Tiina Sakkos. Creating growth from change

Tiina Sakkos / Chief Culture Officer /  Proekspert

Sincerity and kindness are the qualities that are less and less encountered these days. Yet there is Tiina, whose bright-eyed and kind-hearted state leaves you with a warm and cozy feeling.

In her three years in Proekspert, Tiina Sakkos has had different roles to play, starting with Engineering Excellence Lead to Chief Culture Officer. For Tiina, life is all about constant growth and change. She has grown a lot along her journey and chosen her direction in work as well as in personal life.

Like folklore, the principles of Proekspert working culture have spread through word of mouth. The company has grown rapidly in the past few years so it is needed to find ways how to form this story into something that is transparent and understandable for everyone. “It must become a self-reproducing system that keeps itself alive and working,” says Tiina.

Changing her direction

“What is culture? In short, it answers the questions about who we are, what kind of character the company has, and how we do things,” explains Tiina. In the past, she has led IT development teams with lots of projects, challenging tasks, deadlines – the essence of her work was to create information systems with the teams she managed.

“Now I’m going in a different direction – I am interested in contributing to the organization as it is a living and constantly changing system. I do what I can to create value in this field of work. I believe I am moving in the right direction for myself, and I am so fortunate that the company needs something like this right now,” says Tiina.

In a bossless company, many things happen on an initiative basis. One person initiates an idea, the second one helps to implement it, and the third thinks and contributes to it. This is also how Proekspert Summer BootCamp was born. “The initiative to organize the event came partly from the engineers wanting to train the next generation and partly from the necessity to expand the company,” says Tiina. 

Tiina’s role in BootCamp was to bring together the organizational side: “All kinds of problems occurred during this project, things changed all the time, but in the end, everything worked out for the best. Then I could really feel that worrying and being nervous doesn’t help – having a clear head, and being able to find solutions together with others helps. It was cool for me to do this project with a whole bunch of people who contributed, to a bigger or smaller extent.”

Looking for the answers within herself

But how does Tiina deal with worrying in everyday life?

“I realized already years ago: in complex situations, I need to remind myself that worrying does not bring results. I am practicing the trick of letting go of the need to control everything. Instead, I’ll try to take action and solve as many things as I can and then trust that the rest will fall into place,” explains Tiina. 

For Tiina, Proekspert is a living organism – a company of a new age that lives, develops, changes, and grows all the time. Relationships with other people play a significant role in the functioning of the whole mechanism: “Of course, there are also situations where it is difficult to find a common language with someone. Not everyone thinks the same and does not express themselves in the same words. After all, we are different people. I have chosen to look at it from the bright side: if we all thought exactly alike, we wouldn’t complement each other,” says Tiina. 

“I am not afraid of heated discussions or having a justified opinion. If I argue with someone and realize that I am not right, I admit my mistake, and usually, others do too. Sometimes heated arguments are needed to create a common understanding,” describes Tiina the mindset that has to be a part of a healthy community.

Tiina believes that people are acting based on good intentions. If you believe that, it is easy to go and clarify your thoughts: “This clarification can also be a good reflection to yourself – why do you think this way or why does this person make you frustrated? Usually, we get annoyed or agitated when we have unresolved issues in ourselves, and other people are just the ones who trigger issues of our own. So, when frustrated, ask yourself: what is inside you that needs to be resolved or will make you uneasy again and again?”

3 items that characterize Tiina as a person

  • Notebook – self-development and growth, seminars, courses, workshops; if sometimes she gets lost, the notebook contains a lot that helps her get back on track.
  • Spices – she cooks a lot, also in the office and uses several types of spices – no food gets cooked without them.
  • Headscarf – she wears it while doing yoga and meditating. It symbolizes the mental and physical growth and basic self-care. It is important for Tiina to take care of her body, mind, and soul.
3 items that characterize Tiina as a person

Being the author of her life

Tiina believes that working on finding her true self happens in harmony with understanding the rest of the world. “I think every person has things in their life that create obstacles. Some people are very emotional, some too rational. In my life, I now see that my mind tends to overrule myself. To explain this sentence: I do not think that I am my mind or my thoughts (nor emotions nor my body). I believe that a mind is simply a tool for a human being. We achieve great things by using our minds, but we reach our full potential only if we discipline the mind and use it for the thoughts and actions that we, as human beings, see it should be used for. My current understanding is that controlling my mind is my most important task right now,” explains Tiina.

Tiina practices yoga and meditation daily as it helps her to get closer to herself. “There are people who have never practiced yoga but still see the world as enlightened spiritual beings. I need constant practice to reach myself, but some are just born that way. Many incredible people around me are mentally and spiritually in an interestingly mature state. People who have mastered or are on their way to mastering the secrets of the universe,” says Tiina.

Tiina sees herself as the author of her own life and takes responsibility for her actions, growth, and development. “My own task is to create my stability in this life; my own task is to grow and make the changes using the wisdom available in me and others. This needs an incredible amount of kindness and acceptance towards myself and others.”

What they said:
“Tiina is a person who understands that in order to change the world, you have to change yourself. For example, she spent a week on her own in a complete solitude and quietness to find herself. When Tiina has a goal in which she truly believes, then she puts her entire soul and energy in it and there is nothing that would stop her. If Tiina weren’t a Chief Culture Officer in Proekspert, she would make a really good coach in personal development.”


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