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Prönö’s Ella Seppälä: ”Being the first employee is like sitting in the first row on a roller coaster.”

When you’re starting your own business, one of the first exciting events is hiring the first employee. With Ella, everything happened quite fast after the first meeting with the Founder Helene Auramo. The papers were signed within two days, and then she took the bold step of starting work with a company without a website – or anything except big ideas and sharp graphic design guidelines. Below, Ella explains what it feels like being Prönö’s first pick.

What has been the best thing about working at Prönö?

Joining this startup was one of the boldest and best steps I have taken. When I first met Helene, there was no clear plan what Prönö would be, but the idea behind Prönö was so absorbing that I felt I had to make that move. Some might have thought I was a bit crazy, but I’m glad I said YES to Prönö.

When working at Prönö (and with Helene in particular) you can’t avoid all the positive energy, curiosity and enthusiasm in the air. Even for an anti-morning person like me, it is always nice to come to work because you never know what that day will bring. That is one big reason I love working at Prönö. Of course, there are tough days too, but our bad jokes make those days better. Humor is standard equipment in our survival kit.

Photo by Kasperi Kropsu

What have you learnt?

A lot. Being the first employee is like sitting in the first row on a roller coaster. You can really enjoy the speed and the bumpy road in the front, but you still never know what is coming next. Creativity and new skills are truly tested when always searching for fresh ways to tackle the challenges ahead.

I have learned how to start a business from the first idea onward. Over the last several months, platform development has been on our table. Creating a totally new platform right from the beginning has been completely new for me. Being a part of product development from PowerPoint slides and random drafts to real, working tools has been rewarding. This ongoing process has opened totally new areas to think and learn about. I have noticed that even with the simplest idea, there are a million ways to implement it. 

There is still so much to learn, and I’m happy that I have had the opportunity to learn from all the people I have met while working at Prönö. I’m 100% sure Prönö is a place where I will learn skills that I will be utilizing in my future. 

What has been the worst memory?

Corona changed our days, as it did for people in every company. Carrying our screens to our home offices didn’t make me jump for joy. But after a few days, things started to get rolling almost normally. Such a small team – of just two –was pretty easy to handle and organize though 😀 But ultimately, it felt so good when we had the chance to work under the same roof again.

How do you see the future of Prönö?

We dream big at Prönö. There are crazy ideas and slightly less crazy ideas that have been thrown in the air. It is amazing how you can stretch the idea behind Prönö into so many concepts. I can’t wait to see which ones see daylight in the coming years.

In the near future, I see our team growing and new teammates arriving regularly. I hope Prönö can be a place for others to learn and boldly try new things, like it has been for me.  

Photo by Kasperi Kropsu

Do you remember the company values? 

Haha, which ones? I’m pretty sure we have more than 500 PowerPoint slides about Prönö. Not all about values, surely, but during these past months we have reviewed this company from many different angles. We have considered deeply what Prönö really is.

But when we realized the needs Prönö meets, it became easy to define our values: trust, co-creation, long-term success, fair & fresh 

And as an employee, this is how I see each of our values…

Trust

–   Everything we do is based on trust. How we talk to each other, what decisions we make, what we want to offer our customers, and the list goes on. You can only imagine how safe it feels when you know trust is the core guiding principle in your company.

Co-creation

–   Prönö as a company is not only me and Helene. We have various experts in our extended network who have helped Prönö to move forward.
I believe not one of us will ever create the greatest things alone – help and support is always needed.

Long-term success

–   In today’s world you can’t look through short-term lenses. No one can.
Instead, success can be revealed in so many different forms and mean totally different things to different people. But I bet that succeeding – in whatever form that is for you – will be rewarding! 🙂 

Fair & fresh

–   We want to create a new world, and employees are an inseparable part of this co-creation progress. Fresh thoughts are always welcome. Sharp elbows are not how we do it at Prönö. But I’m glad to use that talent on soccer fields, within the rules, of course.

Describe your normal day.

‘Normal’ is not the first word I have in my mind when thinking about my work. As I have said before, there have not yet been two similar days. There are many different hats you have to wear in an early-stage startup, especially when there are only two of us – business developer, product designer, marketing specialist and producer assistant, just to name a few. But that keeps my mind fresh and the ball rolling. Which suits me!

And now it’s time to head to the next un-normal day at the Prönö office!

Ella Seppälä
Growth & Marketing Specialist
Prönö Oy

Psst. Did you get the impression that you might be a good fit for Prönö? Be a Prönö and send us your open application at info@prono.fi.

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