AlumniEvents from start to Finnish: An insider’s look at the British Embassy in Helsinki

Niina Lemettila works as the Events & Residence Manager for the British Ambassador’s Residence in Helsinki where she plans, organizes and hosts a wide variety of parties and events.

The stately residence is home to the British Ambassador and her family but also hosts ministerial guests and high-level visitors in its guest rooms and elegant events and garden parties on its grounds. In many ways, it functions just as a small hotel does.

So what does it take to manage a venue of this caliber? Hotel Management skills of course!

Why do you think you were hired for this role?
It was absolutely because of my hospitality background. The unique skillset needed to manage the residence runs from staff management, budget administration to event organization – all skills that I learned at Hotel Institute Montreux and perfected during my roles with Four Seasons in London.

Was there a class in particular at HIM that has helped prepare you for this role?
To my own surprise, the wine-tasting masterclass has turned out to be incredibly useful!

My wine education is used on a regular basis in selecting the wines for guests as well as during negotiations with wine importers. One of my favourite parts of the job!

Finland is known around the world for its education, why did you choose to study in Switzerland?
The priority for me when selecting my studies was to be job-ready after graduation. The practical internship component, and the support we would receive along the way was one of the main things that attracted me to the hospitality program in Switzerland.

What is the most interesting part of your job?
For me the most interesting part of my job is the adventure of organizing events.

This can mean anything from serving tea to the Lord Mayor of the city of London, to removing furniture before a reception for 400 guests! And before you ask, I have met some very interesting people during my time here – but could not possibly divulge any details!

Did you always imagine you would one day return to Finland?
No, actually. But I quickly discovered how my education and professional experiences abroad have given me a strong competitive advantage in my own country. It comes very naturally for me to speak English and interact with different cultures. This combined with my local knowledge has helped me stand out as an asset in the hospitality industry.

Do you have any advice for tourists in Helsinki?
Don’t go on a Sunday – everything is closed! And solicit the help of locals as much as possible because there are a lot of very discrete hidden gems to be discovered - for example tiny restaurants that have only 10-12 seats but serve incredible cuisine.

Events & Residence Manager with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Hospitality and Business Management

Niina graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Hospitality and Business Management:

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