Faces of Dörren: Sandra Fernández – Columbia Road

Sandra Fernández is one of the Door Openers who found Dörren through her employer. She works as a designer at Columbia Road and registered to Dörren as the networking concept was included in the company’s  “Good impact program”. To her, it has been very motivating to work for an employer that cares about bringing value to society.

When Dörren approached Columbia Road at the beginning of 2021 we were glad to hear about the company’s Good impact program. In short, the program enables the staff to contribute to initiatives with a non-profit impact that are close to the employees’ hearts and minds. It could be any initiative that has a good impact on society and they are often provided by non-governmental organisations or other actors that have partnered up with Columbia Road. 

Dörren was soon put “on the list” and shortly after that Sandra was one of the Columbia Road people to try it out.

I think I first learned about the Good Impact program when I was interviewing for Columbia Road and I thought it was a great thing. Contributing to society becomes a natural part of your job. It is motivating that your company cares about bringing value to society and not only to its own business. It allows you to spend time doing something that makes you and others feel good.

Sandra specialized in audiovisual  production and design back in Spain but came to Finland to help her friend launch the Fox and National Geographic channels in the Nordics. This was nine years ago and since then she has had several different jobs in her new home country. Today, she works as a designer at Columbia Road with a broad role that includes consulting services. When she heard about Dörren she was eager to try it out and also kept in mind that the person she meets could even potentially be a future colleague.

I signed up to Dörren since I have had so many friends who have struggled to get a job that matches their competence level even though they have careers prior to coming to Finland. I wanted to help others to connect with someone as getting contacts here is what helped me to find new job opportunities.

As most pairs during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sandra and her match held their Dörren meeting in an online call, which turned out to be fun and relaxed. They talked about the international professional’s background and experiences so far and from there tried to figure out how he could move forward. Sandra also shared her story and how she managed to land the Columbia Road position. During the discussion they realized that their paths were only one small step apart, which made it easy to connect. 

We discussed where he could apply, who he could be in touch with and which companies could be suitable. We also talked about the differences in the work cultures between Finland and our countries of origin.”  

After the meeting, Sandra wanted to get the word out about her new contact to potentially generate new relevant connections to him by sharing a post about the Dörren experience and her new contact on LinkedIn. It proved to be a successful recipe.

The post I made on LinkedIn became my post with the highest engagement so far. People liked the idea and one person also commented that they heard about the international professional through another person and now wanted to get in contact with him. I don’t know how things ended, but it was interesting to be part of the process!

Based on her experience, Sandra encourages others who have had their Dörren meetings to try out LinkedIn as well. Highlighting another person’s profile by sharing can already give a lift and help a bit. Even if your audience is small, like in Sandra’s case, it can still potentially open an opportunity.

I would also like to add that one should not see this networking as a task. It is a friendly call. Being stuck at home it was very nice to be able to meet new people also during these times and you never know, you could even find a future colleague.