When I was a kid, I loved to read. I remember reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë at a very young age. It was my mom’s book, an old edition from the ‘70s or ‘80s. Because of my passion for reading, I wanted to be a writer back then. I tried to write a few short stories. It was easy for me to build a character, and I knew how I wanted to begin and end my stories, but I could never come up with a decent plot. So, after a few tries I gave up on writing. After that I didn’t know what I wanted to do for many years.

I grew up in Yegorievsk, a town southeast of Moscow. When I was young, I never thought about it, but my best friend lived just opposite Lantmännen Unibake Russia’s production facility. There was always a smell of bread from the bakery when we played at her house. Many years later I graduated from the local university, and I was looking for a job. One day my mother bought a newspaper that I flicked through. I never buy newspapers myself. I only read news online, so I really didn’t pay much attention to it. But then a job advertisement from Lantmännen Unibake caught my attention. I don’t know if it was destiny, the bread gods or what it was. But I thought, ok, I will give it a try, and I ended up getting the job. Today, I have the smell of bread in my nose when I go to work, and it immediately brings back childhood memories.

My first job at Lantmännen Unibake was as an office assistant. After two years I moved to the Logistics and Purchases department where I still work today, in a different position though. My main responsibility is Sales and Operations Planning, S&OP. It covers the short-term, middle-term and long-term planning processes of getting our products into our customers hands by gathering information and coordinating with production, sales, the technical team, the food quality department and so on.

Personally, I’m motivated by seeing results. My experience is that nothing ever runs smoothly and quite as you imagined it. Customers change plans. Technical issues arise. Food quality issues occur. Suppliers of raw materials postpone deliveries. But when we as a team fix the issues, and in the end get the results we want, that feels so satisfying.

Before I started working for Lantmännen Unibake I heard a lot of stories from different people of my age about their first job. How tense and unhealthy the workplace environment could be. So, for my first day at Lantmännen Unibake I showed up with uneasiness and a little bit of fear. But I quickly found out that it wasn’t like that at all. People were nice and very supportive. I remember the feeling of being lucky that I ended up here and not somewhere else. It still feels like Lady Luck was playing on my side.

The best advice I have ever received came from a colleague from HR not long after I started. I had what you could call the ‘good student syndrome’. Every little mistake I made – even the smallest one – frustrated me. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I was worthy of the chance I had been given. But then this colleague said to me, everyone makes mistakes, don’t worry. It’s simple and obvious but sometimes to truly understand something you need to hear it from someone else. I learned to not only accept that everyone makes mistakes, but also that the first thing you need to do when it happens is not to dwell on the feeling but focus on fixing the mistake and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

If the woman, I was when I first started in Lantmännen Unibake, could see the person I am today, I think she would be surprised, almost shocked. The woman back then couldn’t handle what I can easily do nowadays. I’m much more confident and have improved in a lot of ways. It’s not only about how I have developed in a professional way. It’s also about me, and how I have grown up as a person. I’m proud of that, and I think the woman from eight years ago would be too.