Laura Whittaker is based out of Symetri’s Manchester office in the North of England and works four days a week from her home in Accrington, Lancashire. Learn about her experience working at Symetri.
Dare to try new things - Tomas Lindgren
Our values at Symetri are Passion, Teamwork, Courage and Change. We recently finished a project that put all four to the test: Nordic BIM Summit 2021. Not in the least for Tomas Lindgren, who co-hosted the event, something far out of his comfort zone. I interviewed Tomas about his experience at the events and what he learned from taking on this brand-new challenge.
Tomas Lindgren and Maggie Savage hosting Nordic BIM Summit 2021
You have worked for Symetri for many years Tomas, what is your current role?
Right now, I am the team leader for the Swedish construction team and responsible for sales of BIM 360. But I’ve done a bit of everything since I started at Symetri in 2002.
2002, that means it’s your 20-year anniversary next year! You’ve had quite the journey at Symetri in that time, right?
Yes, I’ve been in prefab, construction and Building Services (MEP-Design), worked as a regional manager, team leader, Key Account Manager, and in a lot of customer projects. I often get assigned new customers and products, and I think that’s fun, I enjoy the challenges this brings and I don´t feel that I get stuck in the same old routine.
Speaking of trying new things – how did you get involved in Nordic BIM Summit and end up a host?
I host a monthly webinar series with my colleague Pierre on BIM360 and ACC. It’s usually product updates and features and such. In one episode we had invited Skanska, and their speaker’s PowerPoint did not start. But since I had seen his presentation, I interviewed him instead, on the fly. And some people though that it was good, and I got the question to co-host Nordic BIM Summit after that.
Did you say yes immediately when they asked?
No, I actually took some time to think it over before I said yes. I already had a lot to do, but at the same time I felt that this might be the only chance I have to do something like this, so I had to go for it.
So on the day: what was it like, how did you feel it went?
Super nervous of course. But everyone was positive, the participants were happy and we got some great feedback so that felt great of course! But it was a true mix of fear and excitement for me, I had never worked on that kind of production before.
Any behind the scenes info you could share?
Well, I’ve been on stage a lot on events with an audience in front of me, where you can see them and hear their reactions. But to do this in a TV studio, with no audience, you don’t know where to look, what camera to look at (the whole thing with looking at the camera with the red light is lies - there is no red light!), that was an extremely big difference. You have to really keep on pace with the script. But we had a great moderator, Maggie Savage, who is a BBC correspondent and really professional, so she was a great coach and support.
What would you say was the most challenging about this task?
I like working with customers and doing presentations, but I’m used to having people around me. With a good team I feel secure that I can deliver almost anything. And over the years I´ve been blessed with having such. But in this you felt more solo, so that was a bit different, but it went well.
Looking at what I normally do this was just a small parenthesis, but isn’t it great to have the chance to do this then?
Absolutely! What do you think is the biggest value of trying things outside your expertise?
You grow as a person every time you push your boundaries; I think. And sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s really a question of perspective.
Even if things don’t go perfectly, you still grow. That’s why I think it’s so important to dare to try new things. Whether it’s about standing in front of a TV camera or taking on a new customer or product area that you are not used to - you learn a lot.
And one thing, that I think maybe comes with age, is that you realise you can always make someone happy. For example, with this I felt like, “you know what, they will either laugh with me or at me but either way they are laughing”. I’ve let go of a lot of prestige that I felt when I was younger. You have to do your best and be happy with that, and you can’t be afraid to try things and fail, that hinders the entrepreneurial spirit!
What would you say to others who want to try new things but don’t dare?
Dare! It’s not harder than that. If you want to grow then you have to be curious and open to ideas - and don’t expect anyone else to tell you what the ideas are.
You have to take responsibility for your own growth, both in the company and personally. Be curious about things and have a candid dialogue with your boss about where you want to be and what you want to do. Ask for the things you need to get there.
That’s great advice! So, what do you think will be your next challenge?
Hard to say! Courage and change are core values at Symetri so there’s usually always something new going on. If I need a challenge, I can always get one, and whatever come next I’m sure it will be fun!
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