International Day of the Girl – Dare to try new things

To recognize International Day of the Girl, we’re celebrating the achievements of young women at Electrolux. In the first in the series, we hear from Senior Innovation Engineer Hanna Nykänen who aims to ‘find out how to preserve the snaps in sugar snaps for longer’.

You work as a food scientist for Electrolux. Tell us how you got here and what attracted you to food science

I have always been interested in food and cooking – this has been my red thread through my choices of education and work. Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects in school so therefore studying food science at university became a perfect match for me. After finishing university I was working as a chef for a while, to get more hands on experience of food and to learn more about cooking.

What are you most proud of working for as a food scientist at Electrolux?

You might not think about it but food science is a critical role at Electrolux. We can’t launch a new fridge that doesn’t preserve food correctly. I like to explain it that I want to ‘help preserve the snaps in sugar snaps for longer’. What that means is I study how food reacts to our cooling technologies to make sure any product we launch on the market keeps food fresh and tasty. I’m asked many different questions related to food and I feel proud to be an expert in my field.

Do you ever feel you’ve been taken less seriously as a woman in your role and how have you overcome that?

I try not to think of myself as different, even if I’m in a male-dominated environment. I try to take space and make my points heard – I’m here because for what I’m good at, not because of who I am.

Who do you look up to?

I get inspired by strong women that stand up for their point and empower other people. I look up to people who take action on something they believe in, even if it means that they get a lot of enemies. Luckily there are many of those people out there today.

What is your super power?

I’m fast and energetic

What career tip would you give your younger self?

Say yes to everything and dare to try new things, don’t feel stuck in a certain “career path” or in “doing the right thing”. You need to do the things that you like and that gives you energy, otherwise you will not use your full capacity in the things you do.

What advice would you give girls looking to take their first step on the career ladder?

Don’t be afraid to apply for a position where you don’t match the job description 100 %. You will learn new things at the job and this will expand your future opportunities.

Tell us something about your world outside of work

I have a Costal Yachtmaster Diploma, required to master pleasure yachts with a length of more than 12 meters.