Our People Manager: A passionate runner who was instantly smitten with tech

Women of TempoRead in 6 minutes

It’s the beginning of a new year and one of our New Year’s resolutions is to introduce more of our talented Tempo women. The Women of Tempo initiative is very dear to us as it is our wish to tell the stories of our women, what led them to tech, and how they see their future in IT. We hope that their stories motivate other women to give tech a chance and make them believe that anything is possible if you work for it and believe in yourself.

Good communication skills will get you incredibly far, not only working in technology but in life in general. Listen before you talk and realize that it is your responsibility to be understood, not the other way around.

Next up in the Women of Tempo series is Eva, Tempo’s People Manager. Eva has taken on a few roles at Tempo since joining the team early 2015, including the roles of an Agile Coach, Development Manager and her latest post as People Manager. Let’s get a glimpse into Eva’s life and see why she decided to work in tech.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Eva Skarpaas Einarsdóttir. Skarpaas is my mother’s maiden name, that I adopted in her honor a few years ago. I am a 44 year old mother of three. I have two girls, age 4 and 8 and my firstborn, a son, is 17. I am the People Manager at Tempo.

Previous experience and how you ended up at Tempo?
More than 16 years ago, after a few years living the glamorous lifestyle of a flight attendant, I chose to change career paths. I was a single mom at the time and went looking for a job with regular hours and a decent pay. Because of my language skills, I was offered a job as a technical writer for a large Icelandic software company. That was the kick start of my career in IT, which spans more than 16 years now and includes working as a software consultant, a business analyst, a scrum master, a product owner, a master data manager, an agile coach, and a development manager. When offered an opportunity at Tempo, I jumped at it. First as an agile coach, then taking on the role of a development manager, and now serving as Tempo’s People Manager.

What are your interests and what do you do for fun?
I am a passionate long distance runner and I use quite a bit of my free time training with our nation’s best and competing in running races. My favorite runs are long trail runs but I race in distances from 3000 m to ultra marathons. I also did some competitive cycling and triathlons for a few seasons and am seriously thinking about a comeback.

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What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a teacher.

What were your earliest interactions (memories) with technology?
I bought a Mac when I was 25 or so. I used it mostly for communication on the IRC and sending e-mails to the two people I knew that had e-mail accounts.

What is your favorite part about working in IT?
I love the energy, creativity, passion of my colleagues and the general work atmosphere in IT. Continuous learning and adapting to new things rank high on my favorites list.

What is an average workday like for you?
A lot of my time revolves around solving problems and answering questions regarding employee rights and benefits. Finding and recruiting talent and contract work takes up a big chunk of my time as well. On a grander scale, defining employee policies and processes, analyzing salary data, and defining performance review programs are huge tasks and need a lot of my attention. It’s also my responsibility to make sure that our employees have access to the information they need, either by attending our weekly employee meetings or on our People Management site. I consider my most important task to contribute to a healthy, friendly, fair, and positive company morale.

What was your first job?
My first job, at the tender age of twelve, was working for my father who was a contractor. It was hard labour and I didn’t last long my first summer, but that didn’t stop me from going back the next year. I got my first ‘real’ job at 15 as a summer intern at a bank.

Why did you want to work in tech? Was there a particular event or a moment when you decided to pursue a career in the tech industry? Any influencers?
I was instantly smitten when I started working in the software industry and I was fortunate to have a great mentor right from the start. Having a good mentor probably shaped my future career choices the most and we are still good friends today.

What is your favorite thing about your career?
Always having the opportunity to grow and learn, be challenged every day and make a difference.

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Overall, how do you think things are for women working in tech right now?
Women have come a long way and I think the future is bright. I think more and more people understand the value and the importance of input from both genders in decision-making. From a business perspective it is a no-brainer, research shows that companies with women leaders on their management teams generate more profit and are more successful.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in tech?
I never felt my gender was an issue to anyone except perhaps myself. Leaving self-doubt behind me years ago opened a world of opportunities.

What is your biggest success up until now, career-wise?
Having the courage to step up and take on a manager role at Tempo.

Aside from technical skills, what other skills do you feel are important to have if a woman is interested in working in technology?
Good communication skills will get you incredibly far, not only working in technology but in life in general. Listen before you talk and realize that it is your responsibility to be understood, not the other way around. Be the kind of a person you would like to be around and you’re on the right track.

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What advice would you give to others interested in pursuing a career in tech?
Go for it. People in tech have a high tolerance for mistakes, as long as you learn from them.

Who is your hero?
The strong women in my life who have taught me to follow my heart, be courageous, true to myself, and not worry so much about what others think of me. To mention one, it would be my great aunt Berit Ås (born Skarpaas), a remarkable woman, feminist, humanitarian, politician, and so much more. She is recognized as one of the eight most influential people in Norway after World War II. Highly controversial her whole life, fighting impossible battles for justice, but one of the warmest human beings I have had the pleasure to know and love. I encourage you to Google her.

University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
Life experience.

The best part of waking up is?
A brand new day ahead, filled with hugs and laughter from those I love, challenges at work, three double espresso lattés, a peace of mind, and a long run to round it out.

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Thank you Eva for allowing us to take a look into your life in tech. Stay tuned for more from our amazing Tempo women!

If you want to know more about Tempo’s tech ladies, you can take a look at our Women of Tempo series here.

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Saerun is often called Saruman or Sauron and sees it as a compliment. When not being an annoying spin doctor, a.k.a. a PR professional, she likes to find new hobbies and fixations, such as road biking, hiking, and making hummus at least once a week.

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