Enterprise Culture Developer Maria Martikainen
Hi! My name's Maria Martikainen, and I along with my siblings, represent the second generation of our family at Genelec. This company was founded by my father in 1978 just a couple of months before my birth, as such, Genelec has been a huge part of my life from the very beginning.
Over the years, my relationship with and feelings towards the firm have varied considerably. It is not always easy to have a company as one of your siblings. I have vivid memories from my childhood about my father testing monitors in our living room and I can clearly picture the biscuit drawer in the factory's old cafeteria. It's a fun turn of events that it's now my own children enjoying the biscuits there.
I started work at Genelec when I was 15 years old. My father Ilpo took me to the AES Exhibition in Amsterdam with the rest of the Genelec team to familiarise myself. After that, I worked at several exhibitions and found it extremely rewarding, with a lot of learning and very interesting people to meet. I especially remember the Los Angeles exhibition I attended in 1996 where we introduced the 1029A, our first loudspeaker design to feature a diecast-aluminium cabinet. I remember my father, who was quite shy in his nature, saying a few words about the 1029 to our curious visitors. I’ll never forget how he kept some supporting notes in his hand, it's become a precious memory of mine, because I saw both his vulnerability and his resoluteness at the same time.
Maria and Juho Martikainen
In 2017, shortly after my father's unfortunate passing, we launched Genelec's The Ones Series at London's Metropolis Studios. During that emotionally very difficult time, the launch felt so beautifully executed, and perfectly fitting. I could see the devotion and enthusiasm of our people, and I was so happy and proud that we were continuing the heritage started by my father.
These days, I have multiple roles at Genelec, and I've been involved in the running of the company since 2016. I work daily in our Human Resources team where I mainly contribute to meetings, consult with employees, and organise inductions for our new recruits. Above all, I wish to be a good example of our long-standing company culture of humbleness and approachability.
Our personnel really command my respect, and they're the reason that I continue to feel drawn to this company. They have such a large variety of knowledge, wisdom, professionalism, humour and understanding of life. I'm not exaggerating when I say that every day I can feel our people's enthusiasm towards work, and I'm left stunned by their expertise. It's a gift to be part of a community in which it feels we happily share our lives together.
My family at home is still a relatively new unit. I met my spouse in 2014, a little over a year after becoming an independent mother of twins. The road to motherhood wasn't straightforward for me, and I must say that I consider my decision to have children independently to be the best choice I've ever made! My spouse has three children of their own, so we've become a big family of seven, although two have already left home to live on their own. Nowadays, we live in Kuopio, which is about 85 km south of Genelec's factory in Iisalmi. I've been remote working here since the start of the pandemic, so it feels exhilarating to return now to meeting our brilliant people face to face!
In my spare time I like to walk our dogs, knit, and do Pilates, and then during the summer I love to pick mushrooms with my spouse. Currently, my favourite mushrooms are Penny Buns (Boletus edulis), Tall Russulas (Russula paludosa) and Curry Milk Caps (Lactarius camphoratus). My childhood home was surrounded by forested areas and fields, and I feel that my countryside experience gave me a natural affinity towards sustainability. I think it's important to know your own scale within the wider ecosystem - to think for example about how we stand compared to very old trees, or how incredibly complex even tiny lifeforms like insects can be. This reflection makes us humble, and perhaps in the end we realise that nature is vital to everything we have.
You may have noticed that I chose to include books in my photo above, and so, as you come to the end of my article, I'd like to leave you with a note about reading, a pastime I've cherished since childhood. I distinctly remember the many hours I spent reading as a youngster with my feet dangling over the armrest of the burgundy armchair in our living room. Books have helped to shape my way of thinking and have positively nurtured my interpretation of the world and its people. They've given me the possibility to reflect on my own thoughts and behaviour, enabling me to realise that how we use words and speak to each other matters a great deal. I think the simplest solution is to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, and yet that often seems very challenging to do. I believe it's worth rising to the challenge, because those who do will ultimately find peace with themselves and others.
Maria and Paula Ruotsalainen
Greetings from a colleague:
I've worked alongside Maria for several years now, and she's been a wonderfully friendly and helpful person. Maria is someone I can always trust no matter how challenging the situation may be. The joy that can be seen in her eyes is something that I really appreciate.
Maria, it's been a great pleasure to know and work with you!
Your colleague Paula