Images: The seasons as seen from my office window in 2018 (Feb, end of Apr, end of May, Oct); the platforms paid a visit to MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri in Brussels last spring (April 2019); celebrating the first X-mas with InnoLab 2018 (small team then!); and taking my “new” family for the first joint skiing trip in February this year.
This series introduces the members of University of Vaasa’s InnoLab research platform. Today we’re meeting Anna Kietz.
What are you?
I’m divided, in many ways, especially in my work role. I’m also a mother of a boy and a girl, a perfectionist and easily distracted at the same time. I adapt easily to new circumstances but also like to have the life around me organized and with routines.
Your title at InnoLab is project coordinator, but what exactly do you do?
I kind of help out in most situations where help is needed at all the three platforms. Some researchers think I’m the “Know-it-all”, the person that holds all the information they need. I promise: I have not deliberately tried to confuse them!
My work tasks include being the spider in the web that keeps track of what the researchers are doing at the platforms, especially related to project reporting and visibility. I give support in recruiting processes, administrative matters and miscellaneous other tasks. Before corona-time, I also organized lots of events, workshops and meetings – but we’ll see how that looks in the autumn again. Easily said, I’m the easy access person for everybody who is interested in what is going on at the platform!
Sounds like a lot of work. Why bother?
I love to work, meet many people and help out also in the small but special things that matters. Sure, I’m definitely busy with keeping track of three different platforms, platform leaders, tenures and many researchers and projects – but I love the connection and results we can get when we meet up, plan ahead and organize our work towards common goals.
Imagine your phone rings. It’s the call you’ve been hoping for – what is it about?
Yes! It’s a call asking me to take the coordinating role for enhancing and coordinating cooperation in the region to a higher level; with focus on industry driven projects, continuous learning, as well as sustainable environment!
Just kidding, it’s actually a journalist. They’re finally doing a story on that one topic you’ve always wanted to give an interview on! What do you say?
Oh, I’m not so good with journalists, I’m more a doer than a talker. But, to continue on the same theme as my wish-call: I would like to discuss the need of more structured cooperation in the region. Not talk the talk, but walk the walk. We need a possibility to look beyond community borders and higher profit for oneself, and instead focus on the future needs of a society that is long-lasting, environmental friendly and have the correct pace of life for the citizens living in the region. Supporting the local and acting global would be of great importance in post-corona time, now when we would have the chance to build up something more sustainable!
Good job. Too bad you can’t be the resident expert on every topic. What would you like to learn more about?
For my own benefit, I would like to learn more about gardening. Staying at home and looking at the garden has again raised my interest in gardening. This spring is going by trial and error, but it would be nice to be able to build a garden where both people and pollinators enjoy the vegetables, berries and flowers together. Right now, it is the weed that has won the battle in the garden.
Sounds interesting. Is that something I, too, should be concerned about?
For sure, if the next virus wave will be worse or maybe a zombie apocalypse is the next big thing – a self-sufficient garden is crucial 😉
Okay. Now recommend me something – anything!
I recommend you think and act local this summer, and keep your thumbs up for a nice and warm Finnish summer this year.
Any last advice for being both an effective researcher and a happy office worker?
To be a happy office worker you also need to share the joy around you. It’s difficult to be happy in the office when somebody else is struggling, so help each other out and be happy together.
From the perspective of Anna’s colleagues: If Anna was a book, what would she be?
“Fiction book – because she is a good example of it: a fantastic Anna with several roles, available to everyone at any time, extraordinarily helpful and amazingly flexible.”
“An illustrated school book: kind, humorous and approachable – an absolutely crucial foundation to anyone’s academic career!”
“I’m tempted to say she would be a guide book, as she is so knowledgeable on various things, and always helpful and friendly. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not your average copy – Anna is an unique one with grace, elegance and also a fun-loving element.”