Come as You Are

Marjo Miettinen on why a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion is a prerequisite for both thriving in business and solving big problems facing the world.

The share of female applicants for technical- and IT programs in universities in Finland is higher than ever, women representing from 20 percent to nearly 40 percent of applicants depending on the program. Marjo Miettinen, Ensto's Chairwoman and one of Ensto's owners, deserves some credit for this.

In 2013, she and four other prominent ladies in the tech world founded Women in Tech to inspire more women in the technology industry and to stimulate discussion about the choices related to study and occupation. The very first conference was to a packed house, and today, to avoid turning applicants away, the conference may be joined remotely from a computer.

Miettinen’s mission wasn’t entirely altruistic: she wanted more women to come to work in her companies, as well. And she’s still not satisfied. Ensto’s goal is not only growth, but to contribute to tackling climate change with smart technologies for electricity distribution. And that requires a new way of thinking and working, which she believes cannot take place without diversity.

Not enough diversity

Ensto has a formal target of having one-third of senior positions filled by women and other genders by the year 2025. Currently, women occupy 17 percent of senior positions.

"When I talk to young women, they say they want to be involved in solving climate change,” says Miettinen. “This could be why women are interested in tech. They want to solve the big problems. I’m not trying to fill all the positions with women, but rather I’m making the point that we need all genders. And without a clear target nothing happens. Diversity and inclusion are positive. You get more.”

Miettinen says diversity and inclusion have always been a part of Ensto’s roots. “My father, Ensto’s founder Ensio Miettinen, used to say that ‘the only people we don’t want and need are men who wear dark suits.’ By that he meant to avoid people who think they’re better than others. Of course we all sometimes wear dark suits, but his point was to have a ‘come as you are’ culture, to try to hire genuine people, those comfortable with themselves and others.”

“By the end of the 1970s, Ensio understood that machines needed people. He was reading philosophy and thinking about creating a workplace that was inspirational and innovative. If we want to solve the big problems of the world, we'll need the right team. And getting that team requires diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Big ambitions

Ensto’s core values have enabled it to remain true to itself while its face and its business continue to change. “A small family business that once worked extensively in the East is now aiming to be a big family business working in West,” says Miettinen.

Conditions are favorable for that to happen. Ensto has streamlined its business and has the financing for growth. And the market is ready, too. “Every day you read an article about electricity and energy,” says Miettinen. “Since it’s expensive now, people are keen to understand why. They’re interested in what’s behind the socket in their wall.”

What remains is to continue to assemble the diverse team that will carry Ensto toward its goal. “It won’t be easy. It has never been easy,” says Miettinen. “Energy is a conservative business. But the modern utilities and other businesses are all moving in the same direction.”


Women in Tech Forum gathers tech industry in Finland to discuss gender equality and inclusion on October 25, 2022.