Jana – a mentor with a clear vision and the soul of a race car driver

As a 6-year-old, Jana stood by the school door on 1 September and was not scared at all. If anything, she was curious and excited. She felt reassured stepping inside the schoolhouse holding her mother’s hand as her mother was a teacher and had taken Jana with her before. This sense of security is something Jana passes on to each one of her students at Solis BioDyne – the key to success is the will to work, curiosity, a steady hand, working habit, order and precision.

Growing up in the scenic Valga County and attending Pühajärve Basic School, Jana’s childhood memories relate closely to nature and spending time outdoors. She was fascinated by it and loved being in nature. Whenever she found an insect, she flipped it onto its back to determine whether it was male or female. Instead of smart devices and computers, Jana’s days were filled with cycling, reading, playing outside and walking in the woods. Her interest in nature comes from her father, with whom she would take long walks in the wilderness, listen to the sounds of the great outdoors and interact with all things wild. Even though Jana says her father did not tell her directly that she should study biology, he certainly taught her the basics when it comes to respecting and valuing nature.

It was Jana’s mother, a teacher, who taught her to be diligent and at whose direction Jana started to pursue an academic degree to balance her love of nature. Perhaps her mother is the reason Jana always had her homework done and all her workbook assignments written out in neat handwriting. Her love for order and punctuality remains characteristic of Jana to this day. When Jana’s biology teacher at Otepää High School mentioned that a new speciality – gene technology – had been opened in the University of Tartu, she immediately wrote it down in her biology notebook. It seemed such an exciting prospect and became Jana’s dream. After completing her high school studies, Jana also had an opening at Tallinn University of Technology, but the University of Tartu Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology was higher on her list of priorities. As is the case with many students, her university years marked a period of independence – meeting new people, going to lectures, making friends and going out, adapting to life in Tartu and putting her knowledge to the test during examinations. Nevertheless, Jana, known for her orderliness and ambition, felt that Master's studies were a natural continuation of her path and successfully defended her thesis ‘Phylogeography of Y chromosome haplogroups E and R1b’. In addition to academic knowledge, Jana learned at university that laboratory work requires practice, a steady hand, confidence and a curious mind. These are the properties she now encourages every new employee to look for in themselves.

In the last months of her Master’s studies, Jana stumbled on Solis BioDyne OÜ’s job ad for a technology specialist and decided to apply. She jokingly points out that her first memory of Solis BioDyne is the large green velvet sofa she was seated on during her work interview with company directors Agu Artma and Olev Kahre. After successfully defending her thesis, she got a call from Olev that paved her way to the choices she has made today. “I believe being passionate about your work is important for a long employment relationship; if you lack the drive, having such a stable relationship simply isn’t possible. You also have to be able and willing to grow with the company,” says Jana on the secret to her long career. During her time with Solis BioDyne, she has been able to do just that. “When I first came to work here, there were very few of us. As a result, employees did not have specific areas of responsibility and work was simply divided between the few people that were there. The tasks included the production of bacteria, purification of proteins, bottling/adhesion application, putting together orders, quality control, preparing solutions, market research, product development, implementation of ISO 9001 and purchasing activities. I’m glad to have tried my hand at many processes. It gives me assurance that I’m currently working in the department that best suits me, i.e. in basic production,” says Jana on her development within Solis BioDyne.


Experience with a variety of tasks and being up to date with processes has made Jana a reliable mentor for new employees and she is valued for her knowledge and skills. Even though Jana herself highlights her struggle to find the trust to let go of her students as her biggest challenge; knowing that she has done all she can and believing that the student can manage on their own is helpful. Mentorship and support provided to newcomers remain at a very high level at Solis BioDyne. Jana points out that they welcome every new team member with a strong onboarding programme, support them as they settle in and try to find challenges for newcomers that match their potential. “Lifelong learning continues in Solis BioDyne; people grow with the company,” says Jana.

When it comes to balancing her work life, Jana enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is a mother to two wonderful children and finds the time to keep tabs on their daily activities and hobbies. It is not uncommon to see Jana rooting for her daughter by the arena during horse riding lessons. Jana’s friends often make fun of how she has carried over to her friendships the punctuality she is known for in a laboratory setting. ‘Promise only what you can deliver’ is a principle Jana holds dear to her heart and she always tries to deliver on her promises. Jana admits that she would often like to spend more time in the company of her friends and do things together, provided she has the time and opportunity. However, if that is not an option, grabbing an interesting biography book and settling into a hammock to read will do just fine.

Jana is also a big fan of rally. As a small girl, she would go to the rally track by her grandmother’s house to watch the race with her father and uncle. She remains keen on the sport to this day. “Rally is one of my biggest passions in life. I’ve been following the careers of Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja in WCR with great enthusiasm and support. I’m so happy that they were able to fulfil their dream and are now world champions,” says Jana.

She even compares her career at Solis BioDyne to rally, saying there are turns and tracks with different covers, some easier to get through than others. The important thing is to keep your eye on the prize, keep your gears in good order and get along with your co-driver – that is the secret to good teamwork and success.