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Linda: The Super Commuter Who Never Stops Searching For A Solution

September 09, 2019 | 4 min. read

Over the past two and a half years working at Digital International, Linda Velter Bremmers has achieved office-wide fame for her daily commute. Right now she works from home like the rest of us, but under normal circumstances she travelled a total of six hours every day from her home in Limburg to work in Hoofddorp, and then back again. That’s about 187 km each way if you’re really keeping track.

Linda’s journey within the office is just as noteworthy. No, she doesn’t scale a mountain to reach her desk. But, within just a few years, her career path has taken her from a DMA (Digital Marketing Automation) Specialist role to PO (Product Owner).

We wanted to know — what did that road look like? And, can anyone else follow her route to success?

First stop: ambition

Linda says she has always been interested in knowing more about human behaviour.

“I am really intrigued by how our brain works and why we make our choices.”

She came to DI with a master’s degree in Human Technology Interaction and previous work as a consultant. Linda was immediately drawn to the culture of the Hoofddorp office.

“I could tell it was somewhere I could learn a lot.” In her previous jobs, Linda was usually the most experienced on her teams. But, now she looked forward to gaining knowledge from her senior-level Digital colleagues.

Linda began doing A/B testing and data analysis within cross-functional teams. Before long, she was promoted to Lead of the Data Insights & Intelligence team.

Throughout all of this chopping and changing, Linda says she was vocal about her true ambition — becoming a Product Owner.

“I liked doing analysis but was keen to solve as well as identify problems. Data is the first step but I wanted to be involved in the whole cycle.”

Detour for development

When Linda returned from a maternity leave she found her team no longer existed. So she took the opportunity to improve her leadership skills to work towards her aim of becoming PO.

“I like to find out what the problem is, why is it happening, and how we can solve it. I also enjoy prioritising which problems to solve to make the customer happy. But I knew I needed to work on my soft skills to put this passion into action ”

She believed she had some professional roadblocks that could keep her from being the effective leader she aspired to be. So, she arranged to be mentored and coached in leadership abilities.

“For me it was a lot about confidence and decision making. It is important for the team to have focus and to know what we should be working on”.

Her professional development hasn’t stopped there. Linda was also recently certified as a professional Scrum Product Owner.

“When I first became a PO, I didn’t receive much formal guidance and I had to find my own way. Having proper coaching into the role makes for an easier path.”

Are we there yet?

Although Linda has now arrived at her goal of becoming a PO, she is nowhere near the end of her journey. These days, Linda says she’s focused on defining her team’s priorities and cutting down their backlog.

“A good product vision helps with that. We need to see things from the customer’s perspective — by knowing what the user wants to achieve, we can effectively gauge our priorities”

She also wants to promote cohesion within her diverse team and make their working life a bit more playful. As she continues to rattle off a long list of to-dos for herself, Linda’s cheerful smile never wavers. It is clear she has landed right where she wants to be.

And, to anyone else who wants the same, she offers this advice: “Make sure you’re vocal about your aspirations. Otherwise, how is anyone going to know? And when the opportunity finally comes, just go for it, throw yourself into the deep end and learn how to do it later.”

Since being interviewed, Linda is now the PO for a brand new team! Will she ever stop?

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