Veera Mäenpää, Legal Counsel
“I was originally supposed to become an actress. That did not quite happen. I graduated as a lawyer in England after first studying comparative religion in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. I left my job at an American law firm in London after three years and then backpacked in Asia for a couple of years. I fell in love with Vietnam and found a job at an international law firm in Hanoi. Back then, Vietnam was one of the Asian tigers and there was a lot of demand for lawyers from London. In total, I lived in Vietnam for ten years over two periods of time.
In 2015, I was looking around for a new job pretty much anywhere in the world. I considered moving to Singapore, but suddenly happened to see a vacancy at Finnfund back home in Finland. From 2016, I have worked here as a legal counsel.
What I find fascinating in my work is that I can focus on finance law whilst the operations we finance are in developing countries, each with its own legislation and peculiarities that come with it. My years in Vietnam taught me creative problem solving above all. I get to constantly learn about new issues and markets. My areas of expertise are debt finance and debt restructurings. I am also keen to learn more about other financial instruments and Finnfund offers an excellent possibility for that. We are constantly training ourselves with my colleagues, and I believe that as a workplace, Finnfund is a great place for a lawyer who wants to continue developing herself and share her own knowledge with others. In this work, flexibility and the ability to tolerate uncertainties mean everything. Our projects are often complex and laboursome and operating in several countries brings its own flavour to the mix.
My motivation stems from the development impact of Finnfund’s operations. Even though we do not think about the results of our work constantly, there is generally a good feeling and a positive vibe in the work community—everyone knows they are doing meaningful work. Our microfinance projects are closest to my heart as their direct impact on the status of the poorest women is significant. We are also encouraged to go and visit the target countries where the projects we finance operate to see their everyday realities.
I am also motivated by the financial results of our work, as the returned funds are invested by Finnfund into new projects. The more our projects yield, the more good we can do in the future.
On a personal level, I appreciate the balance between work and family that Finnfund offers. I also think that experience in the development finance sector will open up many doors in the future.”