Category Archive: The Noders

  1. Elisa Diener – What it means to be the crucial first point of contact for our Paynode customers.

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    Hi Elisa. As Customer Success Manager Payments, tell us a little about a day
    in your life at Avinode.

    Firstly, I always grab a coffee before doing anything – I love that first cup in the
    morning. Then, as my role is to build relationships with our customers, it means
    getting the newly activated Paynode members onboarded and comfortable with the
    system. For the members that already are active on Paynode, I’m the main point of
    contact for any questions or issues they may have.

    I may find myself onboarding a new Paynode client, which entails setting them up,
    taking them through how the system works and answering their questions. I tend to
    make the session conversational; a two-way dialogue rather than me just demoing it.
    That way they can understand how Paynode can meet their specific business
    needs.

    Each day I also work closely with the account managers, and we talk a lot to ensure
    we have a proper alignment with our customers.
    Then there’s the regular day-to-day support queries that come my way. A user may
    be having a payment hiccup or need help with the system. I make sure I’m on top of
    those questions straight away.


    That speed of response must be very important in your role

    Absolutely. It’s vital that when a customer reaches out for support, I respond quickly.
    Even if I don’t have an answer right away, they need to feel they’ve been heard. Part
    of this is also listening to their feedback on how we can make Paynode and our
    service even better. We’ve implemented some of the suggestions from customers
    into the product, which is nice.


    You have a banking background I believe

    That’s right, I spent about 16 years in the banking world. I studied Business
    Administration with a Major in Finance at the University of Texas El Paso. I went
    there on a tennis scholarship, and it was quite a culture shock to go from Sweden to
    living in the US right by the Mexican border, but I loved it.

    After graduating I spent one semester as a volunteer assistant coach with the tennis
    team, then I went to work at Morgan Stanley as a Financial Advisor Trainee. From
    there I moved to Chicago to work at Merrill Lynch.


    And then you moved back to Sweden

    Yes, I returned in 2009 to join SEB, one of the largest banks in Sweden. But there
    came a time when I wanted to try something new and put my experience to use
    elsewhere. When I found Avinode and this role, I knew it would be a perfect fit for
    me.


    That must have been a big change in culture for you

    The culture at Avinode is certainly very different, but for the better.
    For a start, it’s easier to make a positive impact in your work. In a smaller group,
    your voice gets heard. You can sometimes get lost in a huge corporation, and there
    are so many layers of hierarchy.

    But here, it’s a flat structure and an open environment where everyone is
    encouraged to speak and contribute. You get to know everyone, all the way up to
    the CEO, and I like that.


    What would you say is the best aspect of your role?

    I just really love the interaction with colleagues and customers. The Avinode team is
    a fun group to work with and we have great social gatherings.

    As for my customers, they’re all over the world. Zoom calls work well but meeting
    face-to-face makes a big difference. I’ve been to London and Geneva and met
    customers in person and that’s always great. I look forward to doing more of that.


    And finally, do you still play tennis?

    No, I don’t play anymore. I was getting too frustrated with how I play today
    compared with how I played when I was twenty. But I do play paddle tennis with
    some colleagues, which is a lot of fun. And then there’s a lot of basketball these
    days instead, supporting my two daughters and my husband who coaches.

    I do, however, work out every morning before I start my workday. That’s my morning
    routine, the gym, then coffee. Then I’m ready to go.


  2. Jake Leggett – Setting customers on the right path to getting the most out of Schedaero

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    You’ve been with the business since January 2022, Jake. How have you found it?

    I’m really enjoying it. There’s a great culture here, which is one of the main reasons why I
    joined Avinode. I had a good feeling during the interview process that this would be a
    supportive place to work and that’s definitely been the case.

    In my previous role, I was the first remote worker in the company, so there wasn’t a lot of
    support for me. But Avinode has totally committed to remote working, which has made it very
    easy to integrate. From day one I had all the equipment I needed to work and connect with
    my colleagues.


    Is this your first role in the aviation industry?

    Yes, it is. Previously, I worked in the retail sector. I got into the customer success side of
    tech straight out of college before moving into the marketing side of things. So, although I
    had no aviation experience, I know all about the customer.


    As a Customer Activation Marketer, what does a typical day entail?

    The majority of my time is spent building automated journeys that help onboard
    customers and get them engaged with our products.

    There’s an extended team that I work closely with – the customer success managers, the
    account managers, and others – to gather and implement customer feedback. The goal is to
    find ways to better educate customers and help them make the most of Schedaero so issues
    don’t arise.


    And you work solely on Schedaero?

    Not exclusively, no. My core role is around Schedaero but I occasionally support the other
    teams with their marketing operations. That can include helping set up or review their
    automated journeys or getting customers into lists that we need to send to.


    You’re based in the US, but a lot of your colleagues are in Sweden

    That’s right. I’m in Ohio and we’re six hours apart, but we just make it work. We get plenty of
    time to connect and get to know each other. I’ll get out to Sweden soon enough though. With
    some of the new travel plans that are coming I can’t wait to meet the team in person.


    Ohio is a beautiful place. What do you like to do outside of work?

    My partner and I have a young son, so he keeps us pretty busy. But we love hiking and bike
    rides, and enjoying the nature around Ohio – there are lots of trails and national parks to
    explore.

    I really enjoy doing things around the house too. I always have a project on the go and you’ll
    find me outside, mowing the lawn and things like that. Then there’s my car, a Honda Civic
    SI, which I love modifying. I’ve had it for about two and a half years and it’s a lot different
    now from when I bought it.


    Going back to your role, what is the biggest challenge you face moving forward?

    For Schedaero, we’ve essentially restructured the entire business from the customer
    success side, and the sales side, and I’ve done a lot of different things on the marketing side. So,
    right now, the challenge is how we scale all of that.

    As a team, we have so many ideas for what we’d like to do but because of the way the
    business used to be, we don’t have all the support needed in different areas. But we’re
    getting there. Right now we’re catching up on our tech stack and building more resources for
    our data that will help us better optimize the journeys we have running.

    Basically, the opportunity is to find creative ways to use what we have now to engage
    customers and implement new technology and data to better optimize in the future. Meeting
    those challenges will launch us into a much better spot with our customers.


  3. 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.


  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.