Minna Ilmén, project manager

As a starting point for the year 2022, I talked with Minna Ilmén, project manager at Eduix for 3 years now. It was a relaxing and fun conversation. This time, we travel to Akaa, a small village about 50km south from Tampere where Minna lives. She described her house as a small, cozy and old place in the middle of the woods, where she lives with her husband and two cats.

Akaa, where Minna lives.

Minna studied Marketing in Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. When she finished her studies in the late 90s, she worked in some tourism projects. “It was quite fun time”. At some point, she started an internship in a business development company focusing on digital services for a few months, and later she got the job as project manager, continuing in the software business for about 20 years now.

During this time, Minna has been an entrepreneur for almost 10 years, when she was a partner of a company and, in her words, “did a whole bunch of stuff there”. However, for a series of reasons, she left her career as an entrepreneur and worked on an accounting company for a couple of years. But ”there’s no business like software business” and she started working at Eduix since 2018 as a project manager.

Working at Eduix

At Eduix, Minna has coordinated different types of projects. During last Fall, in 2021, many of these projects were about developing new edtech solutions, such as Sustainable Me. It was easy to feel Minna’s excitement while she was talking about developing new products and services. She said that she was very proud of the work done during this year, because she got things done. And she attributes this success thanks to the work of the software engineers and developers of Eduix. In her own words, “I’m very happy and grateful to be able to work with those experts who are doing the coding. They’re very highly knowledgeable guys, it’s nice to follow up what they’re getting done.”

Another new project she has developed during last Fall was a free and openly accessible search mechanism for courses: Eduplan Ella. With this mechanism, students, professionals and lifelong learners interested in developing new skills can find courses that match what they are interested in and start their new learning journey.

Minna loves to develop new things and, most importantly, get things done. “We develop a solution, customer takes it on production, it works fine. And when a customer says excellent, this is a very helpful service for us, that is what is most exciting about this job. To be able to ease customer’s daily tasks.” She enjoys the rush of the working process, especially when a difficult deadline is approaching. Despite the stress and busy time, she has so much fun to live the excitement of getting things done, make the service available online and receive a positive feedback from the customers. In her own words, “even though someone might say that it’s awful because of huge pressure, and we need to go over a day because of a deadline, I like it.”

What the future holds

From Minna’s point of view, it’d be really nice if Eduix continues developing these new services and technologies of its own and it would be nice to follow up those projects and their progress. She’d like to see new products, but also continue developing the edtech solutions we already have to attend customers’ need even more. In her opinion, it’s also important to find new customers for the services we already have, as long as they match with their needs and we continue open to develop the products and services accordingly.

“The case is that our products are developed from the customer point of view. I sit down with them and ask how the service is working, what is functioning great and what they would like to improve. The discussion with the customers is so important and is one point why these new services have been so successful. In addition, there are no bugs from our services, because they’re really good quality and customers really want to use them.”

How we do in Finland

It was such a surprise when Minna told me that for over 20 years, a big part of her life has been horses, including her own horse: Sepe.

Minna’s horse, Sepe

She told me with such a happy tone in her voice that she wandered for so many years with Sepe around Finnish nature. They have run together, speeding fast and enjoying the change of scenery during their paths. And they have wandered all year round, be it summer or winter. She told me, she actually doesn’t enjoy the indoor horse riding, in which you stay and ride around a hall. No, her style was more running fast with Sepe and enjoying the nature. That was her best way to distress from work.

Unfortunately, Sepe passed away this summer. And despite the sadness of Minna parting her way with her beloved companion, she looks ahead with joy. Now, she has a lot of free time and she’s still exploring what to do. She has been swimming, arranging the garden, fixing the house, and of course, wandering in the forests nearby. This time, now, she’s walking by herself or with her skis.

Akaa picture sources:

https://www.freecountrymaps.com/map/towns/finland/164608757/ and