Meet M4ID – Mari Tikkanen

May 23, 2014

Mari Tikkanen is the founder and CEO of M4ID.

Mari grew up in an international environment, living in Turkey, Bangladesh and Cote D’Ivoire before returning to Finland for her final school years.   She then did her first degree in Sociology at the University of Helsinki, while also qualifying as a social worker.

“I did my first work placement with a women’s health and rights organization in Pakistan in 1994. It awoke in me a life-long passion to work to improve the lives of women and children in underserved settings. 20 years later, this is still what drives me forward”, she says.

Following Pakistan, Mari did a Master’s degree in Development at the London School of Economics.  She then stayed in London and worked for the African Medical and Research Foundation and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.  From there she was recruited to UNFPA in New York and three years later to the World Health Organization’s South East Asia Regional office in New Delhi.

After several years in India, she moved to Helsinki with her husband and founded M4ID to meet a growing demand for creative communication and technology solutions in the development and health field.

“We are a social enterprise. Our primary goal is social change – that means better health and development outcomes for people living in low resource settings.”

Seeing M4ID grow and implement projects across the globe has been a great joy for Mari.

“I am also very grateful that I’ve been able to, over the last 7 years, become both an entrepreneur and a mom.  My kids and I talk a lot about our projects and the countries we work in, I’m happy they have a keen interest in the world beyond Finland.  They also seem to think we are a pretty innovative bunch, every time they see something that needs improving, they say ‘maybe M4ID could fix this’!”

Meet M4ID: In this series, we get to know M4ID staff.