Employee Story - Minka
It’s time for the next employee story! This time in the spotlight is Minka. She has a very broad and interesting background, and also here at Valuemotive she has her hands on quite many things. Matleena often describes her as a powerhouse, and what is there not to love about that, right?
We hope you enjoy!
Can you tell a little about yourself? What do you like to do in your spare time?
My name is Minka and I am one of the designers of Valuemotive! Most of my life I lived in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, but this autumn I took a leap of faith to the unknown and moved from a six figure citizen city to a four figure citizen town in the middle of nowhere. I always swore I would never move away but here I am! I loved the hectic life of the capital area when I was younger, but now I want to live somewhere more peaceful, quiet, close to nature and water elements, as a balance to my career. Half of my life still remains in the capital area and driving between these places takes the same time as previously almost everywhere with public transport, so the distance is no problem whenever I need to go to the office or see my friends.
What do I do in my free time? Well, I go to the gym, which is my passion - I don’t feel like myself without it as a part of my life. I go hiking and spend time outdoors, and the more I spend time in nature, the more I want to do so. Nature is becoming more and more important to me - I want a house somewhere beautiful where I can basically get to a beautiful forest and hiking trails right from my back door. As a curious mind I enjoy reading books about various different topics. Psychology and all things related to humans, our minds and behaviors are especially interesting and help me with my work as a designer as well. I enjoy going to different events and experiences and volunteer in organizing them too for many years already. Lastly, I love coloring books, they are so therapeutic and a great mindfulness exercise!
What is your background? What kind of career have you had?
I have a very colorful background, definitely not the most straightforward one! This is going to be a bit longer answer, but I hope it encourages and inspires people with similar life experiences.
When applying to the secondary school after junior high, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do, so I chose three most interesting ones and applied to those in a random order - hairdresser, patissier, and waitress. I happened to get into the first option, so originally I studied to become a hairdresser. Due to a family tragedy, I had to stop the studies after my second year, but I was basically a ready hairdresser and have kept most of my talents going throughout the years by doing my friends’ and family’s hair. After some time, I tried the second option I had and applied to become a patissier, but failed the entrance exam and didn’t get into the school. I tried my wings as a clothing store worker, gym membership seller, hotel room cleaner, and whatnot, but nothing seemed to work so I went for the third option I had - waitress.
I ended up falling in love with the restaurant industry and spent almost a decade there, working in all kinds of restaurants, cafes and bars, from early morning to late at night, in all kinds of roles and responsibilities from dishwasher to waitress and bartender to assistant chef. During my time in the industry I got myself a vocational-school degree through work experience and demonstrating my professional skills in showcases, as well as a bachelor’s degree. I have a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Catering industry and I am a Bachelor of Hospitality Management, specialized in Service Design, Experience Design, Innovation, Management and Customer Experience.
During my bachelor studies I volunteered in organizing various different events and have continued to do so whenever something interesting comes up. I have worked from jacket service and ticket sales to building festival areas and decorations, to being a stage manager, marketing manager and event organizer.
After graduation I spent a year in the flexible office spaces in customer service roles, to get out of the restaurant industry. I knew it was time to transfer all the knowledge, experience and insights from my work experience, combine it with the skill set from my degree, and turn it into a role as a Business and Service Designer. My strong and versatile background from almost a decade from customer experiences and different fields of business is a great asset, gives me a wide perspective and great understanding in my work.
How did you end up working in Valuemotive?
“LinkedIn helped me get this job!” Our partner Marko found me from LinkedIn and contacted me. He told me he kept seeing my name pop up all the time, whether it was me reacting to someone’s post, commenting and discussing under one, or sharing my own posts and talking about different things, and in the end he just had to contact me and see who this person is.
I had a very good conversation with him, then another with Pekka, Mathias and Sebastian, and the next thing I knew I was offered a job and had a third discussion with Pekka to define the contract details. Everything just came together really well and it was obvious we could mutually benefit each other in various ways! They needed a multitalent and I wanted a role where I wasn’t forced into a box, but I could use my wide skill set. Match made in heaven!
So yeah my advice for everyone is - yes you should definitely be active on LinkedIn!
What do you do at Valuemotive? What kind of tasks do you work with?
I am a Business Designer, and I combine many areas in my work: service design, experience design, UX/UI design, all kinds of visual design, customer experience, business development, marketing, and branding, to mention a few.
I am responsible for the profitable internal development of our company in various areas and also offer my expertise as a consultant for customer projects. I am responsible for example for our marketing, branding, brand materials, our website and blog, and I am the contact person for our Design operations.
As a designer, I help companies to clarify and improve their customer experience, processes, and business, to increase their profitability and revenue. I create new, and develop existing concepts, conduct research, create prototypes and test them, and refine the data into insights. I produce reports, handbooks, guides and other documents like white papers, bringing fresh, researched knowledge and information, presented in a distinct way, easy to implement.
How has it been working here? What is the best and most challenging part?
I truly love it here! I have never felt so respected, valued, and appreciated as since day one here at Valuemotive. The difference to any of the companies during the ten years is huge. I have been really happy here.
I love the relaxed atmosphere, low hierarchy, team-spiritedness, and open mindedness. In previous workplaces I was always told to show my abilities and earn my place before I would get to do something more, here I have gotten to do basically anything and everything I have suggested that needs improvement. This way I have also been able to show what I can do and learn more, and I mean how else are we supposed to do it other than being given the chance?
I love the flexible remote work and working hours, which allowed me to build a life more suitable for me, to move where I live now, which then again supports my wellbeing, which again supports my work. I love how the company supports us in various different ways, and we can for example choose our own equipment that suits us best, rather than getting some old crappy laptop that works or doesn’t. We don’t have to choose from a given list, we get a budget and choose the ones that fit our needs. Also this doesn’t stop at a laptop or phone, you can get a screen, keyboard, mouse, headset etc, whatever you truly need to perform your job the best possible way. I guess to people in the IT industry this is a basic thing, but for someone coming outside of the industry, this is definitely super special!
The best part is definitely the people - we have such amazing people here. I never really felt like I belonged in any of the workplaces I have worked during my over a decade of work experience, but here I was so warmly welcomed and fit right in. Usually when companies tell you “just be yourself” they eventually continue with “no, not like that”. You can be yourself as long as it fits their image or what is good and what is not. Here everyone can truly be themselves and feel safe about it. Definitely not something to take for granted!
The most challenging part is perhaps the constant need to manage yourself and your work - no one is telling you what to do, you need to know it yourself. You have your areas of responsibility, goals and objectives, weekly meetings and so on, but you need to plan and execute the job in a way that you see bringing the best results and most value. It’s a natural part of this level of job and career, as well as working in a small, low hierarchy company, and I do enjoy the balance of responsibility and freedom, and feel like it comes very naturally from me, but there are days it’s harder than others.
What kind of people would you recommend applying for Valuemotive?
I would say people who share our values: Trust, Transparency, Speaking up and Continuous Learning. We truly do speak very openly, honestly and transparently about things - I am constantly amazed by it. There are situations where I have thought I am going to get fired for voicing my opinion, but instead I have gotten praised for being able to bring up difficult topics. I would say people who are like us would enjoy the atmosphere the most.
Our people are also very passionate professionals, always eager to learn and improve themselves. We like to share our knowledge, challenge each other, and develop the company together. We are far from perfect and are working on many things internally, but the key is genuinely wanting to improve the company and work on the things together, through the good times as well as the challenging times. We are not a “ready” company where everything is figured out, but that is what I personally like about it - I get to influence so many things too! It gives me a lot of meaning in my work, like I matter, my work and efforts matter and take the company forward.
What would you like to work with in the future?
We have been working hard all autumn to kickstart our Design sales and it is finally time! Our awesome new pages for design are alive on our website and we are starting our sales efforts to support them this week. I cannot wait to start my external customer projects! So definitely that: in addition to all the internal work, I want to work in customer projects and bring value to our customers.
Matleena’s question: What is the most annoying household task and why?
Oh this is fun! I have to say, I hate thinking of what to buy and cook for food, I have no imagination. It has to be healthy and support my active lifestyle and going to the gym multiple days a week, but my mind is always blank. I like cooking together with someone and for others as well, but I keep rotating the same easy foods, because I cannot come up with anything new or spend time on finding new recipes, because I get so easily frustrated when looking for them, haha. I wish I could just hire someone to plan my weekly meals with ingredients and shopping lists and I could just shop and cook, without having to think. I guess this is due to the decade in the restaurant industry - I am used to going to work and someone has made me food that I eat before I start work. I never had to think about it really, when all the warm meals were consumed at work.
What would you like to ask from the next person being interviewed?
This might be a little boring, but in the middle of gray November I want to ask “What brings you the most happiness in life?”
📷 Pictures of our people by VAHVA Pictures