IWF Finland is part of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), which is an invitation-only membership organization of more than 7,000 diverse and accomplished women from 34 nations on six continents. IWF Finland has over 70 members, representing the leaders in corporate life, public administration, culture, science and arts.
IWF advances women’s leadership and champions equality worldwide by connecting accomplished women into a welcoming and supportive peer-to-peer network of trust both locally and globally.


Our mission

We are The Point of Reference when women leaders in Finland are discussed

We are a major force in driving the development and discussion around female leadership in Finland


With women leaders you win

Our purpose

To advance women in leadership

To connect as women - in Finland and globally

To grow as leaders

Whom to

Senior women leaders - at the peak of their domain

Young women leaders with a proven track record on their way to the top corporations – who are ready to support and benefit from women in leadership

We provide

A global peer-to-peer network of women leaders

Ability to learn from and connect with like-minded women

Professional advancement and career progression through a valuable network

Sisterhood and support

Advancement of essential leadership capabilities

The leadership of today - and tomorrow


Finance and world affairs

Coaching leadership

How we do it

Dine Around -events

Themed events

Mentoring program

Sparring events

Global conferences

Actively building bridges globally

Our values

No queen bees: We are diverse, open and supportive

Trust and support: We build trust and nurture a safe and supportive environment

Determination: We are determined to make a difference to each other and the next generation women leaders.



Upcoming  events

On hold until further notice

Exclusive visit at YLE

We will have a unique opportunity to visit YLE and to dig deeper into the world of television production. The event will start by enjoying a cup of coffee and having a discussion with the YLE representative.

Past events

Invitation from

Bird & Bird

- Women Leadership Forum 

5/2/2020 at 17

IWF members have been warmly welcomed to Women Leadership Forum 2020 by Bird & Bird.


Board members


Pictures by Ville-Valtteri Konttinen

Behind The Scenes

"As volunteers of IWF Finland, we are thrilled to be part of an organization that brings together empowered and exceptionally talented women. IWF Finland has given us a unique chance of self-development by surrounding us with magnificent women, as we believe that we are the average of the five people we most associate with.


 Our goal is to build bridges between generations and bring together women of all ages. We hope that one day we can share our knowledge and expertise with other like-minded and talented women in Finland and worldwide."

Satu Ryytty

Ida Ilkko

Iida Lindfors

IWF Finland Membership criteria

In order to be welcomed as a Member of IWF Finland, a Candidate is expected to meet the following criteria:


  1. The Candidate is a distinguished influencer within his or her own field who is committed to promote women leadership and networking in a global environment.

  2. The Candidate possesses at least five years of experience in leadership.

  3. However, experience in leadership referred to above is not required within the field of science or art and other cultural fields and only the requirement of a distinguished influencer is to be met.

  4. At least two Members of IWF Finland are in favour of the Candidate’s membership and have expressed their position in writing.

  5. Due to particularly important reasons, the membership criteria may be fulfilled on other societal grounds than the requirements specified above in points 1 to 3.

The membership working committee of IWF Finland shall evaluate the membership applications and make proposals of new members to the Board of IWF Finland. The Board shall decide on new member appointments during board meetings.


Member Stories

Ritva Viljanen

What convinced you to join the race for Mayor of Vantaa?

“What appealed to me is that Vantaa is a growing and forward-looking city, in addition to which I have lived in Vantaa for 35 years. It is truly a wonderful opportunity to be able to serve as the Mayor in your own home city. I hope Vantaa will greatly benefit both from my solid leadership experience in public administration as well as from my extensive network.

Did you ever have any second thoughts?

Some journeys are worth the experience even when you don’t know if you will ever make it to the finishing line. This was one of those journeys for me.”

What was the application process like?

“Municipal application procedures are always fairly arduous. The applicants are interviewed by the council groups and there are eight groups in total – Moreover, several groups interviewed the applicants twice. In addition to this, the wider committee that prepared the nomination for the council interviewed all applicants and naturally psychological tests were administered. But of course, what characterizes the application process for such a position in a big city, is the publicity that is involved. That includes public interviews that you must embrace as an opportunity to share your views with the wider audience and make yourself known.”

Can you share with us your vision for Vantaa?

“My goal is that the youthful city of Vantaa has the best available services for families. The development we see in employment in Vantaa is exceptionally promising and my hope is that Vantaa will also be known as the metropolis for entrepreneurship. This goal is well supported by the Aviapolis region, which holds the best international travel links in the whole country. The companies within the region are also promising to create 5000 new jobs in the next few years. It is important that Vantaa continues to be a fine combination of cityscape and greenery. Beyond this, I find it of absolute importance that segregation does not take hold in Vantaa, and of course, we must make sure that the important work that has been done to improve the economic situation must continue.”

Ritva, how does it feel to be the Mayor of Vantaa?
“I am truly glad to be in this position, if only it feels a tad surreal. It is wonderful how many people have rejoiced with me and Vantaa has shown its soul through the many invites I have already received on various occasions. The future is bright.”

IWF Member Stories by Maria Carlsson

Maria Carlsson

1. How do you manage all this? 

“Since when I can remember, I have been interested in many different things. I never knew what I wanted to become as a grownup - I was the high school vocation advisor's nightmare. "

"When I studied law in London some twelve years ago, I began to study coaching as well. I had been doing some research on it in Finland, and in London, I found a suitable school. I finished my certification studies in Finland and founded a coaching company with a friend in 2006. My first book, Esimies ja Coaching, came out of this cooperation."

"For many years, I did legal work, coaching and writing simultaneously. At some point I realized that society did not consider this normal; the norm was having one full-time job. In order for you to become seen as an expert in your field, you needed to put all your time into just that one, chosen field, or people would doubt your skills. During the years I became an expert at wearing just one hat at a time. I am very happy that this perception is now changing.”

Maria is a Lady of many Careers, a Partner at Bird & Bird Attorneys, a guest lecturer at the University of Helsinki, certified coach, and published writer in the areas of leadership and executive coaching.

IWF Member Stories by Nina Hyvärinen

Nina Hyvärinen

1. What is your educational background? 

My background is in social sciences and international relations. There were times when I wondered should I have chosen something more concrete like law or business. Now looking back, it has been interesting to see that it all made sense. International relations has also played a big part in my career.

I am also back in EU-affairs after having had a break from Brussels. As the main part of my career has been in the public sector, it has been interesting to work in the private sector. It is always useful to change the perspective and look at things from a different angle. 

I have basically three main pillars or parts in my career path: international, EU-affairs and business. In my current job, all those parts have come nicely together. When I decided to join a company I was wondering if I had to give up international politics as part of my job. But luckily not in cybersecurity where global politics play a big part.

IWF Member Stories - Pirjo Varjus-Pitkälä

Pirjo Varjus-Pitkälä

Name: Pirjo Varjus-Pitkälä

Profession: Consultant, freelancer

Family status: Married

Hobbies: culture, country living

This you don´t know about me: I like to drive ATV (all terrain vehicle)

Slogan: Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement (Helen Keller)

1. What’s your educational background?

I’m a psychologist and a Certified Business Coach. I’ve utilised my background in psychology while working in the HR sector and as a consultant, which I believe to have been beneficial in managing people in an expert organisation. I’ve had to learn business management through work, as I don’t have any education for that. When I became a CEO, I got a lot of help for heading sales from an experienced business leader who acted as my mentor


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