As a fundamental building block in the Finnish start-up ecosystem, one of the things that makes The Shortcut great is its diverse, driven team that prioritises equipping our community with the skills needed to take your career to the next level. As we’re kicking off the new decade here at The Shortcut, we welcome a whole lot of new faces; so why not sit down and have a chat with one of them?
Meet our most recent addition to The Shortcut team: Stefan Cave.
As The Shortcut’s new Talent Development Specialist, this self-proclaimed workaholic works tirelessly to up-skill anyone and everyone that comes through The Shortcut’s doors, encouraging everyone to improve their employability, explore the world of entrepreneurship, and do some networking along the way. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the table!
Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
A Brit who swapped tea for a lot of coffee after moving to Helsinki from London in August 2019. I’ve always enjoyed music, playing both the guitar and piano, hosting my own radio show at university, and attending a surplus of gigs and festivals. Music aside, I am an avid football (that’s soccer) fan. It’s my religion. I support Tottenham Hotspur — the mighty Spurs — and try and play at least twice a week.
Having read that back, I sound quite boring. Can I change my answers?
What’s The Shortcut?
I think it’s different depending on whom you ask. For some, The Shortcut is a place to develop skills — especially tech-related skills — to land their next job at a start-up or a tech company. For others, The Shortcut provides the tools and knowledge to bring a business idea to life. Together, The Shortcut is a strong community of highly skilled working professionals navigating the Finnish job market, and budding entrepreneurs, those willing to think outside of the box.
What excites you about working here?
Endless learning opportunities! The technology industry is changing so rapidly that what was relevant today, might not be tomorrow. Practically this can mean a lot of work, and might not excite everyone. But for me, I see it as a constant opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
How would you define your approach to talent development?
I’d say I look at it rather systematically: where are you now? Where do you want to be? And what do you need to get there? I suppose you could call it The Holy Trinity of talent development.
What does a good working environment mean to you?
For me it means an environment where people feel empowered, feel inspired and feel valued. Work should be a place where you can share your ideas, however small, without prejudice. That’s the empowered part. It should be a place where you are not the smartest in the room. Where you continue to learn and progress. Where you don’t lose motivation because the people around you are not on the same page. That’s the inspired part. And finally it should be a place where you are recognised for all the effort you put in. All the time that you give up. That’s the valued part.
What do you think is the most valuable thing someone could learn working at The Shortcut?
Network, network, network. Then when you’re tired of networking, network again. It’s said that 70% of Finnish jobs are never advertised, meaning that personal networks are invaluable. So what are you waiting for? Come down to The Shortcut HQ and meet some inspiring people.
Could you share your thoughts about the start-up ecosystem in Helsinki, and how would you define the role The Shortcut plays in it?
From what I’ve seen so far, the start-up ecosystem in Helsinki is very progressive. Take Meru Health right here in Maria 01, a company hell-bent on improving mental health solutions. Or Upright, a company that helps larger corporations understand their net impact on society. Both of these focus on tackling the world’s biggest problems first and put monetary profit second. The Shortcut helps companies like these grow, scale and innovate by connecting them with resilient, highly skilled talent.
What are your plans for The Shortcut in the future?
I want to help more people get jobs and I want more people to start their own company. To do this I need to understand what was done before and what we are doing now. Once I’ve done this I can look at ways to improve what we do. But right now I am juggling a few different things: managing our Internship Programme and Python course, developing engaging and relevant public events for later this year, and working on a new product I have dubbed “The Shortcut Career Clinic.” Stay tuned for further details about that.
Tell us about the best day you’ve ever had at work.
Wow. Now you’re asking me to think. Before moving to Helsinki I worked in London for 6 years. My role was very demanding and I worked long hours — I am so happy that people actually finish at 5pm here! The best days were always the ones where I managed to strike the balance just right. This might sound trivial but it would include taking a proper lunch break, having the time to do my work to a high standard, spending part of my day checking in with my Team and then leaving at a reasonable hour.
Some advice to our readers – what’s one thing you’ve learned that you wish you’d known when you got started with your career?
I’ve learned that I’ll be working for a very long time… which might sound depressing at first, but I also think there is another, more positive way of looking at it. It means that you don’t have to have all of the answers right away. You don’t have to commit to a certain career path and stick to it for the rest of your life. You can focus on things that you enjoy doing, rather than what you think is the “right” thing to further your career. We have time to explore and learn. If I had known this earlier, it might have impacted some of the decisions I have made.
Last question: what’s your favourite Finnish word?
Can I give you a sentence instead? Koko kokko kokoon. Not the easiest to back-translate into English but I’ve been reliably informed that it means something like: “gather the whole bonfire.”
By Charlotte Van Hulle – February 8, 2020