The Fjordian talks design research, lessons from climbing and why every office needs a kitchen
Role: Senior Program Manager
Years at Fjord:~4
What exactly does your role entail?
[I’m a] multi-tasking and thinking addict (when what I would really like to become, deep inside, is an unashamed uber-focused monotasker).
How did you end up in this role and what do you love about your career choice?
I never planned my life for more than six months ahead, and I can’t say I ever made career choice. That’s also the reason why I can’t really say I “ended up” in this role, because I never quite wanted or needed the boundaries that come with a role or a job position. I took the job opportunities when they arose, and moved on every time I felt I was not learning or growing anymore. I took career decisions based on my life goals, the places I wanted to live in. That’s how I ended up in Australia, working for the French Film Festival, and that’s how I ended up in Spain where I worked in everything, from teaching French over Skype, to representing Spanish famous actors, to becoming a consultant in e-learning and building digital platforms for emerging artists from Portugal and Spain.
I was given a chance by Cristina Gomez Prada to join the team almost four years ago. And that’s the only place I have ever worked where I feel I am not a misfit anymore. I feel that I belong to Fjord because Fjord doesn’t ask me to enter in a box, but actually asks me to keep growing and crash the boundaries, even if it means by hacking its own system. So more than a choice, it was a chance given to me by a person that put her trust in me and bet on my potential. I’ll always be grateful to Cristini for that.
What’s been your favorite part of working at Fjord?
Working 100% with a team on a project and being part of the research, analysis and synthesis moments are my favorite parts of working at Fjord. Getting to know people via the research is the greatest happiness I get in every project.
And after the research, when you look at the wall full of data and somehow need to “feel the wall” and give birth to an output together with your team — it’s such a freaking challenging moment, but also such a rewarding one that it has become like an addiction to me. It really puts my brain to work. It pushes, pushes and pushes it.
Ok. And Equinox parties. OF COURSE!
Where do you find inspiration?
From my colleagues in Fjord and outside Fjord! I love to get to know people, share thoughts, opinions, debate, push and get pushed, and share beautiful and hard moments. This is truly where I “find my inspiration”.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
With Mark Curtis :)
Or Neil de Grasse.
Both for the same reason: I have a huge respect for both of them, and I would truly cherish any moment I could share with them as the greatest learning opportunity I could get.
What are your three favorite things to do on the weekend?
Climbing! Or go on a hike in the mountains, and stay home and chill out cooking.
How does your role as Fjord affect your life outside of the office, and how do your hobbies and passions impact your job?
I think my work at Fjord affected my life because now 50% of my closest friends are from Fjord! And I think the other 50% are a bit tired of listening to me talking about Fjord all the time — even if they would all love to join the company!
I started climbing a bit more than two years ago, and I think that has been a turning point for me as a person. When you start a climb, you need to have confidence, push yourself, but also be humble and trust your belaying partner. It is a very fine balance of emotions, and you will only climb well when those four forces within you are rightly balanced. This is a state of mind I try to reach when I face a big challenge at work : trust people, be confident, stay humble, and push myself.
What are your three office must-haves for a successful workday?
Definitely a large kitchen, with everything to make great coffee, great teas, and cook a little bit. Everything happens in the kitchen. You stand up, you chat, you disconnect, you reconnect. You laugh. This is THE must-have of any office space.
If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing?
Sometimes I dream about owning a little stone house in a lost valley of Cantabria, have goats (and internet) and set up a hipster-organic-hippie business. Maybe that’s what I’d do or what I will do. But who knows!
What’s your hope for the future — either for design or something more personal?
I hope we could use design to bring more convergence amongst people so we could all make better decisions for common good, at every scale.
We’re always looking for smart, talented and passionate people like Elodie. Want to join the team? See all open positions and find out more about why it’s good to be a Fjordian here!