In Memory of Liisa Kairisto-Mertanen
Professor at Turku University of Applied Sciences

We are sad to announce that our dear colleague and friend, Liisa Kairisto-Mertanen, passed away on August 5th, as her family let us know. 

Liisa started her carrier on sales by selling new technology. During these ten years she gained extremely important practical knowledge of sales profession. Her academic career started in Salo Business School, Turku, Finland, in 1990. She acted as lecturer, degree programme manager and vice-rector in this organization. Salo Business School later merged with Turku University of Applied Sciences. In Turku UAS Liisa had a long and prosperous career as Dean of faculty of technology, environment and business. Her work as Dean lasted from 2004 to 2017. During this time Liisa merged and mixed creatively technical and business studies and combined degree programmes to new opportunities. 

For the GSSI, Liisa was a founding member, she joined the inaugural meeting in Helsinki in 2007 and was an active in the organisation ever since. She hosted the GSSI conference in 2012 in Turku, which became a great success in terms of knowledge exchange and networking for all participants. She contributed several papers and supported the organization as vice-chair of the advisory committee of the GSSI board for four years. Being member of the Academic Association of Sales Engineers (AASE) since 2014, she linked both organisations by initiating a special session on Sales Engineering in the 2019 Panama conference. 

Liisa was a pioneer in bringing sales teaching into the classrooms of our universities in Europe. Turku was one of the first universities in Finland to have a sales degree. She had a remarkable role (it was originally Liisa’s idea) in developing the sales competition concept first in Finland between Haaga-Helia and Turku UAS. This competition has been developed further to the European Sales Competition (ESC, EU Project), and now into the Asian Sales Competition.

Liisa’s strong interest besides sales teaching was the introduction of new pedagogical approaches. She took a leading role in the development of the concept of Innovation Pedagogy, which is based upon collaborative network-based learning to support innovations and she wrote a book on this subject, which has even been translated into several foreign languages. She was very active in publishing articles, conference papers and books. Among others, she co-published a study book of B2B sales in Finnish. 

After Dean position, Liisa was nominated to first Executive Lecturer in the history of Finnish UASs. For her pioneering work for TUAS and on the national level Liisa was honoured with Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland decoration at 2016. 

We will miss our dear friend Liisa. Her enthusiasm for sales and teaching sales was boundless. Liisa was always at the end of a phone or email to help. She gave her help unreservedly. She was communicative, creative and always open to new ideas, and ways of doing things. The sales education and research community in Europe and further afield owe Liisa a debt of gratitude. Her tireless endeavours will live long in the memory. 

Liisa went into retirement in April 2020, but her retiree days were sadly short. Fortunately, her last days were spent with her Husband Olli, seeing her children moving ahead in life and her new-born grandchildren.

Thank you, Liisa. We miss you.