The desire to take on new challenges and develop personal skills by training has pushed Nina Solehmainen’s career forward. Nina, who works as a sales manager in Prisma’s consumer goods department, has extensive experience in both the supermarket trade and restaurant tasks.

In 2004, Nina followed her friend’s advice and did a few shifts in North Karelia. So far, she has experience in several different hotels and restaurants from Tampere to Levi.

“When I started, I was called to work on an as-needed basis in various restaurants in PKO. And I don’t think there’s a job I haven’t done in restaurants.”

Nina comes from Ilomantsi, and she quickly felt at home in Joensuu. She was interested in the versatile opportunities offered by the cooperative to work in various jobs and get training. Nice co-workers were the cherry on the cake.

Nina quickly applied for restaurant supervisor training and worked as a shift manager at Amarillo. When her daughter was born, Nina, who had had a lot of evening and weekend work, began to crave a more regular work rhythm. She had ten years of experience in the tourism and food industries.

“The supermarket trade was almost unknown to me as an industry, and I had even thought that I would not never go there to work. But when a new S-Market was opened in Rantakylä in 2009 and PKO offered a job there, I decided to seize the opportunity.”

The supermarket trade swept her off her feet

Nina soon realised that the work in a supermarket was much more interesting, diverse and hectic than she would have thought.

“I completed a vocational degree in sales straight away, and it was a great basis for all the work I do in the supermarket. Pretty soon I also applied for supervisor training.”

The first actual supervisor position as the head of her own unit opened up when Nina became the manager of S-Market Papinkatu. After a couple of years, she returned to the familiar S-Market Rantakylä — now as its manager. She developed her professional skills by completing at the same time the trade supervisor specialised vocational training.

“I like to develop myself and appreciate the practical training courses by Jollas. They have been very useful both to me as an individual and to the units in which I have worked. I have also been able to share my expertise in Jollas’ training courses as a trainer.”

In addition to longer training, Nina has completed several shorter training modules, such as courses for deep leadership and situational leadership.

Supervisory work is Nina’s thing

Four years ago, the challenges just got bigger when Nina was chosen as the sales manager for Prisma’s consumer goods department. She now has about 80 subordinates and is responsible for the consumer goods department, which also includes online grocery shopping and S-kukka flower shop’s flower arranging services.

“Supervisory work is really my thing. It is versatile, challenging enough and gives a lot of opportunities to influence your own work and the operations of your own unit. In supervisory work, you get to encourage others and share your expertise. Work gives me energy and joy, although it also requires and takes a lot.”

Nina has also been involved in many cooperative-level development projects, where great results have been achieved. Together with Johanna Karhu, she led the ‘Hevisti parempi’ project. The current customer service development programme is called ‘Hyvä mieli hymyllä’ and in addition to Nina and Johanna, other designers involved in the programme are Janette Vepsäläinen and Eetu Lätti.

Nina encourages everyone to be brave and try something new. She says that moving from one industry to another, for example, is very safe in PKO, as it is supported in many ways.

“In today’s rapidly changing world, the importance of training and professional development cannot be emphasised enough. Also your own attitude and the desire to learn new things are very important.”