Stefanie Brandt-Tallqvist // June 10 2020
The Rabbit Hole
Two years ago I decided to take the leap and jump into the rabbit hole, not knowing what would be on the other side. I landed in the wonderland of Digitalist and I have not regretted that decision once. I’m used to being thrown in at the deep end of the pool, so being publicly announced at a company All Hands, was no biggie even though I was very aware that there were people all over our global offices watching. My first task in the first few months was to map and connect us to my network of family businesses. Family businesses often need help to make the digital leap and since I’ve been on the buyer side of digitalization before, I know their pain points quite well.
However, my previous work in company culture and values, and my passion for it took me on a new path a few months after I started, taking on the task of Head of Employee Experience. I was thrilled to manage my own team and be able to extend my network within the company to reach everyone in our offices. I grew extremely fond of so many people. It keeps amazing me how talented they are, and the humility they possess. Some even have many hidden skills they practice in their free time, and I emphasis on the word “Skills”. One is a top-class magician, the other draws comic books, the third plays the saxophone on pro-level, the fourth has a passion for Christmas traditions and the fifth kicks ass at Taekwondo and on it goes, every single one is exploring their passions, dreams, wants, and I’ve been privileged to be inspired by them! For some reason, the passion for karaoke is strong in our office and even I started singing karaoke, I’m not the songbird in our family but I still found it fun!
One of the first things I noticed is that there exists a healthy curiosity towards other people, the world, trends, and news. People are so friendly when I started and wanted to know everything there is about me, they also happily introduced me to themselves and to others. It made me feel very welcome and included.
Over the course of two years, I have seen an incredible amount of resilience. Digitalist are highly skilled professionals who can operate under any conditions, always delivering, even on a tight schedule. Any glitch that comes along is tackled with composure and sensibility. People are very professional towards each other and treat everyone with respect. One of the most highly valued areas in our employee experience data is the colleagues and the fact that you can be entirely yourself at work. No one needs to fake anything, and all skills are valued.
Alice returns from Wonderland, and the kids of Narnia periodically return to their world as well, and so it is time for me to climb out from Digitalists wonderland and continue on the next adventure, which I’m sure will open new rabbit holes for me to jump into. I still want to take the time and look back on the highlights, which are shining bright in my mind. I’ve learned an incredible amount about communication, leadership, goal setting, trust, courage, diversity and inclusivity, culture and the development of it, and teamwork. The list goes on. Since it’s never about what people say, it is always about how they make you feel, so this is where my trip down memory lane takes me.
The first thing is the many smiles and the laughter we have had together. The breakfasts, the after works, the friendly banter, and the high fives all around. The feeling of being 100% supported by your team and your fellow leaders. The feeling of empathy and compassion when it was needed the most, the hugs, the tap on the shoulder, the secret notes put on my desk to root for me. The moments when I’ve felt excited to learn new things, having been surrounded by people far more intelligent than me at their own expertise. The passion that people have for their work and their company. The times I was challenged to push harder, do better and more than ever before and coming out as a champion. The feeling of gratitude for the feedback I’ve received so I’ve been able to grow as a leader and a person. Last, but yet most importantly, the gratitude for all the connections I’ve made, to so many new true friends, that will stay with me. Alice had a caterpillar friend called Absolem, that travelled with her in both wonderland and the real world. My friends at Digitalist will be my Absolems, my connection to the company that gave me that much.