1-on-1 with NordPass CPO: fostering Nord Security's presence in Berlin
January 20, 2022
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Nord Security team is growing at the speed of light and at the moment, we’re operating in 19 different locations around the globe. One of them is our most recent addition - the newly opened Berlin office. So, to get a little more insight on how life is going at the Berlin team, we talked to Ieva Šoblickaitė, a Chief Product Officer of NordPass. She shared her insights of what’s it like to work in a rapidly expanding multicultural environment, her journey to NordPass company, and the backstage of being CPO. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
The journey to becoming a CPO
First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do at Nord Security?
Of course, so I’m Ieva, and for the last 14 years, I've been studying and working in Germany, 10 of which were spent here in Berlin, the city where I live and work now.
Since the beginning of my career, I've worked with digital products in e-commerce, hospitality, and healthcare. Therefore, I wanted to continue this and further develop my career in tech. So when I got the chance, I joined Nord Security as the CPO of NordPass. I am responsible for product vision, strategy, innovation, product team set up, quality of their results. And as a long-standing Berlin resident, I am also helping to foster Nord Security's presence in Berlin.
And could you get us through your day, and what are the tasks that you usually tackle?
Sure! Well, since the majority of my team works in Vilnius, my job is mainly about coordination and people management. Put this together, and voilà, you get to spend most of your day in conference calls. However, that's not the only thing I do, and the tasks I carry out are highly variable, e.g., there was a lot of work recently in planning the new quarter and its communication, reviewing our product teams' organizational processes, and preparing the transition plan for a new model.
Let’s talk about your position - CPO - what skills do you have to foster to keep the focus on the company’s goals? Do you invest in your professional growth?
Among the skills that I foster, I'd mention strategic planning, team organization, scaling, motivation, project management, innovation, stakeholder relationships, and communication. Of course, there are way more skills needed for this position, but the ones I've listed here are the key ones. Also, I try to keep my fingers on the pulse and improve professionally by reading books and articles or watching work-related videos. Moreover, I often reach out to my ex-colleagues and friends working on the same product for tips - they are my greatest inspiration.
Could you share a little bit of your back story - how did you learn about our company, and how did you get here?
I've always been following and rooting for the Lithuanian startup scene. I even used some of our products for years - for example, NordVPN. Since many Lithuanian entrepreneurs come to Berlin to network and get inspired, at one of the events, I met NordPass' CEO, Jonas Karklys. Back then, I had my own company, so we had a lot to talk about and best practices to exchange. However, there came a time, when life forced me to change my career plans. Therefore, at the moment I decided to change my job, Nord Security opened an office in Berlin, so joining the company materialized as a very natural opportunity.
Work in Berlin
Let's talk about Berlin. What's the main difference between people working in Lithuania and Berlin?
Well, the most striking difference I've noticed is that Lithuanians are very ambitious and have a lot of national pride compared to the Berlin startup ecosystem, which is like a crazy cultural melting pot where no nation is overrepresented. Fun fact, meeting an actual Berliner is as rare as spotting a solar eclipse, and many international startups opened here in Germany don't even have that many German employees. Considering things that matter most for people working here, I'd like to point out such topics as diversity, intercultural communication, and tolerance as well as complaining about the rising rental prices and other ex-pat troubles.
You’ve joined Nord Security not that long ago. So far, what is your impression of the team?
My impression of the team is great! I'm happy that it's constantly growing, which is both fun and challenging as we need to find ways to effectively work in a constantly expanding team. I also love that there's a bunch of very motivated and hard-working professionals who inspire me to follow their lead. Finally, there is this one outstanding feature that is unique for the Lithuanians who work here, and I can't fail to mention - they use these weird Lithuenglish terms like "let's common", which is so contagious that eventually everyone is starting to say so.
What would you say is going to be the biggest challenge for the NordPass team in Berlin in 2022, and how do you plan to overcome it?
To tighten the team relationships here in Berlin, and not only in NordPass but in Nord Security as a whole. There’s no secret that due to the pandemic, a lot of people are working remotely, and since it has become a preferred modus operandi for many, we'd love to get people back to the office by organizing some cool events, perks, and team-building activities to boost team spirit, community feeling, and colleague relationships. After all, we spend most of our time at work and we want to make working at Nord Security as enjoyable as possible.
Also, the Berlin team is growing fast and will grow even more, so what specialists are you currently looking for?
Oh yes! We are looking for teammates all across the board in product and development: Product Managers, Engineering Managers, PHP developers, etc. Check out our careers page and filter by location to see all openings!
Any advice you’d like to give to people looking to join Nord Security in Berlin or other offices?
I'll tell you a secret, learn the names of Lithuanian basketball legends, and casually mention them during the interview. Even if it doesn't improve your chances of getting a job here, it will definitely make the interview more fun and you - more memorable. Otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary - learn about the company, understand what role you’re applying for, and investigate the cybersecurity market to know what you're in for - we are looking for people who are just as excited to work in cybersecurity as we are.