Great talent supported with a great attitude
Just before graduating from the University of Vaasa, Anna-Kristiina Ylitalo started at Wärtsilä as she was interested in the great opportunity for an international career that Wärtsilä could offer to her. The fact that she could start working while finishing her studies in the same city, appealed to her as well.
At the moment, Anna-Kristiina works as a General Manager in Trade Finance and Export Documentation. “We provide financial support and advisory from various aspects throughout the business. Our main task is international trade risk mitigation, carried out by different types of banking instruments and securities, like bank guarantees and letters of credit. Due to this, we are in frequent contact with a great variety of banks all over the world, “ Anna-Kristiina explains about her work.
The team develops their skills and knowledge together on a daily basis, “I have worked in the same team for all the 11 years I´ve been with Wärtsilä – moving up from a junior role to senior expert level. All I know about trade finance today, I have learnt in this particular team, for which I´m very grateful.“
Trade finance is a fairly marginal and unique field of expertise, combining financial and legal aspects. It is something that is not really taught in any school, as it truly requires learning by doing.
“It´s something you grow into and in order to be able to fully grow into it, you also must learn to know the business you work in. On the other hand, trade finance is something, where you can never consider yourself being ‘already an expert’. There are always different ways of solving problems within the official standards and regulations. All in all, my journey with Wärtsilä so far has been very interesting because not only the trade finance is changing all the time but the energy business too, and due to this, you need to have a constant learning-mode on, ” Anna-Kristiina says about the challenges and opportunities she faces in her daily work.
The whole team plays an important role in the daily work and knowledge sharing. “I’m very proud of Trade Finance as well as Invoicing and Export Documentation teams with Wärtsilä Energy Business, both of which have the best experts in their own field in Finland. This is the feedback we´ve received from the banking sector and I must say that I´m honoured and happy to work with the colleagues in these teams,” Anna-Kristiina says proudly.
One of the most memorable days at work took place about a year ago when Anna-Kristiina went to her first power plant construction site visit in Germany. “The construction and installation process was really interesting to watch and to get some perspective how it looks like from a non-financial standpoint,” she tells.
Anna-Kristiina has a positive attitude to everything she gets involved in. This is shown in everyday situations, such as customer meetings. “I find every customer meeting that leads to mutually satisfying results a success. When being in a situation where both parties are trying to secure themselves from financial risk to the highest extent possible, the negotiation situation is rarely easy. If both parties are satisfied at the end of the negotiations and we have a happy customer, I consider it as a great success,” she tells about challenging but rewarding situations at work.
Anna-Kristiina has learned a lot about her specific expertise area during her Wärtsilä career and she has also noticed many developments taking place in her years with the company. “In both businesses, the product portfolio has grown significantly and this is very much visible in our daily work in business support. Especially when being involved in the sales process, providing financial support, it's clear how the scope we are providing to our customers has an impact on the trade finance-related matters, like payment terms,” she sums up the changes she has experienced in the past years.
Anna-Kristiina believes that all future innovations are targeted to support Wärtsilä’s aim towards 100% renewable energy and future. “Sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions are the key factors for the future. And for the sake of our globe, the companies need to keep themselves innovative.”