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?

Päivi Kinnunen, “metsinkäinen”

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

In September I started working with the awesome Sharetribe team!

What is your title?

Administrative Assistant

What is your story, your background?

Been here and there, always knowing I want to help the world but not knowing exactly how. It is finally becoming more clear, after almost three decades of both sailing and floating.

I never really knew what I wanted to do in life, at least not in a way that some children seemed to know they wanted to become a doctor, lawyer, some family profession, etc. Mostly thanks to my Mom, since childhood I enjoyed and explored nature with fondness. In elementary school I remember picking up trash other people dropped to get them out of the nature and being worried about the greenhouse effect as the climate change was called back then.

I concentrated on studying as much as I could, exploring different subjects but focusing especially on languages and arts – I enjoyed drawing and being able to express myself, loved the small nuances and atmosphere words carry. These have since become more like hobbies that can support other areas of life.

After Upper secondary school I applied to study architecture in Helsinki University of Technology, didn’t get in. That was the only interesting study line I knew off, to combine drawing and a will to make our living environment delightful and functioning. Studying linguistics or psychology was also an option for a short while, but the possible professions after studies weren’t interesting enough. Even though psychology would have been useful and intriguing, I thought as a psychologist it wouldn’t be enough to help only a limited amount of people, possibly burning myself out in the process. Today I understand I was actually looking for scalability of the impact I can make.

By my second application round I accidentally found my current study line of Multilingual management assistants in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (UAS). I viewed myself good at supporting other people which this profession basically was about, and it didn’t restrict too much as assistants are needed in all kinds of organisations. I applied and got in. Just like in the years before UAS, I studied and participated in many kinds of extra curricular activities like tutoring and degree association board to both learn and give to the society.

During my last years of studies I started working more, gave much of myself for it, never finished my thesis, did burnout in the meanwhile. After this I realized the need to reorientate myself, to have a clear meaning and enough scalability for what I do.

We spend so much of our lives working, why not learn to know yourself better and attempt to find a spot where you can feel the work matters in a way that is meaningful to you? Through some luck and networks I ended up in my current position that gives me both professional and mental satisfaction, help spreading the sharing economy.

Is technology part of you work? 

Although I work in a tech startup, the technology I use is mostly the internet browser and applications of my computer and smartphone. Thanks to UAS connections, years ago I noticed getting well along with programmers and other technically oriented people. This positive connection has evolved into curiosity to learn myself too. I believe it is useful for everyone to know some basics of coding and AI.

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

To graduate. The usual story I guess, I got lost at work before actually doing the thesis. This relates to giving all my energy out for others (work, friends etc.) leaving little room for giving myself time and space. That balance is another challenge I’ve been working on.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

After this recent change I haven’t updated my goals. I do know I want to continue giving a good impact on the world.

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

I came for the great topics and discussions, found so much more; it has given me courage. Wonderful individuals who are curious and assume the best of you even when you have trouble believing in yourself. This network has helped me turn the ship from diminishing thoughts towards a growing and blooming individual.

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

Is there a professional persona separate from what we are otherwise? I used to believe that and ended up finding it difficult to be myself outside of work anymore, hiding my colours.

The quality at the moment might be warmness, a type of kindness. Still learning, and every encounter is a new one to learn from. Being kind to each other helps us live, grow and flourish. Lifes is not either-or, but rather both-and.

Quote that inspires you the most?

The choice is difficult as there are many, but recently I’ve become fond of the one from Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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

I’ve never been good at history, remembering stories nor names so I’ll jump to the present category. This person I have met at my first Future Female event this spring and somehow connected straight away: I want to name Akira Ahola for her straightforward way of being herself and supporting others.

I admire Akira for lifting other people up by giving them direct praise and compliments whenever applicable. Rocking the way of being their own unique self her presence has helped me relax in the crowd and lower the grey mask in front of my sparkling colours. We need more people like her.