An interview with Kati Kaivaara, the Head of Customer Service at OpusCapita
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Kati Kaivaara, the Head of Customer Service. As she has been at OpusCapita for 15 years already, we wanted to spend a few minutes with her, look back on the past years, and hear her thoughts on her professional journey.
Kati, please introduce yourself briefly.
I currently head the Customer Service at OpusCapita. Since 2006 I've been working for this company in different roles; application management, then having teams of developers, technical project managers, consultants, application specialists, and such. We did technical implementations for customers, product- and platform development projects. Later I also lead some customer and platform development projects myself. Then I had teams in business support functions, being responsible for all OpusCapita’s business support systems and related processes. After that, I had this deep dive into customer service.
I’m grateful for these opportunities which have been given to me while working at OpusCapita because such a variety of duties in the past gave me a lot of aspects for my current job as well.
It has been 15 years since you joined OpusCapita. Do you still remember why you joined the company?
I was a student of IT technologies and a friend of mine recommended me. I started as a verifying operator in digitizing. I wrote my thesis when working in and partaking in one software development project. Then I grew from there.
As you said in the beginning, your career journey at OpusCapita went through different teams. How easily do you adapt to new roles, and what is the most challenging in those changes?
I love changes! One of the reasons I have been at OpusCapita for such a long time is this diversity. And what's difficult about those changes? Hard to say because I am happy when things change. Of course, you need to learn new things and it would have been easier to stick to the old ways of thinking and working.
Please describe your career path to promotion for a managerial position?
I was offered a manager job even though I didn't apply for it. I was afraid, managers would always be the ones who get blamed for defeats. So, at first, I was hesitant to take such a responsibility, especially that it was to lead my previous team-mates. Yet, my manager trusted in me and convinced me that I would be good in this role. What I have learned about myself since then is that I'm pretty good at general people management. I realized that when I was given such feedback from the teams I have had the pleasure of working with!
How do you manage to reconcile the role of a mother with your professional work? Do you find the home office reality as facilitation or obstruction?
Sometimes it is a bit hectic, but I get support from my family and the company, so I manage to balance time for work and the family. Mostly it is about organizing your duties properly, it helps a lot when you plan ahead.
Of course, there happen unpredictable situations, like when my child gets sick and stays at home with me. My colleagues are kind and patient when they see me with the baby in our internal meetings. Our company culture is really about caring and understanding and family-friendly all in all!
You look after globally distributed teams. Do you encounter cultural differences when it comes to employees’ approaches to work?
Yes. There are big differences even though we are all located in Europe. Scandinavian employees are more likely to challenge their managers and ask difficult questions, while the Poles don’t question their managers so much. Our work cultures differ, yet we have big synergy benefits which allow us to become one and work unified regardless of where we are located.
Do you see major differences in your leadership style when you compare it to your male colleagues?
Not really. It depends on your personality type rather than your gender. Every leader has their energy and style of leading.
How do you deal with challenging moments? What motivates you to work when difficulties occur?
I'm change-oriented and I love challenges. Of course, they stress me from time to time too. It helps me when I know the results we want to achieve because then I understand why I need to overcome the given challenges. But those changes are the "thing" that motivates me to do my job well.
How do you charge your batteries after hard work?
My family charges me. Though two small sons can be quite draining too! And we have two granny dogs as well. I love to walk them in a forest. I also love horseback riding. This activity requires you to be fully focused on what you are doing. This way I can clear my mind and rest.
What is your most memorable experience at OpusCapita?
What first comes to mind are the various crossroads that we have been through - acquiring new businesses or letting go of specific product lines. These events affected my job and the people around me. Most of these changes made us succeed. I see OpusCapita as flexible and really strong in adapting. These memorable moments make OpusCapita thrive.
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