Shefali Arora , President
I am from New Delhi and living in Finland since 2002. I am working in Wärt-silä Corporation, leading Product Engineering & Lifecycle management Services globally from Wärtsilä IM. I am responsible to provide IT solutions to enable Sustainable societies through innovation in Technology & ser-vices. Sustainability is close to my heart. I am people’s person & forward-thinking leader who makes things happen. Besides work and being a mother and a wife, I lead an active social life. In my free time, these values also reflect in my persona. I am easily approach-able, trustworthy and treat people with respect. I enjoy arranging events, watching Bollywood movies, cooking, travelling, and learning Finnish lan-guage. I am associated with Finnish-India-Society since 14 years and 12 years as part of the board and actively arranging various events. I have been con-tributing selflessly to be a bridge & building closer links between India, over-seas Indian community in Finland through these cultural events. Being part of our society, I am contributing towards both the cultures and learning Finnish culture at the same time. Besides multiple professional awards & public speaking in Technology world, I won WODESS Woman of the Year award in 2018. My motto is: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.
Tiina Karjalainen, Vice President
My name is Tiina Karjalainen, and I work as an Application Specialist for a device manufacturer called Profound Medical. My job includes training doc-tors and MRI Technicians in the safe use of our devices around the world. I first visited India as a tourist in 1988. I was traveling for a month with a friend. I fell in love with the culture and people of India already then. After all, India is a country that cannot be compared with any other country. For my work, I was sent to India for 1.5 years to lead the clinical testing of our new device. During this time, I became acquainted with many new peo-ple and the wonders of India. So, no wonder that after coming home I joined the Finland-India Society. My motto: What goes around comes around.
Markku Lemmetty, Treasurer
Markku is a retired lawyer and active in many organizations and clubs. He is the president of the Union of Friendship Associations in Finland. Finnish India Society is one of members of this Association among 52 associations. If there is time left from all the meetings, Markku would love to go to the sauna and enjoy swimming in cold water in wintertime. Markku took a study trip to India in 2009 and since then he has stayed on that path. Of course, Markku joined the Finnish-India-Society with a target to gain a lot of information about Indian culture and make good friends. Markku’s top experience was attending the Kumbh Mela Hindu festival on the Ganges River.
Irma Sippola, Secretary, Board Member
Irma works as a project manager in Helsinki in a state wide program Har-rastamisen Suomen malli. In her spare time, she loves to relax, enjoy the beautiful nature, photograph and travel. These all are her passions. She is also quite a cinema fan. She enjoys the voluntary work a lot, specially the lovely people to work with. She has been travelling to India for a very long time. She has a very strong emotional connection with the southern state, Kerala, where she has her second home. She also run a NGO www.snowcastlevalley.org in Kerala to pass our skills forward in coding and design. She works with girls and young women. Snowcastle Valley is for the legacy of her own daughter who she sadly lost in Kerala. With the NGO she keeps her light shining on. Her motto is “You never know”.
Tarja Aalto, Board Member
I got to know India in 1999, when I studied international politics and developing country issues in Helsinki. At the end of our studies, we headed to India, which was our study destination. We became familiar with people, homestays, universities, and NGO projects. We visited e.g. in New Delhi, Kerala, Pondicherry and Varanasi. India’s rich and diverse culture, religions, habits and food were an exciting and interesting shock for us. The abundance of spirituality and religions was surprising. Later, I have visited India several times. Taken people to visit Ayurveda and Yoga Resorts and entrepreneurs to visit SME events. I have also visited Ashrams. India is a versatile country that knows how to surprise and which I immediately fell in love with on my first visit. In Finland, I work as an entrepreneur in the Good Waves Consulting company, in training, coaching and service design projects. My areas of expertise are holistic well-being, regenerative tourism, sustainable development, and the culture of humanity. https://humaneliving.johku.com/. I also work as a freelancer trainer of Mieli ry, the oldest organization promoting mental health in Finland. Motto: Life is full of surprises – curiosity, humanity and sustainable development take us forward.
Rajiv Arora, Board Member
I moved from India to Finland on a job rotation in 2001 for 1-2 years and here I am still after 22 years. I am an entrepreneur and provide Project Management Services to major technology companies of Finland. I love Finnish nature and keep exploring it by travelling in different parts of Finland. Being an Indian, I am a natural cricket player. Few years back I developed a liking for Golf and since then have spent many summer days in golf courses around Finland. Snow and winter darkness does not bother me much, however, snowstorms and icy roads are not my favourite. I like movies, music, festivals, and different cultures. With two home coun-tries, Finland and India, it’s a very natural motivation for me to be a part of Finnish Indian Society and work towards cultural exchange between the two countries. My Motto – Be Honest, Be Truthful, Be Ethical.
Sandeep Shah, Board Member
I guess you could really call me a citizen of the world. I was born in Africa; I grew up in an Indian home and my roots are in India. And in the United States I have spent long periods of time. But I have always considered Finland my home country, after all I came here when I was 2 years old. For almost 15 years, I have worked for the development of the vitality of the capital region by attracting foreign companies to invest here, succeed and create jobs. Many of these companies are ol-leet Indians. In the Finland-India Society, I want to continue to increase interaction be-tween Finland and India, especially through interesting club activities and cultural exchange. It has been gratifying to see how Finland has increas-ingly become aware of Indians, e.g. through increased tourism. The same applies to those Finns who are interested in India and bravely set out to explore this wonderful country. You can do that from your own couch through movies, music and literature, or by participating in numerous India-themed events that are offered throughout the year. It’s a short jump to visiting the place – 9 hours and a direct flight.
Ashu Patpatia, Board Member
I am born & brought up in northern India. I come from a big family and active social circle. I moved to Finland 30 yrs back after getting married. Initially it was a cultural shock, but snow was exciting part for me. I got connected with Finnish-India-Society in year 2002. It was a new be-ginning for me to meet new people & spread Indian culture through our festivals. I love arranging events & with our society we started to arrange Diwali & other events. I like socializing, enjoy traveling & love cooking.