Every two weeks we are introducing you to inspiring women on our network and share their stories. Maybe they can become your role models and lower the barrier to connect online and offline, especially when you meet in our meetups.
Your name? Erja Lohikoski
Where do you work, study or are you looking for job?
I work at Avaava Digital Oy which specializes in web accessibility: audits, training and consulting. My colleagues at Avaava Oy help construction professionals to achieve accessible environments by carrying out accessibility surveys, consulting , training and designing as well as signage design.
What is your title?
Project Manager, Communications Specialist
What is your story, your background?
When I was growing up, I dreamed of a career of an author, inspired by all fiction that I devoured. Having tested various industries and jobs, I ended up in the field of marketing communications and by now have ‘published’ an equivalent of 10 novels. I studied social sciences and associated with AIESEC enthusiasts, I’ve worked in communications and been very much involved in strategic planning. Speak, write and illustrate for profession, but enjoy using excel, too.
Is technology part of you work?
Technology is my beloved friend and favourite assistant! Programs, platforms, clouds and systems make my professional life much easier compared to the early days of my comms career. Having experienced the days of telexes, faxes and IBM Selectric, the change has been revolutionary. In case I’m wondering if some task could be carried out more easily and in various channels simultaneously, there is a tool for it already. In the field of accessibility, assistive technologies are developing fast, too. Who could have thought a few years back that a blind person could read product labels or street signs? Well, even that is possible now! Check out OrCam MyEye2.
Your biggest challenge at the moment at work or in self-development?
In addition to keeping up with all the innovations in the field of marketing communications, I’m trying to keep ahead of all the upcoming EU regulation regarding accessibility. For example, the regulated products and services placed on market after 28 June 2025 should be accessible for all, and that means a lot of work to all industries. Another challenge is to turn the affected organizations’ mindset from a negative must to a positive opportunity.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’ve found my calling in promoting equal opportunities for all, so I’ll be working with similar issues as now. I trust that by 2024 accessibility awareness has been well spread in the EU, and I’ll be consulting customers in how to integrate accessibility and new assistive technologies in their business processes, both internal and external.
What Future Female network has given you? Or what would you like it to give you?
Future Female is a perfect combination of lifelong learning, networking and having a good time with like-minded women. It also gives a perfect opportunity to reflect upon one’s career paths, where they began, where they turned and why, and where they might be going to. I’m looking forward to giving back!
What is the best and the most important quality in your professional persona from your point of view?
My driving force is curiosity. Keen to learn new things, courageous and committed. I’ve accepted my role as a trailblazer which can be frustrating at times but oh, so rewarding when you see the change finally happening.
Quote that inspires you the most?
This was a tough one, I had to google for one. This has a nice ring to it: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Last but not least – name one woman who you admire and why?
Margaret Atwood. Her capacity of creating imaginary worlds and her use of language are amazing. Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam is a fascinating trilogy. More widely known is probably her dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale which makes my skin crawl.
Do get in touch!