We've been lucky to have several new leadership positions join us this summer, and wanted to take the opportunity for our clients and partners to get to know them better. Up this week, Tuomas Haapala, our new Director of Strategic Partnerships.


Who are you, and what do you do?

TOO - OH - MAS. But sometimes I get Tom or Thomas and I just go with it.Previously I was at a Finnish design agency, Idean, where I was the Director of Strategy & Growth specializing in customer experience, user experience, user interface, and service design. We approach new business development strategically with a philosophy of finding the best partners whose values align with our own.

Here at YML, I'll be focused on developing new client opportunities while also growing a team.


Where are you from?

My wife and I are from Finland, and we’ve been in the Bay Area for about two and a half years - living in the Marina in San Francisco.


Tell us a little about your background.

I was actually a professional football (soccer) player in Europe for different clubs - including some time at Manchester City - the current Premier League champions. I was captain on many of those clubs, and it gave me a great passion for working with people and bringing a collaborative spirit to everything I do.


Why did you choose to come to Y Media Labs?

YML is really going places. I was really impressed and excited by our growth, and the caliber of work and caliber of clients we partner with. Here at YML we have a unique ability to marry design and technology in ways that make a lasting impact on people’s lives. This is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities that the tech industry can address for this next phase of human culture on the planet.

On top of that, this is a truly great group of people and I’m excited to come to work every day and interact with the best and brightest in the valley.


What about this industry are you most passionate about?

The job we're doing - the clients we have - is going to change the world. How people experience technology is so important, and it will affect everything from personal relationships, the economy, and our future as a society enabled by automation. Being at the forefront of innovation and design, and what this means to our clients, is something that is amazing. We get to create something new.

What’s really cool about YML is we’re plugged into the very core of our clients businesses, and we have a front row seat to how they are approaching these kinds of experience transformations.


What are some other companies you admire?

I really love what Nike has done with their brand. It’s not necessarily about their products - but what they stand for, and what their values represent to customers. It’s all very holistic and doesn’t depend on any single channel. I think there’s a lot we can learn from them to create products and services that land this kind of emotional impact.


What are you favorite spots to eat in San Francisco?

That’s really tough because there are so many here, but we really love Sessions at the Presidio, and Bus Stop in Cow Hollow - the oldest sports bar in the city.


How do you spend your spare time?

Any outdoor activity is great - but in reality these days it’s spending a lot of time with our seven-month old baby.