pretty challenging, as I was assigned to the City of Helsinki’s corona communications task force. But it was also a great opportunity to experience crisis communication from up close. Most of the time, we just practice the routines just in case, but this time it has been extremely real. After the summer, I have returned to my normal post doing communications on sustainable urban development. We are getting started with planning for next year’s voluntary local review of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so there is a lot going on.
You have experience from a public company at Wärtsilä Oyj, from private practice at Hannes, and now from the public sector — quite a versatile career path. Have you done some active career planning, or how have these different opportunities come to you?
I have not really planned things so much except that I have wanted to get into sustainability communications, which I am now doing. That feels great! While I was doing my master’s in corporate communications at Aalto University, I did a minor in corporate responsibility at Hanken School of Economics, so there was definitely a plan in that direction. At Wärtsilä, I communicated about the corporation’s digital transformation, which was immensely fascinating. And those themes are very much tied in with sustainability. There was not necessarily a specific draw to the public sector for me but my current role is super interesting, and I have learned an incredible amount in the year that I have been at the City of Helsinki.
At Hannes, you worked as a legal assistant between 2005 and 2010. Has the background in a law firm helped you during your later career?
Yes, definitely! Working with legal experts prepared me to work with other kinds of experts as well. Since my time at Hannes, I have also worked as a freelance journalist, and in both journalism and organisational communications, you have to be able to tune into the world and thought processes of experts who are very much in a sort of bubble of their own and to translate their knowledge to the outside world.
You also have background as a journalist. If you were to write a piece for a magazine about your time at Hannes, what would that be like?
It would be a story about a recent business school graduate who landed at Hannes a little by accident (I was actually originally applying for another job but the recruitment agency recommended I try out for Hannes too :) but ended up staying for five years because she enjoyed working there so much. Working at Hannes also changed my life personally, as I met the father of my two kids through someone I worked with.
Is there something you miss from your time at Hannes?
My wonderful co-workers, of course! I think we had a fantastic community among the Hannes assistants and other support staff. And since I did not yet have kids back then and there was no coronavirus going around, I think it is safe to say that we hung out a lot more than I do now with my current teammates at the moment.