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Paula Pennanen

Now working as a Senior Manager in the Pharma and research team, Paula Pennanen started her career at NHG as an analyst in 2013. She had come across NHG during her master’s studies in industrial engineering. Professor Paul Lillrank, one of the founders of NHG, often used examples from the Finnish healthcare sector in his lectures on service management. Applying industrial engineering principles to address issues within a complex system like healthcare felt motivating and inspirational. As the end of her studies drew closer in 2013, Paula noticed there was an open position for an analyst at NHG – and got the job! At NHG Paula has had the opportunity to utilize her capabilities and know-how to make an impact in the healthcare system. After almost a decade with the company she proudly states that she has never regretted choosing to pursue her career at NHG.

Paula began at NHG in consulting, with the advisory team which focuses on the public sector. During her first years, Paula worked on many projects in the field of elderly care. She specifically remembers her first project where she got to participate in the development of home care services in Siilinjärvi. In addition to working on advisory projects, Paula joined several teams working on benchmarking products, currently housed under the Solutions business unit. Through benchmarking products Paula got the opportunity to deepen her knowledge in selected specialized healthcare fields, and she played a major role in setting up the benchmarking product for cancer diseases. Working with cancer care was Paula’s first experience of participating in more research-oriented projects and academic publications. Paula has also benefitted from her previous experience with data, as it has proven valuable in dimensioning and designing spaces within hospital design.

In 2017, Paula took a break from her career at NHG and moved on to innovation consulting for three years. During this period, she worked with companies from a multitude of fields, including health technology, electronics, and ICT, while being involved in consortium project preparation, management and coordination.  Eventually, Paula returned to NHG in the beginning of 2021. When the pharma and research team was established in autumn 2021 it was clear Paula join this new team to concentrate more on research-focused operations such as RWE (real-world evidence) studies done in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and clinical researchers. To study the progression of an illness and better understand how medication functions in treatment, her team conducts their research by analyzing real world data. The purpose of the research is to understand the effects of a medicine on clinical efficiency, safety, and costs over the long run.

“It is very interesting how data can be transformed into the solutions we are looking for, and how it helps answer questions concretely”, Paula mentions. Although her responsibilities have grown during her career, working with data continues to excite her.

Additionally, Paula is motivated by the versatile job opportunities NHG offers. Being part of the pharma team allows her to work on projects ranging from government analysis and research projects to big multicenter research projects where large amounts of data are collected and analyzed. Paula chuckles and adds that a positive and enthusiastic work environment as well as enjoyable conversations with team members make up for the slightly duller projects. She continues by saying that it’s lovely to work in an environment where the atmosphere is relaxed and trusting. Support is always available, and no one is left without assistance.

“Our co-workers are definitely one of the best parts of NHG”, Paula states.

For this reason, it is not surprising that Paula highly values her co-workers and especially enjoys encounters she has with them in the coffee room. In her free time, her friends, hobbies, and beloved cats help to boost her wellbeing. Because of the flexibility within the workplace, it is easy to find time for hobbies such as dancing. Paula has recently started learning ballet which she comments on: “It is challenging, but even more, rewarding, to be a complete novice for a change”. She also enjoys the challenges in her work, pointing out that “overcoming the challenging parts is the greatest motivator – in addition to seeing how our clients benefit from partnering with us”.