Ursel Velve, Chief Executive Officer of Mainor Ülemiste: innovation must be in the service of the people
As of 12 February, Ursel Velve, who has served as the Innovation Manager of the largest business campus in the Baltics in recent years, will take over as the Chairman of the Management Board of Mainor Ülemiste AS, which is developing Ülemiste City.
Velve, who holds a Master’s level degree in International Marketing from the University of Liverpool, has been a Member of the Management Board of Mainor Ülemiste since 2015. In 2017, she became the business’s Development Manager, in 2019, she took over as the Innovation Manager for Ülemiste City. Velve joined Mainor from Samsung Electronics, where she worked as the head of the Estonian region.
‘The change in leadership will not change the business’s strategic goals; instead, the focus on innovation and knowledge will certainly increase. In her previous roles, Ursel has been contributing for years to the growth of Ülemiste City into the largest business campus in the Baltics. Now there is greater responsibility, which includes the opportunity to bring innovation and wisdom even more clearly into the development of Ülemiste City as the City of the Future. By creating a unique environment for sophisticated work, we can influence the competitiveness of both Estonia and the Baltic Republics’, said Guido Pärnits, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Mainor AS.
A female top executive in the real estate sector is certainly a rare sight, one that does not intimidate Velvet. ‘The level of responsibility will be greater and the calendar tighter, but I am by nature a hard-working person and open to change. I always prefer crazy ideas over a comfort zone. I took on this big challenge for two main reasons: I am fascinated by the owner’s ambitious vision of the future, and I know from our quite long experience of working together that we can do great things with this team’, said Ursel Velve while glimpsing into the future.
‘I will continue to implement the business’s long-term and effective strategy’, said Velve.
‘Clearly, the focus remains on the people – all of the more than 12,000 strong talents who operate in the campus every day. Innovation must be in the service of their well-being. I am committed to the creation of an inspirational working and living environment for them and for newcomers. I want them to be socially active and health-conscious here, and to be united by a sense of belonging.’
Velve emphasized that in the current year, in addition to the current priorities, in cooperation with the parent company Mainor, the aim is to launch the Test City concept, which is an indispensable development for the City of the Future Professorship.
‘There is a growing interest and potential for such an approach. Many campus technology businesses want to test products in our environment. The benefits are mutual – both for businesses and for the 36-hectare urban space here,’ said Velve. ‘In the future, I see a much broader impact on the emerging capacity, which Enterprise Estonia or we ourselves can use when attracting large foreign businesses to the Estonian market. The move of Volkswagen’s global development unit to Ülemiste City is a good example of this.’
Four important areas within the City of the Future
In the City of the Future, Velve considers the development of four areas to be important. These are: greenery, i.e. carrying out a green initiative with the help of the Green Tiger; health of the talents, i.e. creation of a healthy city model in cooperation with researchers from the University of Tartu and on campus start-ups; knowledge, i.e. the creation of training credits and a new education quarter; innovation, i.e. being the birthplace of new ideas as a test environment.
The company’s long-term customer experience manager, Teet Raudsep, who worked for Telefonica International before coming to Mainor and is a graduate of the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, and is in the process of acquiring a Master’s level degree from the University of Tartu, will also join the Management Board of Mainor Ülemiste.
‘We believe in the chosen vision and are developing the city based on a long perspective. We will continue with various projects focusing on innovation, as well as the construction of a new educational complex and Health Centre 2, as well as the development of living spaces and activities offering the diversification of culture, sports, and knowledge. We consider it important that there are also an increasing number of exciting services and activities on the campus outside of working hours’, said Raudsep.
He also pointed out that the creation of a healthy working environment is becoming increasingly important. ‘The need for offices will not disappear. They will become activity-based and more conducive to teamwork. When designing the Alma Tomingas green building, the architects paid special attention to spatial solutions that increase the creativity and productivity of employees. Working at Ülemiste must be many times more enjoyable than working at home’.