Listen, question and bear in mind how privileged you are

Who are you? 

I am Anna, Kone Foundation’s Executive Director.

How did you end up working for the Kone Foundation? 

In the autumn of 2007, Kone Foundation was seeking a part-time research secretary and I was seeking a part-time job related to science, and preferably also art. When I called the Foundation to enquire about the position, I learned about the Saari Residence, which was just being started up. This got me really excited. What’s more, the person who gave me further details over the phone sounded very nice; little wonder, as she was my future colleague Hilkka Salonen.

What do you do at the Foundation? 

I manage foundation’s operations, excluding the investments. My work involves the development of ideas, planning, coordination and meeting people. The Foundation has a dedicated Head of research funding, Kalle Korhonen, but no equivalent role for art, so my specialities also include arts and culture affairs.

What’s the best part of your work? 

It is a daily pleasure to be able to work and interact with smart and inspiring people on interesting subjects. I am also delighted to work for an organisation that represents values I can personally commit to.

And what’s the most challenging thing? 

The most challenging aspect of my work is focusing on the essential, when the work is broad in scope and the possibilities appear infinite; in such situations, the Foundation’s strategy keeps me on track.

 If you could be given one super power, what would it be and why? 

Teleportation would be useful. It would be handy to be teleported when several events occur in different places on the same day, bearing in mind that the Kone Foundation has two offices, too. It would also make it easier for me to visit the summer house in Central Finland more often.


Anna Kirsikka Talasniemi, 40, is Kone Foundation’s Executive Director. Anna graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Helsinki in 2004, majoring in Comparative Religion. Anna’s minors included Latin and Roman literature as well as theoretical philosophy.

Anna lives with her spouse Jani, who helps her to think. Outside work, Anna’s interests include gardening, sauna bathing (in mild temperatures), the Yrjönkatu swimming hall and food. Anna is taking classes in keyboard accompaniment and improvisation at the Adult Education Institute, attends West African dance classes on Tuesdays, and does yoga every now and then.

Motto: Listen, question and bear in mind how privileged you are.