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Mona von Weissenberg is motivated by a desire to understand the world. To find the best solutions, Evli’s new Head of Institutional Clients engages with people and looks for information in unexpected places.

When Mona von Weissenberg was in primary school, she wrote that she wanted to work in a bank when she grew up. As the daughter of an engineering family, she was interested in the world and its economic mechanisms from an early age.

I have always wanted to understand how our society works,” says Evli’s Head of Institutional Clients and newest member of the company’s executive team.

Curiosity initially led her to study finance. Law was another career option, but Mona’s decision was turned by the entrance exam books. The books on economics were more interesting and presented a broader perspective.

Mona did in fact work in a bank for a while, until her curiosity led her forward again. Now in her forties, she has ascended rapidly to more challenging and responsible roles. “I like changes. I see them as opportunities, and I’m not afraid to dive into new things. I don’t think I’m that ambitious, I’m more motivated by curiosity and the desire to understand people.

New perspectives from near and far

Mona's career has spanned a wide range of roles. After graduating from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, she worked at Finnish industrial giants Kone and Cargotec. Experience from the corporate world has proven valuable in banking and finance.

A broad understanding helps in this job. It’s an advantage to be able to understand how companies work, not only seeing them from an investor’s perspective. It has been important for me to learn for example how important clients are, how to optimise wealth, and how to drive a business forward," says Mona.

After Kone and Cargotec, Mona worked for 13 years at Handelsbanken. Her many different roles included cash management, corporate banking and asset management for institutional clients. After four years as branch manager, she jumped on the opportunity to lead the Handelsbanken corporate banking team in China.

The decision to move to the other side of the world with two school-aged children was far from easy, but curiosity was again driving her forward. The years in China opened new perspectives on different cultures and different ways of working. In addition to her role as head of corporate banking, Mona joined the board of the Finnish Business Council in Shanghai, helping Finnish companies gain a foothold in the Chinese market.

In the end, China is quite unknown to us here in the Nordics. It’s a huge country, and it’s difficult to understand it only through the numbers. You need to understand how they think,” Mona says.

Working in a different culture was an eye-opening experience. The Chinese employees were highly educated and had well-founded opinions, but weren’t as eager to bring them forward as their Nordic counterparts would be.

Leadership works differently there. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make our Chinese employees feel safe, and how to encourage them to say what they think.

In the end, however, people are not so different in different parts of the world, Mona notes: “We all want to be part of some bigger purpose, to be seen and heard.

Working with people and data

When you ask Mona what the best thing about her job at Evli, Mona answers well before the end of the question: “People!

Asset management is an industry that revolves around data and calculations. Even so, Mona says that people are at the core. She considers herself to be in the luxurious position of having as colleagues and clients “incredibly knowledgeable and bright people”.

Mona’s career at Evli began through a merger. Having returned from China, she worked as Business Director at Elite Alfred Berg. Following the merger of EAB and Evli in 2022, Mona stepped into her current position as Head of Institutional Clients.

The most important tool of a leader is their ears. We have lots of knowledge, skills and expertise in our teams, and it's my job as a leader to make sure they can do their job to the fullest,” says Mona.

As a leader, she encourages people to be themselves. If you wear a work identity that doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s not sustainable in the long term. She wants to create an atmosphere that includes being forgiving of yourself and your mistakes. And while the work is intensive and demanding, there must always be time for fun — such as a spontaneous planking competition in the middle of the day.

We take our jobs and clients seriously, but it’s crucial to have fun, too,” Mona says.

Understanding the world by reading and listening

The most challenging part of Mona’s work is keeping up with the changes in the world, and coping with the immense amount of information available. To stay informed and make sense of the world, Mona relies on Evli's experts as well as on constant reading. But understanding can also be found in unexpected places.

Curiosity means, that you follow everything in wide-ranging ways. For example, it's been really interesting to see how TikTok presents the world, and how it informs the way young people think,” she says, praising the way The Economist is present on TikTok.

In the volatile and uncertain world of today, Mona believes that the most important thing is to focus on long-term goals and to choose carefully what issues to pick up and drive forward.

Institutional clients have their sights set on the long term. We consider the timescale of decades together, ponder what the world will look like then, and make long-term plans.

In her latest role as a member of Evli’s executive group, Mona is eager to learn more. She wants to provide the highest level of service to Evli’s clients. She also wants to further strengthen the company's diversity, as she firmly believes that even the most difficult problems can be solved by discussing issues among different people.

A good example of the power of multiple perspectives can be found in Mona's own life. Every Monday evening at half past seven, she joins a walk-and-talk group of people from many different sectors and backgrounds. The group has given her invaluable support and perspectives on important decisions in her own life, such as career moves.

I think it’s crucial to leave your own bubble every once in a while. There’s always good ideas coming from our group. It’s so useful to get new and different perspectives on things.

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