Sanna Davidsainen started as the Head of Software at Haltian in February 2021. Sanna has almost 20 years of experience in the software business and more than10 years leading different software teams. Sanna’s previous job experience has been 12 years at TietoEVRY and 2,5 years at Elektrobit Automotive. Sanna has a Master’s degree from the Helsinki University of Technology.
Below is our our interview with Sanna about her thought on Haltian and the future of leadership.
How did you end up at Haltian?
I heard a lot of good things about Haltian from a friend and former colleague of mine, who connected with the then Head of Software and we began talking about leadership and my thoughts on the subject. There was no position open, but after our talk, they asked me if I wanted to take their place since they wanted to focus on customer projects and the quality of service side of things. From there, things moved fast, and here we are!
What convinced you to come work for Haltian?
I believe that the only way towards continuous improvement is to have a true willingness to do better, learn new things and have an open company culture. Haltian has all these things so I was convinced this would be the right place for me.
What have been your first feelings about working here?
Everyone I’ve met at Haltian has been very open and nice, and they’ve warmly welcomed me to the team. It’s easy to talk to people and our co-operation works really well. I’d say the best things about the company are my work, the people and the atmosphere that we have here.
I’m very excited to have started my work here. I feel very trustful and confident that I’ll be able to work according to my vision. We’re in a stage of change, as we’ve moved from a startup to a growth company. This means that a different structure of leadership is also needed. There are things to improve, but we have a great culture of open and direct communication that makes things a lot easier. At Haltian, different opinions are valued and seen as an asset. I’m glad to jump on board at this stage and get a chance to take things forward. Haltian has some world-class professionals working here, as well as great products and diverse customer projects. Every team at Haltian gets to work with new technologies and learn new things all the time. This means that Haltian is a dream job for a technology oriented person.
Has anything been unexpected or surprising?
One of the biggest positive surprises has been how much effort is put into people and employees here. We have extensive benefits that include some not-so-usual things like monthly massages and weekly after lunch yoga sessions. We also have a lot of recreation activities like after works drinks, quizzes, virtual parties and themed goodie bags for different occasions. This has been very impressive especially during this challenging Corona year when many companies have stopped most recreation activities altogether.
I’ve also been surprised by how how much trust there is: people are given power and responsibility. There’s also very little bureaucracy in our way of doing things. Everyone has the change to improve things and give suggestions, which is not a given in many organizations. I’ve also been super impressed over how this company has managed to position itself globally and how we get to do business with some major global players. I’ve learned that the possibilities are endless here.
What motivates you?
Always learning something new and keeping an open mind for new ideas and ways of doing things. Also a feeling of co-operation and doing things as one team is very motivating
What are your goals?
My goal is to drive a new kind of leadership culture in Haltian and Finnish work life that is based on trust and mutual respect.
What are the biggest challenges?
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and moving from startup style leadership towards a more structures operating model is something that needs to be done. These changes are something that should be done in quite a fast phase and get them working in practise as well. Meanwhile, I also need to get new people onboard this moving train so to speak: we’re a growing business and need talented software people that fit our company culture. At times, it might feel like I need to perform miracles, but everyone is onboard and doing their part in making this change possible.
Another big challenge has, of course, been that all the products, solutions and project are new to me, so there has been a big process of learning on that side as well.
What about your time outside of work?
I’m a mother of three kids so, of course, family life is a big part of my free time. We are living in country-side near to Oulujoki river. I enjoy jogging in middle of forest and cross-country skiing in the winter, especially around my home place, Salla, in Northern Finland and Iso-Syöte, where we have our winter cottage.
Something unexpected about you
During the summer season I love gardening (fresh strawberries and salad are my favorite ones) and you can also see me wakeboarding in the Oulujoki river.🏄♀️