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?

Krista Jäntti

Where do you work, study or are you looking for job?

I work at the company called Varjo

What is your title?

Lead UX Designer

What is your story, your background?

That is a long story… the short version is that I was a biology student who danced in a show dance group. That group needed a new website and I didn’t want to ask anyone else’s help anymore, so I learned to write html & css by myself. But then, I wanted to learn how to write javascript code on my own too.

Copy & paste -learning is really frustrating when you don’t understand how your snippet works. It’s like trying to learn a new language just by reading the grammar book. You get pieces of here and there but can’t understand how to put the sentences together. It took me a lot of courage to enter a programming class at the Department of Computer Science but then I was like, what the heck, I can try to pass the course too. I failed on the first try but passed on the second one and I finally succeeded to do my minor degree in CS. The story of how I made a transition from a software developer to a UX designer is less interesting, I was never the best coder in the room and the UX is also about the problem-solving – the tools are just different. After 7 years in UX, I still feel like it is my thing. And I failed to keep my story short.

Is technology part of you work?

Varjo’s products, virtual and mixed reality headsets are made of hardware and software. The headset consists of optics, sensors, motherboard (PCB), cameras, screens, motor units, and many other parts. I never knew that hardware can be this interesting! It’s like I’m back in the school again when our mechanics show me what sort of things the virtual reality headset has eaten inside and why.. I used to design 2D software apps only so I had no idea what the challenges are with the hardware business. You just can’t go and fix the bug…feature in the next sprint. Hardware iteration cycles are so much longer! My own work consists of sketching UIs for our software team and also doing research on how people use virtual reality at their work. I have to say that the eye-tracking technology which we have is a really cool thing and it’s going to change virtual reality UIs.

Your biggest challenge at the moment at work or in self-development?

I’m doing eMBA (executive Master of Business Administration) studies at AaltoEE while I work and I have 3 kids and I have the same 24h like everyone else so I have continuous challenges with my schedules. It’s hard to learn to say no to all the things that I’m interested in just because I don’t have the time!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hardly know what I’m going to do next week! My life is so chaotic that I just stopped planning it, I fit in the things I can. My life is similar to the startup world: there’s no point in spending too much time in up-front planning when everything is going to change anyway. I do have some priorities though but most of the time I let my passion guide what I’m going to do next. Sounds such a cliché, I know, but it has got me this far so I trust it’s going to take me there as well wherever that is going to be!

What Future Female network has given you? Or what would you like it to give you?

It has given me knowledge about the newest tech, new points of view and like-minded people who are not bored to death but excited when I start to talk with them about the possibilities of the technology. This group also knows what it feels like to be the only woman in the room. So both hard and soft skills.

What is the best and the most important quality in your professional persona from your point of view?

Staying curious and being ready to change your mind whenever you receive new information (about the things that you thought you knew something).

Quote that inspires you the most?

”Go where you are rare”. Meaning that find your earthworm from the area where there is a demand but less competition – you are going to be needed.

Last but not least – name one woman who you admire and why?

I admire every woman who has stayed true to themselves, not letting the fear prevent them from what they want to achieve and who hasn’t been put down on words like ”you don’t have it what it takes, you can’t change the world”. Those are my heroines. If you want names, people like Rosa Parks, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Olga Misik.

At this point, I can’t commit myself to any extra meetings (for the above-mentioned reasons) but my LinkedIn is always open www.linkedin.com/in/kristajantti