Monica joined our team as Project Coordinator in December 2018 and since then, she's had quite an eventful six months. She is the rare kind of individual who is equally precise, warm and relaxed – the kind that everyone wants to talk to whenever they are facing an issue in their work or just want to have a chat. For some weird reason though, the universe seems to be out to get her.
For those unfamiliar with the role of a Project Coordinator, explain to us what it means.
The Project Coordinator is an important link between the client and the team and supports project teams in their day-to-day life. He or she provides operational support and facilitates the flow of information internally and externally, takes care of resourcing, task assignment and follow-ups. The title doesn’t actually describe my current role perfectly, as my role is more of a combination of three. Along with project work, I also take care of billing operations and play a part in the admin team. This means that I spend a large portion of my time invoicing, gathering materials for accounting, taking care of the office, improving internal processes and organizing events.
How did you end up in this kind of role?
Well, I’m what they call “a generalist”. Instead of getting a university degree, I spent my early 20s working in several different fields; retail, broadcast media and real estate to name a few. My background is very random, but I love it. It brought me to where I am now. I guess it can be often seen as restlessness or difficulty to choose and focus on one thing, and the truth is I am restless and I do find it hard to focus on one thing for a long period of time. Yet, I’m passionate about my work and get shit done. I’m highly motivated when multitasking and wearing different hats really drives me. I might not know everything about a specific topic, but I know a lot about many. Who says you have to choose one goal, why not choose them all? Who says there has to be “the job”, can’t there be one for each phase of your life? I definitely think so.
When you joined us last December, I remember you coming to the office full of excitement to get started - and the next thing I know, you’re in the hospital! What happened there?
[Laughs] Yeah, I got up to a bit of a rocky start. See, I’ve had chronic asthma my whole life and while it’s completely normal to adjust your medication to your current condition, this time everything went wrong. First, I got an allergic reaction to the new medication I was trying out and then, eventually, my lungs got tired due to the whole process taking so long. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I was hospitalized.
Once you recovered from that, everyone was stoked to have you back and everything was going well… Then, all of a sudden, a photo appears on Slack of you with your arm in a cast! How did that happen?
This is when things got absolutely ridiculous. I was, in fact, laughing and crying at the same time. I went on holiday with my boyfriend to visit in-laws in Germany. On this beautiful sunny day, while walking back from brunch, I literally fell on my face. Ironically, I didn’t even rip my tights but instead, ended up with a fractured radial head. Needless to say, I’m right handed and this was my right arm. Even the doctor was laughing.
Luckily, I only had to wear a cast for a week before switching to a lighter version, and people at work were very supportive. I could have stayed home for 3 weeks, but I suggested I’d work using my left arm. Of course, I’d be much slower and less productive, but I’d stay on top of my work. At first, the management team seemed amused and must’ve thought I was joking, but I was dead serious. At the end of the day, I think this arrangement speeded up the recovery process a lot; I could continue my day to day life, be surrounded by good energy while slowly rehabilitating my arm.
Wow. Glad you’re alright now! (Editor’s note: She was, for a while... At the time of releasing this article, the universe has yet again tried to take Monica out of the picture. She currently has a fractured rib from another tumble, but is back to working normally.)
Tell us a bit about what your typical day at Sangre looks like.
I know it sounds trendy to say there's no such thing as a typical day, but in my case, that’s actually true. My priorities can differ a lot depending on the day, although there is, of course, a bigger picture that I follow. I think today works as a good example for this purpose: I arrived at the office around 9 a.m. with bananas and coffee for the office. First, I took care of some office-related tasks, such as ordering a service guy to fix our air conditioning. Then I held our weekly meeting. The rest of the day I spent coordinating ad hoc tasks, providing billing information for a colleague and working on an internal project together with our Warsaw Office Manager Arletta.
"The best way to tackle the wave of information, get a sense of clarity and get started: write everything down."
You constantly work with multiple clients, juggling multiple projects and ad hoc work. It takes some skill, and not everyone’s got what it takes! Got some tips for us mere mortals, how do you stay on top of everything?
[Laughs] I guess it does get a little crazy at times! The ability to organize and prioritize your work along with good communication skills take you a long way, but my secret is simple: I write everything down. E v e r y t h i n g. The wave of information that passes through you within a single day can sometimes get overwhelming, and you may even feel paralyzed for a moment. The best way to tackle that wave, get a sense of clarity and get started? Write everything down.
What do you like most about working at Sangre?
Oh, many things! I like the fact that every day is different, that my job doesn’t require me to sit still the whole day, and the fact that we often have kids or dogs around. I like our office and the fact that we are all here as a whole, not just a title. I like our daily debates when we’re trying to decide where to have lunch together. I like the freedom of being able to organize a huge part of my work myself, and the responsibility, flexibility and trust I’m given every day.
Tell us about a moment that recently lit up your workday.
Our Business Development Manager Jemmi - a true badass by the way - had her 7-year-old daughter with her at work for a week. On her last day at the office, the little girl was very comfortable with me and shared a lot of things with me: how her friend can do a jumping split, how she’s visiting grandma soon and what she’s going to draw next. There was one very special moment when I was sitting in a rocking chair in one corner while she was lying in a pile of pillows in the other, watching her favourite cartoons as the sun rays formed a circle around her, keeping her warm. It was such a heartwarming moment that it ended up on my camera roll.
Who sits next to you in the office and what’s the most interesting thing about them?
Our Project Producer Linda! She’s an interesting person in many, many ways. Did you know she drives a motorcycle? She’s also an excellent cook and really knows her coffee. She’s very talented in her job, which makes her an interesting character to follow at work.
What’s the weirdest food-related request you've received from your colleagues when it comes to office snacks?
Our gang is luckily quite low-maintenance. They're pretty happy with snacks like dried nuts and fruit. There was one time in the early days of my journey at Sangre when I was asked to get some more Paská, which means, well, “shit” in Finnish. At the time, I had no idea we were talking about a coffee brand called Paská, and I thought Antti was messing with me. You live and learn, right?
What kind of exciting things can we expect for the Helsinki office in the near future?
Oh, there are so many exciting things to come! First of all, our infamous Sangre Kick-off is coming up in August, but I can’t spill the tea on that just yet. There’s also a fun photo shoot coming up for our staff, a super interesting space-planning project taking place, and all sorts of events with our partners. I have a bunch of ideas for the upcoming holidays too.
Thanks a lot, Monica! And please, stay safe.
If you're interested in working with Monica or want to know more about what it's like to work with us, check out our Careers page. Connect with Monica on LinkedIn if you want to chat to her more about her work.