This is Paula.
You could call her an IT Leader.
But she is actually an enforcer of caring code.
Being the leader of a unit with a hundred people that are spread over five countries, with different drivers and dreams, requires both big ears and great confidence. Those are two traits that define Paula, in her professional role and as a person.
“My role is to provide our teams with the right conditions and a positive spirit. So that they can focus on developing cool tech solutions that make a real difference in the world outside. I want to help people swim on their own. But if things get tough, I'm by their side”.
A supportive, facilitating and listening leadership
- I really enjoy seeing teams and people succeed, Paula says. My contribution as a leader is to give them the support they need, to be able to do their thing. Sometimes it means securing space and time, sometimes it’s about facilitating new kinds of solutions or introducing people to each other. And sometimes it’s just about being a good listener when there are obstacles in the way that need to be ventilated.
It was this wide range of opportunities, a Nordic setup and a committed culture that attracted Paula to join If eight years ago. When she got on board and deepened her knowledge of insurances, she also realized that she has a lot in common with the business itself.
- Our purpose as an insurance company is really aligned with my personality. I genuinely care for people. And it feels great to be able to support our amazing IT teams in their mission to create solutions and systems that make our customers lives easier and safer.
Insurance is all about data
Paula’s unit is part of If’s Nordic/Baltic tech community. A growing organization where about 1,000 IT specialists develop best in class digital solutions for colleagues, partners, and customers.
- I’m blown away by the advanced technologies and competent people that define our tech community, Paula says. Our customers should not, and often do not, compare our level of service with other insurance companies. They expect us to provide solutions as smooth as their payment apps or streaming services. And that’s where we set our goals.
There are many career options within If’s tech community. You can work with everything from front-end development of webshops to mobile apps or business enablers such as API’s and IAM. One thing that Paula emphasizes is the advanced use of data.
- We have lots of really cool things going on around data and analytics. Since insurance is all about data, by definition, this is a prioritized field for us. Right now, we are into some really interesting API, Databricks and machine learning initiatives, trying out how we can utilize the great amount of data that’s available to us.
Failing with pride is part of the role
The culture at If is often described as supportive, helpful and at the same time driven and ambitious. This is a view that Paula shares.
- We trust each other. And thanks to that, we dare to challenge ourselves. You need to step out of your comfort zone and make mistakes to be able to learn. I make sure to lead by example. I try, and I fail. Actually, I got a certificate of achievement from my team for “failing with pride”.
Within If’s tech community, agile mindset and principles are deeply rooted in the DNA. And now, the rest of the organization is adapting to agile ways of working.
- This has established a totally new transparency throughout If, Paula says. Considering the size of the company I think we have a pretty flat formation and the agile transformation has surely taken that one step further. We share a joint view on why we are doing things. What the challenges are. What we see as opportunities. I’m sure this will make us even more innovative and front-running as a tech employer going forward.