A letter of self-reflection and moving on
By Éclair Photitai
GH intern Feb-Mar/2021
Dear growth hacking candidates
I was raised in a small mountain village in northeastern Thailand and immigrated to Canada when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and attained my degree in biological sciences and anthropology from the University of Calgary. I had intended on going to medical school but life had different plans!
I moved to Finland in October 2020 in the middle of a pandemic and at the beginning of winter :P for my (now ex) boyfriend.
It was a tough transition!
Before moving to Finland I worked for 8 years in the public health sector, most recently as a communications specialist for cancer research and analytics. When I moved to Finland I was jobless; but thought, with my work experience and education, I would find a job easily. That was not the case, sadly; and I spent 5 months searching for a job in Finland with very little luck. I sent over 100 applications in that time and networked to the best of my abilities but it just didn't lead anywhere. It was extremely frustrating to hear that all foreigners face this challenge in Finland.
And then I found Herizon’s growth hacking internship :D
This internship allowed me to prove myself. I knew I had the skills and I was eager to learn but I just needed someone to take a chance and let me into the very exclusive job market.Before the internship, I worked in a public health setting where there are numerous layers of bureaucracy and things moved very slowly. In an organization like this, you're not encouraged to think outside the box. You're very much a small piece of a very large machine.But the internship introduced me to startup life. It was the complete opposite of the world I was used to and I needed to break old habits and create new ones. In a start-up, things move incredibly fast, you have to be brave and most of the time you don't know the answer. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone.But the GH internship encouraged me to try new things and if I failed GREAT! Because it meant that I could move on to the next thing. Failure became a part of the growth as opposed to a thing to be feared. It was a hard shift but it was so rewarding! I was introduced to a completely new way of thinking about business, I honestly was out of my element when I joined but I never felt out of place.
The Growth Hacking Slack community, where you can find all the Herizon Alumni and current interns, was so inclusive. Everyone was working with such different companies but we always found time to help each other. There was so much knowledge sharing in that community and it was so light-hearted. Everyone was eager to learn and support each other and no question was shut down. It was a safe environment!
During my GH internship, I was offered a full-time contract within a month from a company called Osgenic. I'm still at Osgenic and I honestly LOVE my job and my team. They have taught me to be vulnerable and we support each other through thick and thin. Over the past year I've grown into new skills I didn't even know I possessed and continuously had the opportunity to expand. Now that travel is more accessible I hope to work remotely from various countries around Europe and take advantage of the flexibility of the job!
As I reflect on my life 1 year ago, I could never have imagined that the internship would have allowed me to grow in so many ways. I was in a very dark place during the first 5 months of moving here and looking back on those times I am so grateful for the GH program because it changed the trajectory of my life. I couldn't have entered the job market alone and I am so fortunate to have been chosen. I am a proud supporter of the program and cannot say enough positive times about the work that Mari and Anni put into it. I never thought I would love my job, but I do. And I never thought I would become an executive but it's happening. So much can change in a year and when you're in the middle of the storm everything feels overwhelming and unreachable. But looking back, after weathering the storm it all needed to happen the way it did and I don't think I would change anything.
All the best,
Engagement & Communications Lead Mar/2021 - Ongoing
Executive Coming soon