We had a chat with Mobal's first employee, Siri to talk about her journey at Mobal, her highs and lows during the last three years, and what she does to destress. In the end, she reveals both her personal and professional goals for 2023, and let me tell you if that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will.
Interview by Jenny Jäntti
It was a fast process due to the instant trust that I got in both Alexander (COO) and the idea and potential of Mobal. I felt this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I wouldn't want to miss.
I remember our first discussion with Alexander like it was yesterday (especially the small detail that he promised a Mobal ski trip when we reached a specific target). Let's say we have yet to go on that trip, so I'm still working hard for that. But all jokes aside, my connection with Mobal's vision and the founders made me stoked for a shared journey toward building a well-known brand worldwide.
One of the most obvious ones is that I started with our managed service and managed the team, compared to me now leading Mobal's marketing. I'm thankful for this journey because I know our customers inside and out, which has helped me in my current role.
A lot has changed in three years, though I felt a change when we moved to our current office. The team grew, resulting in more precise roles, responsibilities, and better processes.
All in all, it has been an incredible learning experience. Taking ownership, executing, and as a result, succeeding or learning from them is rewarding feeling.
Naturally, with ownership comes responsibility. Taking responsibility for bigger decisions, quickly, as we’ve been growing has been an exciting challenge. All this has significantly impacted my growth journey, both personally and professionally.
Prioritizing is also something that I’ve had to be extra mindful about. A lot has to be done, and the tasks never end, but you can’t execute them all at once. Knowing what to do, in the right order is extremely important.
Running for me is essential, and I strive to do it five times a week. I also play tennis with a bunch of friends, which often is more laughing than good hits, but it really cheers up my week.
But, a new routine for this year that I've almost become addicted to is ice swimming. You heard right… but before judging me, try it yourself. It's as if you would erase your cache memory in a blink of an eye. Cross-country skiing has also become a big passion of mine.
I have a few goals, both personal and professional. Work-wise, I want to develop in my role as a marketer. Currently, I'm a swiss army knife working with all aspects of marketing. I want to dive deeper and refine my skills within brand and product marketing in the B2B SaaS landscape.
Even though I'm determined and, most of all, excited about making my professional goal a reality, I've promised myself to maintain a mindset that allows me to enjoy the ride that we are on. I'm sure that a "take life with a grain of salt" mindset is critical for me to develop personally and professionally.
Oh, one personal goal I already reached is that I skied the Vasaloppet, the world's biggest cross-country ski race (90km) in Sweden with over 15000 participants. It was a fantastic opportunity, and I would do it again!
I'm joining a research expedition as the only woman with the Arctic Research Group to Svalbard in August, my biggest adventure so far, which I'm looking forward to. I have two goals with the expeditions that I hope to achieve. The first one is to raise awareness about climate change and its consequences in the arctic regions.
The other, equally important to me, is to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zones and take more space - whether it's a board room or a research expedition to the remote corners of our planet.
The other, equally important to me, is to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zones and take more space in male-dominated environments - whether it's a board room or an research expedition to the remote corners of our planet.
Spending time in the mountains or by the sea. Skiing, sailing, or on a surfboard - being one with nature makes me really happy. Also, when I have a good work-life balance, get to spend time with my friends and family, and feel strong and healthy, I'm the happiest.
As the first employee, you'll likely join the company during its very earliest stages. This means you'll work closely with the founders to realize their vision. You may be involved in developing the company's core products or services, establishing operational processes, and building the initial customer base. This can be a dynamic and fast-paced environment, presenting new challenges and opportunities each day.
Wearing Multiple Hats: As a first employee, you'll likely wear multiple hats and be involved in various aspects of the business. You may be responsible for not only your area of expertise but also be involved in marketing, sales, customer service, and other functions. This versatility can be challenging and rewarding, as it allows you to learn and grow in diverse areas, gaining valuable skills and experience.
Entrepreneurial Mindset: Being the first employee at a startup requires an entrepreneurial mindset. You need to be proactive, resourceful, and adaptable, as the startup environment can be unpredictable and dynamic. You'll need to think creatively, develop innovative solutions, and be willing to take risks. Your ability to take ownership of your responsibilities and contribute to the company's overall success will be critical.
Building the Culture: As the first employee, you play a significant role in building the company's culture. You'll help establish the values, norms, and work ethic guiding the company's future growth. This includes fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment, promoting open communication, and contributing to a positive and motivated team atmosphere. Your actions and behaviors will set the tone for the company's culture, and you'll have the opportunity to shape it from the ground up.
Thriving in Ambiguity: Startups are known for their ambiguity and uncertainty. As the first employee, you'll need to be comfortable navigating ambiguity and making decisions with limited information. You'll likely encounter challenges and setbacks, and the path forward may not always be clear. Adapting to changing circumstances, making quick decisions, and learning from failures will be crucial to your success as the first employee at a startup.
Growth Opportunities: Joining a startup as the first employee can provide unique growth opportunities. You'll be able to contribute directly to the company's success and see the impact of your work firsthand. As the company grows, you can take on increasing responsibilities, grow your skills, and advance your career. Startups often offer a dynamic and fast-paced environment that can foster rapid personal and professional growth.
The Challenges: Starting as the first employee at a startup also comes with its share of challenges. The workload may be demanding, and you may need to work long hours to meet deadlines and achieve milestones. The lack of established processes and systems may require you to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. However, for many, the excitement, learning opportunities, and potential rewards outweigh the challenges.
Starting as the first employee at a startup is a unique and rewarding experience. You'll be at the forefront of the company's growth, contributing to its success from the ground up. While it may come with challenges, it can also provide tremendous personal and professional growth opportunities. If you thrive in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment and are willing to take on multiple responsibilities, a startup could be the perfect place for you.
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