Family Matters

Ensio Miettinen’s nine grandchildren grew up together, but as young adults they pursued their own lives and projects. Reaching their twenties, something beyond blood ties brought them together again: they began to think about the future of the company their grandfather created.

The seed of the Family Council was planted a decade back, say Ensio’s grandchildren. “Ten years ago we were just spending time together and getting to know one another,” says Iida Miettinen, daughter of Timo Miettinen.

Several summers ago the grandchildren were gathered at Marjo Miettinen’s summer cottage. Their discussion circled around to the family business, and they all reached the same conclusion. “So we took a photo of all of us,” says Marjo’s son, Lari Raitavuo, “and we sent it to Marjo with the message, ‘We want to continue EM Group as a family business.'”

Part business, part social

And so the Family Council was born. Meeting two to three times each year, the agenda of EM Group’s third generation is part business and part social. To learn the business, they may visit factories or be briefed on the business by active managers.

The grandchildren, whose ages run from 15 to 34, are involved in the business to varying degrees. Many have held internships with group companies, frequently in Ensto, doing everything from working on assembly lines and in warehouses to serving in the marketing department. Currently, a few are employed full time with Ensto. And to gain the bigger picture perspective, a few have also taken board seats on some of the other companies owned by EM Group.

When the Family Council meets, even getting to know one another might be interpreted as business related. Members of the third generation are fervent believers that in order to effectively run a world-class organization, the owners must be very good at working together, and also agree on basic values.

“We all share the same values, though not necessarily the same vision,” explains Iida.

“I think developing our team of nine is very important,” adds Lari. “Because when we have a small manifest of core values…”

“We can grow those values together,” says Iida, completing his sentence.

Actions and consequences

Those values are sustainability, green thinking, and “being responsible with a big R,” as they characterize it. So what’s Responsible?

Mikki Valsta, son of Anu Miettinen, offers an example from outside Ensto. “Patagonia is a Responsible company. They try to decrease their carbon footprint. They are aware, and they’re thinking about actions and consequences.”

Family is another value the Council agrees on. Although it’s too early for formal plans, the third generation knows for certain they want to be involved, and that they want to keep it in the family.

All in the family

Certainly, a family-held company means not always being beholden to quarterly results. It means more freedom to play the long game. And it also permits the continuation of the employee relationships that Ensio Miettinen began.

“Ensto has awesome people,” says Mikki. “They really take you in.” He recalls seeing the relationships Ensio had with employees – even in retirement. “My grandfather knew the names of people in the factory. He made it a point to know something about their lives.”

Perhaps most importantly, the decision to continue EM Group as a family business is the third generation’s own. “We just kind of grew into the decision to keep it a family business,” says Iida.

“Nobody’s pushing us,” says Mikki. “We came to it naturally.”

“But,” concludes Lari, “our parents are very supportive.”

The Youth interviewed for this article

Lari Raitavuo, b. 1993

Lari is the son of Marjo Miettinen. He has a QBA-degree and is currently studying real estate management. He currently works as a trainee on real estate projects for EM Group and has worked as a trainee in a variety of departments at Ensto. He’s also working to create a digital archive of Ensto’s historical materials.

Mikki Valsta, b. 1993

Mikki is the son of Anu Miettinen. He currently studies at Metropolia Business School toward his B.S. in Business. He has worked as a trainee in Ensto’s logistics department. Currently Mikki works as summer trainee at Enervent.

Iida Miettinen, b. 1988

Iida is the daughter of Timo Miettinen. She recently completed her Masters in Economics with a major in marketing. She has worked at different departments at Ensto, most recently in Marketing Communications in the Ensto Building Technology business unit. Currently she is Project Manager at Santa Claus Licensing and Partner at Sewatek Oy.

The Parents

Timo Miettinen is an owner and member of the Board of Directors of EM Group Oy.

Marjo Miettinen is an owner and member of the Board of Directors of EM Group Oy. She is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teleste Oyj and member of the Board of Directors of Efore Oyj.

Anu Miettinen is an owner and member of the Board of Directors of EM Group Oy where she is responsible for HR and communications. She is also works as a practising psychotherapist at Intotiimi.

Taru Kokkomäki is an owner and member of the Board of Directors of EM Group Oy. She also works at the EM Group office.

Author: Scott Diel