A fun interview about jumping into the unknown
With Sini Ågrén
GH intern Feb-Apr/2020
Tell us, who is Sini?
I'm Finn, from the west coast. I did my studies at the University of Vaasa (still working on my master thesis). My major is/was Industrial Management and concentrated on technology management and product development. I made my bachelor's minor in France, IÉSEG School of Management. Big shoutout for that school, the international community was on fire!
For my master's, I made my minor in Aalto’s IDBM program, which I found through Fitech - community. This is a collaborative platform that brings most universities in Finland together and which allows people to take classes or make full minors in different schools. Pretty cool!
My interest/hobbies include arts (big van Gogh fan!!), social psychology, and philosophical thinking structures (like system thinking). So very much I'm interested in people, how we think, arts and how art makes a difference in the world.
A quick summary of me is:
“I'm a brunch and art-loving generalist whose biggest fear is to stop evolving and learning."
Loved the one-liner! And before the internship, what kind of work were you doing?
I was used to working and studying, as many of us do. So I gained some work experience already during my school years. I have very fun memories from working for the Finnish post and as a pizza courier. I had morning shifts at the post office and night shifts at the pizza restaurant. I learned the city map while sorting posts and then used the knowledge while delivering pizzas to the hungry customers :D
And before my internship, I worked with Telia telecommunication company, YIT - the construction company, Accenture - the global consulting company, and Slush - the startup event organizer. When I left Accenture, I planned to just take time and finish my master's thesis. Then, I saw Mari's LI post and decided to reach out - as I didn't have anything to lose.
Two years later here I'm still working with the company she signed me up with during my second day ... 😅
I felt that I was in a cross-road situation and I didn't know what would have been my next decision. That motivated me to take this jump and not think too much about what would come out of it.
And in terms of personal growth, how did this internship impact you?
Ohh, It is one of the coolest things I have done. I think there was a lot of:
"huh, this is interesting! Let's see what this is. I have nothing to lose, only gain new learnings"
And I loved the way how Mari is soooo direct and honest but supporting, and Anni continues the same line. I feel that I needed it and it is a must for standing on your own and just trying without the fear of failing.
After my internship was done, I did another internship, this time with Flowhaven. If I calculated right, there have been 12 GH interns working on different growth projects (mainly marketing and sales enablement) in Flowhaven. That's like a huge amount of people who I have worked with!
A big part of this journey has been the realisation that for personal growth and career growth; it is more meaningful when you find a group of people you enjoy working with. There isn't a guarantee that you fit every company based on the interviews - so the value that this internship holds when you can work with different teams, companies, and people, is huge. For me, it was a happy accident to meet Flowhaven during my first week and match the company culture from the beginning.
I agree, and how did the Slack community help you?
You can only grow and learn when you are surrounded by people who give you valuable feedback and support you especially when you feel that you haven't had any small win for a while. And I think the community has succeeded in this. There is always someone who has done it or something similar and they are ready to bounce some ideas. I have felt it myself several times - I reach out with my brain fog or need to bounce ideas and someone answers! It's very cool to have that kind of strong and helpful community.
Indeed, it is cool! What are you up to now and what are your plans?
After the happy accident 2 years ago matching with Flowhaven, I feel that I found my favourite rollercoaster for a while. There are too many things to learn still, hahaha. The company’s growth is exciting and the team is something I cherish to the moon! At the moment I concentrate my efforts on a few growth projects and making sure we have relevant OKRs and KPIs in every team, and that our cross-functional growth projects for internal operations are successful.
But something that I'm very interested in is to see how these kinds of communities like Herizon grow and if there is a need for my skillsets. I want to give back, especially to the community I got so much help from.
I want to underline how valuable it is to work with young companies. It requires a special personality and it's not for everyone. But as a person who worked with bigger corporations and always felt that those roles were very limited - the possibility to grow with a young company is an extraordinary adventure. My two years feels like 4, in the most positive way!
Thank you for sharing, Sini!
GH intern Flowhaven Feb-Apr/2020
Operations coordinator Apr-Oct/2020
Operations Oct/2020 - Mar/2021
Growth manager Feb/2021 - Ongoing