Two women walking through the university
Two women walking through the university
Let’s Unite! – Get to know Minna-Kaarina Forssén and Anneli Vartio
Two women walking through the university
Minna-Kaarina Forssén started as the Key Liaison Officer for Unite! at Aalto University in August 2022 and Anneli Vartio as Unite! project manager in June 2022.

Image of two women walking through the university

Minna-Kaarina Forssén started as the Key Liaison Officer for Unite! at Aalto University in August 2022 and Anneli Vartio as Unite! project manager in June 2022.

Minna-Kaarina has obtained long-standing work experience as well as a strong theoretical background in management, organisation development and work psychology. In both business and academic context, she has gained experience in different roles having worked as a board member, director, developer, researcher, project manager and coach at both strategic and operational levels. You can also meet Minna-Kaarina hiking in the mountains, kayaking in the sea, meditating on the yoga mattress, enjoying in the opera or in a café while writing on her memo book and watching people passing by.
Anneli Vartio oversees the operational management of Unite! actions at Aalto University. Anneli has 30 years of experience in international cooperation in the research sector, especially in EU collaboration. Before joining Unite! Anneli worked at the School of Business at Aalto University where she coordinated some EU projects. In her free time, she likes to do sports, travel and attend cultural events. Music especially is near to Anneli’s heart as she plays the piano herself.

Minna-KaarinaHow do you see Unite!’s future?

We have started a very interesting phase in Unite! We are moving from the piloting phase to a more sustainable Alliance with two new partners. It means we must be more visible for students and academics, be able to carefully listen to their needs and build Unite! activities that are beneficial for students and all staff. Therefore, it is good we´ll have more resources to communicate and involve students with the support of the nine student liaison officers. In addition, the seed funding has already raised interest among Aalto people. I am looking forward to seeing how many good initiatives and applications we will get for the first call of seed funding for research, teaching & learning and student activities.

Anneli - from your point of view, what is the advantage of working or studying at a Unite! university? What do you think is special about the Unite! alliance?

It’s great to be a part of creating better studying opportunities for future students and work with such enthusiastic colleagues! Being an alliance of nine recognized universities Unite! has a great potential for developing interesting and tempting study paths for students, taking advantage of the latest technology, infrastructure and facilities. At the same time, it has the advantage of combining different cultural environments across the whole Europe.


More information about Minna-Kaarina and Anneli's positions within Unite!: 

The Unite! governance assigns clear responsibilities and enables efficient decision-making in managing Unite! at the different levels within the institutions: 

Key Liaison Officers (KLOs) are in charge of the operations in each Unite! partner university. A KLO is mandated by the rector or president of the respective member institution. Thus, KLOs are the main drivers and operational managers of the Unite! partner universities; they are responsible for the progress, implementation of the activities in their universities and communication of the results and opportunities of Unite! into their institutions as broadly as possible. The KLOs meet regularly online or in a hybrid form in the Unite! Steering Committee (USC) to generally steer and coordinate all activities and objectives of the alliance. In order to maintain the close interaction between the alliance activities of Unite! and single institutional activities and objectives, the KLO of each partner internally reports regularly to their president and other members of the top- management and presents – together with the presidents/rectors – the progress of Unite! in internal institutional governance bodies (such as directoire, senate, deans of the schools, advisory boards, student parliament, etc.)

Unite! partner's project managers work together with the KLO's of each university to plan and oversee the projects within the institution, from the initial ideation through to completion. They coordinate people and processes to deliver projects on time, within budget and with the desired outcomes aligned to objectives.