Author Archives: Veronica

  1. Andreas Rosander – Keeping our accounts in check while keeping one eye on his next adventure

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    Tell us a little about your background, Andreas

    Well, I come from a small town in Sweden called Kungsör. I first moved to Gothenburg to study
    Business Administration at university, then after graduating I returned to my hometown and
    took a job in accounting.

    After a year working there I was contacted by Avinode through LinkedIn. I went to
    Gothenburg for an interview, and everything just felt right. One month later, in August 2019, I
    started with the company.

    I’ve been here ever since and I really like it. I have great managers and great co-workers.


    Does Gothenburg feel like home now?

    Yes, it does. Obviously, life in Gothenburg is quite different to Kungsör, but I’ve been living
    here for 10 years and I’m very settled.


    What does your job of accounting assistant entail?

    Day-to-day, I work closely with the sales department. I handle all the orders on the customer
    side – so accounts receivable – as well as supplier and customer invoices on the accounts
    payable side.

    I deal with customers all over the world, across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
    And I take care of everything from sending out invoices, handling incoming payments, sales
    analysis… it’s a lot of accounting.


    What is the best part of your role?

    It’s hard to put my finger on just one aspect – it’s really a mix of everything. I’m given a lot of responsibility and control and my role is very flexible, which is an aspect I really enjoy.


    And how have you found working from home over the past couple of years?

    It has been ok, but of course I’ve missed my co-workers and the office environment. We
    moved into this fantastic new office in January 2020 and the sad thing is that we only got to
    enjoy it for a month before Covid meant we all had to go home to work.

    It was nice when we opened back up a few months ago and it feels great to be able to meet everyone
    again. As we’re now Flex Noders, we’re free to be in the office as much or as little as we want. I’m typically working at home three times a week now and spending one or two days in
    the office. That feels like a good balance.


    How would you describe Avinode to someone who has never heard of us?

    I would say that we’re a company that really feels like a small family. Even as we’ve grown –
    and we’ve expanded hugely in the time that I’ve been here – that feeling of family has never
    changed. We host events that include everyone, and we take care of each other – it’s a nice
    feeling.


    And away from work, what do you like to do?

    I love spending time with my friends and family. I travel back to my hometown a lot because I
    still have many friends there. We go hiking, to the movies, skiing in the winter, and play golf
    each year.

    We also go on crazy adventures. We’ve stayed in a cabin in the north of Sweden – which is
    supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the country – and we’ve also spent the
    night deep in a forest that is meant to be haunted too. It’s great fun and very exciting.


    And you’re also a football fan I believe?

    I am, yes, I love football. I support IFK Norrköping because that was my grandpa’s team. He
    actually played for them in the 1960s and also represented Sweden. So, they are my
    Swedish team.


  2. Merlyn Patricio – Working to create the best user experience for our customers

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    Hi Merlyn. Tell us about your typical working day

    As a UX designer here at Avinode Group, I help our product teams build the best solutions by working closely with users and putting them at the center of things.

    My typical working day starts with stand-up team meetings where we update each other on what happened yesterday and what we’ll do today. These meetings happen for both the development teams that I’m working with and the UX team that I’m part of as well.

    From late morning onwards, once I’m aligned around what needs to be done, I’ll focus on my tasks.


    It sounds like there’s always lots going on?

    There is, yes, and no two days are the same. That’s one of the things I love about UX design, it never gets boring. We can always make the user experience better, and I love doing that while collaborating with like-minded people who understand the value of design.


    And do you talk to customers much?

    Yes, I do. I talk to them when we have a question in mind or want to test out a solution. This first-hand information from the people using the product is so useful. It tells us whether we’re on the right track, if some tweaks are needed, or when an idea is lacking impact. Our customers are amazing at supporting us because they understand that we care about their experience.


    You were born and raised in the Philippines. How did you end up in Sweden?

    While studying Business at University in the Philippines, I became involved in social projects. We were doing a lot of different things, such as projects to educate kids in nutrition and basic urban farming.

    We had volunteers from all over the world come to help, and that’s where I met my Swedish girlfriend. We decided that it made sense for us to live in Sweden together.


    And did you have a UX background?

    Yes, I was already working in UX in the Philippines. I was at a start-up before moving to an agency where we worked with a range of different clients. That’s where I first thought that this is something I want to do seriously as a career.

    The question was really whether it was possible to continue my UX journey in Sweden. It’s a big change in culture, there’s the language barrier, plus the fact that I had no experience of working here.


    But it all worked out

    Luckily, yes. Before Avinode Group I began working as a consultant for one of the big UX consultancy firms here in Gothenburg. While I was there I met some people from Avinode, and it sounded like a great company with great people.

    I was also really interested in taking on a new challenge. I knew that Avinode was a complex system, and it was nice that they thought I would be a good addition to the team.


    How different is the work culture in Sweden compared to the Philippines?

    The corporate culture in the Philippines is more traditional. In Sweden, and here at Avinode, things are more relaxed and people trust you to get the job done. I feel free to share my thoughts and ideas because the people I work with make me feel like I can fail and make mistakes and that’s ok because we can just work on it together.

    In the Philippines, people are obsessed with the 9-5. The commute can also be crazy – it could take 2-3 hours to get home with the traffic, which makes it hard to maintain a hobby outside of work.


    So, you have more free time now?

    I certainly have a lot more time. I can now make time in my day to sit with my thoughts, meditate and do some breathing exercises. That’s a big part of my morning for sure.

    After work I try to exercise. I jog or go to the gym, and I’ve even got back into playing tennis. Sometimes I also play the guitar to relax.


    And what are you loving most about life at Avinode?

    I love that Avinode is a really friendly company for international employees. There are people from all over the world in the business.

    Although we’re an English-speaking company, everyone is very open to me practicing my Swedish. They make it comfortable for me to do that – and there are lots of people in the same boat.

    This has helped make it easy for me to integrate into the company and to life in Sweden.

  3. Adrian Stopp – Ensuring our tech experts can focus on what they do best

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    Tell us about your role, Adrian

    I’m Engineering Manager which means I manage the people, resources, and processes in
    our tech department. It’s my job to keep everything running smoothly.

    The tech guys are so talented. When it comes to developing our products and what code
    goes where, that’s where they excel. But I take care of the many other things around that,
    such as having good processes in place, ensuring that people are happy in general and
    hiring new team members.

    Although I don’t have any technical experience myself, the team is happy because it means I
    can’t micromanage them even if I wanted to.


    So, you bring those ‘softer’ management skills to the team

    That’s right. It’s really common for example that the best Sales Manager becomes the Sales
    Director. But wouldn’t you want your best salesperson doing what they do so well? If you
    have someone who is good at managing people but not so good at selling, it makes more
    sense for that person to be Sales Director.

    The same goes for tech. You don’t want your best engineer also taking care of the other
    aspects of a role that will mean they have less time to code.


    This is not your first role at Avinode, is it?

    No, I’ve been with the business for 10 years. I arrived as an intern and after six months I was
    hired. And I’m still here!

    I started off in sales, taking care of the Nordic countries before expanding into other
    European territories. I did that for five years but began to feel that sales wasn’t my calling in
    life. The novelty of traveling so much on my own was also wearing off.


    And then you took a sabbatical

    I did. In Sweden we’re lucky to be able to take a sabbatical and keep our job. It’s great to
    have that security of knowing you have a role to go back to.

    So I went to China for a year. I lived in a city called Ningbo, just south of Shanghai. I studied
    Business Management at a British university – University of Nottingham, which has a branch
    out there – and it was a fantastic time. I learned a lot about Chinese people and their culture.

    When I returned to Avinode, I wanted to do something different, so I joined the Commercial
    Development department. Along with my manager in Miami, we ran that department for a
    couple of years. I oversaw our CRM system project, amongst other things.


    It sounds like Avinode Group has given you a lot of freedom to move around

    Yeah, I’ve certainly benefitted from that freedom, and the business really does empower and
    trust its staff in lots of ways.

    If you’ve been hired by Avinode, you’re free to make the best decisions you can make.
    People won’t micromanage you. As an employee, you really feel that trust and I’ve always
    felt that in my time at the company.


    Just going back to your Engineering Manager role, what’s the biggest challenge you
    currently face?

    Oh, recruiting, definitely. Finding great developers is tough because they’re in high demand.
    If you’re a developer looking for a cool company to work for, there are many options out
    there, and Avinode is just one of them. It’s a competitive market.

    Also, I’m always hiring. It’s a continuous journey as we grow the team and people move on
    naturally.


    But when you’re not hiring, what do you like to do outside of work?

    My life outside of work really evolves around my young family. I have two children aged six
    months and two and a half years. I love to cook and recently I’ve been following NFL closely
    – I’ve found that I can still watch a game while carrying a baby around.

  4. Itziar Canelas – The onboarding specialist who loves problem-solving

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    Hi Itziar. Tell us about your role at Avinode

    So, I’m a Customer Onboarding Specialist based in Miami. My role is kind of a hybrid of product specialist and implementation specialist. The team I work in supports both Avinode and Schedaero. I have colleagues who are more specialized in advanced Schedaero features and I’m more about advanced Avinode features.


    And what are the different aspects of your job?

    Our team wears multiple hats. The core work is onboarding members by teaching them how to use our products and get them to maximize the benefits that their membership provides.

    Then there’s the support aspect when issues arise. In the team, we all know the products well, so we’re often the first filter there. If things escalate and we need a real tech expert or product owner to look at something, we liaise between the member and our tech support team.


    It sounds like you have a really varied role

    I do. We also get to work on a whole range of projects. We’re always exploring new and existing internal tools to see how we can work smarter and provide value to our members. I think in a lot of other companies my role would be very task orientated; onboard and train, that’s it. But at Avinode Group we’re always rethinking processes and how we can make the experience better for the member.

    That makes this role so much fun, having the freedom to brainstorm and bring something good to the table.

    I love working in technology and software as a service. I think a lot of people want this type of role these days and I feel incredibly lucky.


    The personal touch must be especially important in your job

    Absolutely. Avinode Group is big on personalized training. For our members, we want to hear what their day-to-day workflow is like for their role as that allows us to better guide them on using our tools to achieve what they’re looking for.

    Plus, when you deliver personalized training, you get the best feedback. Sometimes it’s feedback you’ve heard before – which is still useful – but other times there are complete curveballs. That really makes us all sit up and think hard about those challenges. That means customers wanting to fine-tune how they use our systems are also providing valuable feedback to our product team. It feels great to be able to learn how our members operate their business and be able to guide them on the best workflow for them with our products.


    We love it when members are happy with the software. Where are your customers based?

    They’re all across the US and in Latin America. I have Spanish and Bolivian heritage and Spanish is my first language, so that Latin American market makes sense for me.

    I’ve also lived in South America and Europe, and I think that has helped when it comes to supporting members in those countries where there’s an important emphasis on relationship building. I have an understanding of how business is done there and what our members value in the system and I think that can help in our role. I think being able to train some of
    our members in Spanish can also bring value to them.


    I believe that COVID had an unexpected impact on your workload

    That’s right. In normal times, operators are so busy that when booking training, it’s not uncommon to have to reschedule for another day. During the peak of Covid, we had existing members and new members interested in attending personalized trainings.

    People suddenly had the time to better understand the tool they already had, and the opportunity to explore all those features that come with their membership that they might have not fully maximized before.

    Then, as business picked back up again, brokers were joining the system which picked up demand again for trainings.


    Does your role take you on the road a lot?

    Before the pandemic, I got to travel locally in the US as well as to Latin America, delivering training in person. I’d also go to Mexico, for example, for the big trade show, and travel with the sales team to meet potential customers and support the account managers with existing customers.

    Like most people in the company, I love to travel – it’s one of my favorite things to do – so that’s another reason why my role is so exciting.


    And what about life outside of work. What keeps you busy?

    Well, I like to host family and friends over and spending time with them. I also enjoy learning new vegetarian recipes. I am slowly educating myself more on vegan clothing brands.

    I’m a huge animal lover too and have two cats. I’m not ready for the commitment of a dog and with two 10-year-old cats, it can get a little tricky– although maybe now with COVID and not traveling so much… Watch this space.

  5. Gunilla Perry – Ensuring everything works exactly as it should

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    Hi Gunilla. I believe you’re currently enjoying summer back in Sweden

    That’s right. I now live in Portland, Oregon, but I’m spending summer here in Sweden for the first time since 2008. It’s so wonderful here in summer. The clouds are higher in the sky, the sun is up longer, and it’s so beautiful and clean. It’s great to be back.


    What is an average day at work like for you?

    Well, I’m a Test Lead on Schedaero and there are four of us in the team, all based in Portland. We’re each assigned the role of main tester for individual projects, and that means working closely with the developers to test what they are building. There are plenty of meetings with the product, UX and developments teams and that collaboration is crucial to ensure we ultimately deliver a quality product to our customers.


    You’re vastly experienced, Gunilla. How have things changed in your 20+ years in testing?

    Well, for a long time the industry followed the Waterfall methodology. Then, a few years ago I took a voluntary sabbatical between projects which gave me the opportunity to clear my mind and focus on the new style of Agile workflow and development. Once my sabbatical was over, I went to work for a company in Beaverton that used Agile processes and tools, so when I joined Avinode in 2016 I kind of had a jump start on that way of working.

    Agile was a new approach for the business back then and my co-workers were more used to Waterfall, and big releases every six months. I brought that Agile experience with me, and the idea of releasing consistently; testing, verifying and then getting the product out in production.


    Do you think that an Agile approach benefits other areas of the business?

    Absolutely. I can say that with the whole team working this way it’s hugely beneficial to the product and the whole company because we can truly deliver quality-based features that our customers request. And importantly, we’re able to adjust to changing demands within the industry.


    That requires everyone to do their bit also

    Yes, it does. My husband is a developer himself and while working at home during COVID he has heard how we talk as a team and the flow of communication between us. He said to me, “wow, you have a great group. You really respect each other”.

    He’s impressed with what we deliver for customers, but it takes the team and individuals to respect each other, to work in a timely manner, and listen to each other and work through products. We are a very strong and winning team.


    Do you think those characteristics make Avinode Group special?

    I do. The culture is very much built on trust and respect for each other – and each others time, which is so important given how our work/life balance has changed.

    I like how we get things done. We listen to the customer and respond to their issues without ever letting those issues fall between the chairs. We’re also very good at sniffing out what is important for our competitiveness in the market. We don’t just rely on our past record, we’re never complacent.


    Looking to the future, what aspects of your role are you most excited about?

    As a business, we’re now extending our offer to focus more on the flight operations side, where some customers have very specific demands. The question of how to accommodate their needs is the real interesting one.

    Rather than customizing features for specific customers – which would be a maintenance nightmare – we build them so they’re for everybody. I’m excited that we’re adding to the standard application, as it means our existing customers can grow with us.


    And when summer is over and you return to Portland, what is life like?

    Well, I live on a houseboat on the river, so water is really important to me. I enjoy all kinds of water activities, like stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, boating and fishing.

    Portland also has outstanding nature and I love hiking in the nearby Columbia River Gorge –it’s incredibly beautiful. And then when I really want to relax you can find me knitting.

  6. Marine Tirand – Finding ways to be the voice of the customer

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    Hi Marine. Tell us how a French native ended up in Gothenburg

    Well, my partner and I came to Sweden a few times as tourists and immediately fell in love with the country and with Gothenburg in particular. We got great vibes and realised that this is where we wanted to settle down.

    We resigned from our jobs back in France and moved here for good in 2015. We had no work at this point – just some savings and a lot of dreams – and embraced the chance to pursue a new career, a new language and a new life.


    Wow, that’s a big leap. You clearly love an adventure

    I really do. Even now, each day after work I take a long walk with my family and explore new places. It’s crazy how many routes, forests and lakes we have around Gothenburg and it’s awesome to enjoy these super-calm and relaxing environments. That’s how I love to relax, along with reading. Oh, and cooking too – I am French after all!


    Did you have a background in aviation before joining Avinode?

    No. Back in France I worked in the logistics industry, first in customer services and then in marketing. After a while I realised that there are so many job opportunities out there, so why limit yourself to one sector and one kind of job?

    I love to stay open-minded and grab opportunities that come along, so when I saw the Avinode advert for a Product Specialist – which is sort of a customer service role – I jumped at it. I had no idea what the private aviation industry was all about, but I knew the role fitted my skills and experience perfectly.


    Tell us about your role as a Product Owner

    I primarily work for Avinode, but I also spend time on the Schedaero Trip Manager feature. What I love about my role as a Product Owner is that it’s such a versatile job and I get to interact with a lot of different people.

    I’m always speaking with customers to understand what their daily work looks like so I can pinpoint the issues they’re running into, and then help solve them. Before COVID I was on the road a lot with our sales team, meeting members in person. Right now, that’s happening over Zoom, in the form of customer interviews together with our UX designer.

    I’m the voice of the customer within the business and I have to know exactly what they need – which is the goal of any Product Owner. Only then can I bring those insights back to the development team I work with daily so we can brainstorm and come up with the best solutions.


    It sounds like you’ve really adapted to the current situation

    Yeah, we all have, and as a business, we’re making it work. Alongside Zoom, we’ve been using several digital tools to reach out to our members, such as Intercom. This lets us deliver outbound communications through our products and has also helped automate the process of gathering customer feedback in a more streamlined way.


    And for customers, how are things looking for them?

    We’re seeing a lot of charter requests flowing through our system, that’s for sure. But we can also feel that operators are overwhelmed by the number of requests and the challenge of identifying the most relevant ones.

    There are many requests from new brokers who maybe don’t really understand what they’re requesting. The question for operators is how to efficiently and effectively respond to those that bring in business. And that’s a question we need to help answer.


    I also wanted to ask how life at Avinode compares to life working in France.

    When I first joined – coming from a big, traditional company in France – it was a huge culture shock. In a good way! What struck me most is the freedom that Noders enjoy. I love that there’s no micro-management. We’re free to organise our daily work the way we want.

    I also thrive in an environment where I’m expected to step up and bring new ideas to the table. We’re given the chance to shine and express ourselves, which is awesome.


    And for someone with a spirit of adventure, you must miss traveling

    I really do. I miss meeting customers face-to-face because that’s when you get genuine feedback, and you really understand what your job is. I also can’t wait to get back to Geneva for trade shows there and to re-connect with my US colleagues. Hopefully, it will happen again soon.