“I like to jump in at the deep end” – Mia Nikula’s enthusiasm inspires people on a transformation journey
Mia Nikula believes that leading digital transformation is 30% about technology, 70% about people.
Naantali, a small town in western Finland, is best known for Moominworld, a theme park devoted to Tove Jansson’s beloved Moomin characters. Naantali was also Mia Nikula’s childhood hometown, so it was only natural that as a young girl, she applied for her first summer job at the park. She had just finished sixth grade and was about to turn 13.
During her job interview, Mia was told that she could get a job as one of the characters in the park. She would greet children and also act in plays in two languages, in Finnish and Swedish. Could she do that, she was asked.
The only problem was that Mia hadn’t yet learned Swedish at school and didn’t really know the language.
“Of course I can”, she replied. She got the job.
“At first it was a bit difficult, but somehow I managed, and spoke Swedish the whole summer. I ended up spending seven summers at Moominworld”, Mia says now, laughing.
“I’ve always been like that. I love to be around people and learn new things. And I like to jump in at the deep end.”
Mia Nikula has been jumping in at the deep end ever since. While studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management in the town of Rauma, she volunteered at her student council, organizing parties and running the student cafeteria. At the same time, she also took part in singing competitions, played and coached ringette and was later active in her local Junior Chamber International. Somehow she also found time to work as a temp.
After graduation, Mia got a job with the energy company Teollisuuden Voima which was in the process of constructing a nuclear power plant in Eurajoki, near Rauma. She took on increasingly strategic responsibilities, eventually rising to the position of Business Development Manager. Meanwhile, she also worked towards a Master’s Degree at LUT University.
“I became fascinated with the concept of digital transformation. In understood that true transformation in an organization is not really about technology. It’s about developing the whole organization, ways of working and the capabilities within it. I love the fact that at the end of the day, transformation is about people”, Mia says.
“I love working with people who are passionate about change”
At Sofigate, Mia Nikula also works on transformation. Since the spring of 2023, she has been managing Sofigate’s Platform Transformations business. She says her job is “30% about technology, 70% about people”.
“To lead change, you first need to create an understanding of what future success will look like through the eyes of the customer and understand their expectations. Once the desired future has been visualized, we plan, together with people, what services and processes will look like and how we want to work in the future. The most important thing is to describe the change journey ahead in a way that everyone understands,” Mia says.
“Technology is changing rapidly, especially with all the opportunities AI offers. I find it all terribly exciting and love working with people who are also passionate about change.”
Even as an executive with a demanding workload, Mia still likes to multitask. Currently, she is relearning to play the piano so she can accompany her two daughters and sing with them. Not only does she still like to jump in at the deep end, but she is also good at inspiring others to do it as well.
“Recently, I acted as a mentor for a group of Finns, Swedes, Danes and Poles at Sofigate Academy. In my introduction, I talked about aiming high and told them my story about applying for a job at Moominworld. I guess they liked the story since many of them have already wanted to visit at Moominworld.”