This is part of our initiative featuring the women of Tempo, where we tell their stories and learn more about the paths that have led them to where they are now, and to see what they think about the future of tech — and for women in tech, generally.
When I got the opportunity to test my PR education and skills at Tempo, I was again quite nervous as this field was unknown to me. The anxiety soon disappeared as I realized that there was nothing to fear, as the industry is full of opportunities and interesting angles.
She's been around the world with Björk playing the French Horn, studied in three countries, and now a PR Communications Specialist at Tempo – next woman of Tempo is Særún. The name is hard to pronounce for non-Icelanders but her name means “secrets of the ocean”. Særún is known for her jokes and attractive personality here at Tempo. You will probably find her in the gym these days mastering workouts like the Vikings did back in the days, breaking in her new hiking boots, or planning which music festival she will attend next. Let's get to know Særún a bit better.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm Særún Ósk Pálmadóttir - not the easiest name out there. At the moment I am 29 years old and a PR Communications Specialist at Tempo where my assignments range from classical PR to internal staff newsletters inside Tempo.
Previous experience (study and career path) and how you ended up at Tempo?
A few years ago I had to decide if I wanted to pursue my career as a French Horn player, having toured with Iceland's most famous elf, Björk, for 18 months many many years ago. At the end I chose the safer path in life, enrolled in Reykjavík University in Business Administration and sadly ended up leaving the instrument in its case. Then it was time to do something useful and I decided to follow my dream of studying abroad and specializing in something new and different. The field of public relations hit the jackpot as well as an M.Sc. program in Strategic Public Relations at both Lund University in Sweden and University of Stirling in Scotland. One university simply wasn't enough. After I handed in my thesis in May 2015, I grabbed a summer internship position in Tempo’s marketing department and begged to stay after the summer. So here I am and loving it.
What are your interests and what do you do for fun?
First and foremost, I am a lover of music and laughter and those things fit perfectly together. I recently stopped hating the gym so now it's one of my favorite go-to places to both vent and relax. Having traveled the world for a while I simply can't get enough of seeing new and exotic places and meet new people.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wasn't a very ambitious kid and always wanted to work at a candy store to be able to get free candy. I'm quite happy I didn't end up in that profession.
What were your earliest interactions (memories) with technology?
I guess it's when I got my first digital watch. At that time, G-Shock watches were the bomb but I couldn't afford one. So I bought a C-Shock watch.
My favorite part about working in IT is that there is always something new going on and the industry is constantly changing, improving and growing. The B2B aspect is also quite different from what I'm used to, especially when it comes to PR activities. At the same time I learn new things all the time and get the opportunity to evolve and follow the rhythm of the field in general.
What is an average workday like for you?
As a PR enthusiast I have to do my daily media and press routine as it is important to see and know what's going on in the business and tech world, both locally and internationally. My co-workers probably think I'm only browsing the gossip but I'm not! Then the rest of the day evolves around tasks linked to Tempo's PR initiatives, research and other fun things.
What was your first job?
My first job was on the other hand very ambitious - taking care of small kids during the summer when I was eleven years old. That was sort of the only thing you could do in those days. For the small amount I earned that summer I bought a really crappy tent and Adidas sweat pants.
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've found tech and software intriguing for a long time but was always a bit afraid of trying it out. During my bachelor studies we were given the opportunity to study Business Administration emphasizing Computer Science but that route looked quite scary, also because few students went for it, let alone girls. When I got the opportunity to test my PR education and skills at Tempo, I was again quite nervous as this field was unknown to me. The anxiety soon disappeared as I realized that there was nothing to fear, as the industry is full of opportunities and interesting angles.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
How it's constantly changing and I learn new things every day. My co-workers are also not so bad :)
Overall, how do you think things are for women working in tech right now?
Up-and-coming - especially in Iceland, thanks to our independent and determined Viking women.
What is your biggest success up until now, career-wise?
Sadly, my career is too short to be able to pinpoint something specific but of course it's my goal to have a good answer to that question later in life. Probably when I'm grey and wrinkly. You ain't seen nothing yet!
Aside from technical skills, what other skills do you feel are important to have if a woman is interested in working in technology?
Again, presumably the same skills as men. But we probably have to be a little bit more determined so that we are heard and appreciated.
What advice would you give to others interested in pursuing a career in tech?
Don't be afraid. Tech doesn't bite.
How do you see the future of women in tech?
Hopefully bright, colorful, and busy - filled with glitter, confetti and unicorns.
The best part of waking up is?
Knowing that I can go to sleep again and wake up again. Hopefully.
Thank you Særún for your time. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from the women of Tempo!