Meri Lundahl, Teraloop Oy
"Choosing a career is not a serious decision that needs to be right once and for all. At any moment you can back off, turn, twist, jump or adjust a little".
What have you studied and why?
I first studied a Bachelor's degree in Bioinformatics Technology because it combined subjects I liked in high school and the fact that it was difficult to get in and study. I felt both of these were important because I didn't yet know what I wanted to do and I wanted to make sure I liked what I was studying plus that I was in a place that would open as many other doors as possible (or at least not close them). After my Bachelor's degree, I thought more carefully about where I could actually graduate into meaningful work, and switched to a Master's and PhD in Bioproduct Engineering, as the programme was built with the intention of training sustainability experts with good practical skills. In practice, I wanted to be a professional activist with a university degree: someone who really understands the world situation and what is most needed here, but who can also do something concrete, such as finding new materials to replace unsustainable ones. And of course I wanted to continue studying subjects that interested me.
How did you end up as Materials Innovation Officer?
I met a Teraloop representative at Slush and found out that they wanted to use the same type of materials in the product that I was researching in my thesis, but they couldn't afford to hire anyone new. I started exploring possible funding options myself, and together we made a couple of rejected applications, until I received a Postdocs in Companies grant from the KAUTE Foundation, which allowed me to start working as a Materials Innovation Officer. I progressed from there to the management team in just over a year, because from the start I consistently thought beyond my own first project and was active in developing the whole company.
What is the best thing about your job?
The feeling of being needed. The fact that there are things that no one else can do and that I'm really good at. Plus the feeling of being able to immerse yourself in experimenting and analysing something new.
What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?
Those ordinary days when you focus on something small but important and realise there's nowhere else you'd rather be, and remember you're living your dream. Learning over and over again that anything is possible for me if I just systematically put my mind to it.
What are your expectations for the future?
Many new and exciting twists and turns, and the big dream that one day I will be able to count my own handprint and realise, for example, that my career has eliminated more emissions than my life has produced.
For whom is this a suitable career option?
Someone who enjoys working on the latest innovations to make the world a better place.
What greetings would you like to send to a young person considering a career choice?
Choosing a career is not a serious decision that needs to be right once and for all. At any moment you can back off, turn, twist, jump or adjust a little. Each step can be fun, memorable and educational in its own way.