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Saara: “To me, the tennis court is the place for nurturing my mental health”

Written by:
Eficode

Saara is Eficode’s CFO. She talks about what her day-to-day looks like, her life with her husband and toddler, her passion for tennis and her thoughts on leadership. Watch Saara’s story and read what this Human of Eficode has to say! Because everyone has a story to tell.

“I was born in a small Finnish town called Tampere. I have a big sister and a big brother, and we are very close. I had a really happy childhood living in the Finnish countryside. My parents worked as entrepreneurs and farmers, so working hard has always been an important value in my family. But I have to say, we know how to party as well ;)

“Today I live in Helsinki with my husband and a two-year old daughter. She’s so full of life every day that you cannot help catching that joy yourself. I find it a huge privilege that I get to see her grow and develop every day. I wish my learning curve was as steep as hers!”

Saara’s day to day

“I really don’t have a usual day but I can try to describe one :D. About half of the working days I start by taking my daughter to daycare. Then I usually walk to Eficode office which takes about 20 minutes or bicycle in less than 10 minutes.

“I usually have quite a lot of meetings during the day and some of them are actually booked during the same day by someone wanting to discuss with me, as finance relates to a lot of topics in the company. I really like working with people, so I’m pleased with people wanting to meet.

“I also have quite a lot of calls outside Finland as Eficode operates in multiple countries and DevOps is currently really drawing international attention. As the Nordic leader we are of course an interesting company.

“My work is really a lot about communications inside and outside the company, with the finance team, different business units, support functions, partners, suppliers etc. One thing that applies to my every single day at Eficode is that it involves a lot of laughter and smiles, and that’s really important! In my opinion, no matter how difficult a subject, a meeting has failed if no one laughed.”

Passions, spare time, and tennis!

“In my spare time I spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I’ve always been an outgoing person and I don’t like spending much time alone. Due to my daughter’s age, I currently spend a lot of time in the children’s parks which are luckily really nice in Helsinki.

“Tennis is my passion in many ways. To me it has always been the king of sport. I love to play it myself but also follow the sport on TV and to travel around the world to see the world tour tournaments.

“To me tennis court is the place for nurturing my mental health – a place where I forget everything else than the game. It's a place where I can truly concentrate on the present. My husband also plays so it’s a nice way to spend time together at home and when travelling. We have actually first met at a tennis court 15 years ago.

“In tennis, the combination of technical and physical challenge as well as need for strategic thinking fascinates me. All in all, I love to follow sport as it can stir emotions in a way that few things can. Unfortunately I could never be an athlete myself as I’m way too hedonistic.

“When it comes to the similarities of tennis and finance, the first thing that comes to my mind is strategy. Finance has an important strategic role in business, and in tennis you need to think strategically to be able to win a match against a good player.”

What she cannot live without

"I assume you mean things/items and not people because that would be easy, listing family and friends :) So things I can’t live without are probably sneakers and chocolate.

"The things I value most in life are happiness, health, good food, and balance.

Most treasured memory

“This one is easy, it’s the moment I first got to hold my daughter.”

Dreaming big

“Wow. I’m being a bit dull but my ultimate dream is to be able to live a long and healthy life surrounded by my loved ones. And to have faith in the planet surviving long and well enough for the next generations to be able to lead good lives as well.”

Gratitude

“I’m grateful for my family and friends, for my health, for being able to see the ocean every day, for the insanely good care my daughter is getting in the public day care. I’m grateful for the life itself!”

Travelling the world

“For some reason, I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii but haven’t so I pick that one. There are so many places in the world I would like to visit!”

Morning lark or night owl?

"Definitely an evening person, I have always been. I’m really sleepy in the mornings (especially during the Finnish winter) and I feel energetic in the evening."

First day at Eficode

“It was really exciting meeting so many new people. Pops walked me through all practical issues which was really nice. There were three of us starting in the same day so we were sort of in the same boat :).

“My first impression of Eficode was really cozy with many people walking around the office without shoes and saying hi with a smile. I also learned quickly that we have really smart people working in so many interesting projects and tasks. I’m really blown away by all the know-how we have together.

“Three months in, I love it! I like the craziness that a fast growing company inevitably faces at times. I like the people I have the privilege to work with and I like the international atmosphere of the company.”

Life at Eficode

“I’m the Group CFO. I started in Eficode at the beginning of March this year, so I’ve only been an Eficodean for just over three months now although it feels as if I'd been on board for much longer - in a good way! It shows how easy it is to feel like part of the team at Eficode as people welcome newcomers on board in such a nice and friendly way. I've had the privilege to travel to most of our units in Europe and the "Eficode spirit" is present in all of them.

“I love being in the management team at Eficode. All members of the team are really smart and experienced leaders in the IT sector so I’m learning a lot of them all the time. In addition to that, they are great personalities with varying strengths and equipped with a great sense of humor.”

Leadership

“To me the best sides of being a leader is being able to see all the dimensions of the business and being able to influence the strategy and direction of the company. In addition, I get a strong feeling of purpose when I can help people within the organization to do their job in a best possible way. Being a leader is really about supporting others.

“Of course there are always challenges in leadership as well. Sometimes there are conflicts between people which need to be solved or you make a wrong decision that needs to be fixed. To me the greatest challenge in leadership is lack of time. I would want to spend a lot more time on people and improving communications but time is often limited."

Women in tech

“To be honest, I don’t think that much about being a woman in the team. Probably it’s a nice change for the rest of the team but I don’t feel I’m being treated differently than the others. My background is in Private Equity investing and there are very few women in the sector so I’m quite used to working in a male dominated environment. At the same time, I do see it as an important target to increase the share of women in IT to have a more diverse perspective and a broader set of skills."

Working in the tech industry

“This is my first experience in being an employee of an IT company. Previously I have been involved in IT companies as an investor so the sector is not completely new to me. I worked for many years in the financial sector investing in Nordic growth companies, especially within services.

"I wanted to work for Eficode because I truly feel we are in the forefront of development, that we play a part in the future.”

Everyone has a story to tell  Meet the Humans of Eficode