Will Work For Love: Satu Roppanen, Symbicon Ltd., Helsinki

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

We introduce the second in our monthly Will Work for Love feature about what it’s like to work at a company involved in the DOOH field from an employee’s point of view.

satuSatu Roppanen is national sales manager of Symbicon Ltd., with responsibility for the sales of IconOne indoor and outdoor digital information displays in North, Central and South America, Ireland and U.K.. Her mandate includes customer acquisition, development of distribution, and management of key customer and partner accounts.

  1. Describe your personal work space.
  2. I have a small office with a workstation, a couple of filing cabinets, a guest chair and what’s best, a large window with the spring sun shining through. I appreciate light after a long and dark winter, and enjoy seeing two birch trees starting to get delicate green leaves. On the other side of the busy highway beyond, there is a large mall/hotel/casino complex.

  3. How do you get to work?
  4. I take a bus which is even quicker than my own car. A walk to and from a bus stop at both ends – home and office – conveniently takes only 10 min.. In winter time, we get only a couple of hours of day light. It is depressing in that it is dark when you go to work in the morning, and it is dark when you get off work.

  5. What is an average day like?
  6. All days are different, which is probably the best aspect of my job. During the working week I work long hours in the office (partly because of the time difference between Europe and North America) and so usually I go home or, when travelling, to the hotel where I am staying. I often meet my friends for dinner on Fridays after work. In summer, there are lots of nice outdoor cafes and restaurant terraces that are very popular among us in Helsinki, so we meet more often.

  7. What is essential for you being able to work happily?
  8. In order to work happily and stay motivated I need to believe in what I am doing (business, company, brand, people, etc). And I need lots of coffee!

  9. How flexible are your working conditions?
  10. My working conditions are very flexible. I travel a lot, so working hours and conditions can vary. Sometimes working hours are very long and conditions not the best, but that comes with the territory. Other times I can take a day off or a long weekend.

    What inspires me during the long, dark winter is waiting for a holiday. Like many others, I save some of my summer vacation time for the winter and try to fly somewhere south into the sun during the darkest time of the year. November is usually worse than December, because in November we don’t usually have snow yet. In December, snow makes it a little bit lighter, In Helsinki, during the shortest ‘day’ of the year in Finland – between Dec. 20 and 22 – we get approx. two hours of ‘sunlight’, which is more like twilight.

    But who remembers the horrible dark winter now when we going towards midsummer and every day gets lighter! At Midsummer – June 20- 22 – we have the longest day of the year and the sun never sets. So, if you are not used to the light around midsummer, you really need black curtains if you want to sleep!

  11. What do you think your employer looks for in its staff?
  12. I’d like to think that my employer looks for the best person for each particular job (expert, personality or knowledge-wise).

  13. What suggestions do you have for your company?
  14. I don’t have any new suggestions that wouldn’t have already been taken into consideration. We discuss very openly in our company about new ideas etc.

  15. Do you have any frustrations you would like to share with us?
  16. Of course, the present global economic situation is challenging for all of us and it is slowing down some projects, and that is frustrating. You just have to be patient; what comes down has to finally go up again.

  17. What do you like best about your job?
  18. I like the versatility of my job; every day is different and there is always the possibility of learning new things and meeting new people.

  19. How open is your company to new ideas and suggestions?
  20. It is vital for a technology company like ours to be open to new ideas and suggestions. I try to listen to customers, even between the lines, when I am on the field and to bring their ideas and suggestions to our company. Hopefully, we can then utilize some of them to create new business.

  21. How much responsibility have you been given?
  22. I have been given a good amount of responsibility; I can make pretty independent and quick decisions, but I am also lucky to have some sparring partners in our company if I need them.

  23. How green are you and your company?
  24. I‘d say that at least both I and our company are more aware than ever of the need of sustainable development. I do little things that a single person can easily do, eg. recycle newspapers, bottles, cans, cardboard boxes, etc., and I prefer public transportation.
    Our company tries to find ways to make our products even more energy efficient, consuming less power, and using, for example, recycled packing materials. I think the whole idea of using recyclable digital information displays, instead of paper posters, may well be sustainable development if we minimize the ecological footprint.

    Paper posters just don’t attract people anymore. At least in Finland (which is full of Nokia nerds and engineers), we are really open-minded in taking into use all kinds of new ‘gadgets’ if you will, and that is why, I believe, the introduction of an idea of outdoor digital information displays was relatively easy in this market. Accepting the idea or concept is a long way from sales though.

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