Kadri - passionate polymath and nature lover

There are some people who have 24 hours in a day and then there are some who seem to have a lot more time. A perfect example of this is Kadri, who has been managing to do so many different things, that it seems impossible she has the same amount of time as the rest of us.

As a nature lover Kadri’s favorite memories from childhood are related to the times when people did hay together. In Estonian we name them “heinatalgud”. It was hard work under the hot sun, but it was also fun. She could visit different meadows and different farms and ride at the top of the hay load. She loved being part of the big community and putting her share into it. Kadri also enjoyed the relaxation afterwards: swims and the big party once all the hay was done. Through these experiences she learned what joint effort can achieve and how it can bring people together.

When it came to choosing who to become, Kadri never had a strong will of learning a certain occupation. She took interest in nearly every subject at school and she had several hobbies: rhythm gymnastics, choir singing and acting. There was a time she wanted to become a coach (and did) and there was a time she thought about becoming a photographer. There was probably a time when she wanted to become a conservationist. These were just thoughts, she never dreamt of a certain occupation. She always thought that she would figure it out some time later.  

Something that did catch her interest was science. Already in primary school she showed interest in laws of nature and started asking questions about it. That is why her mother bought her books like “Children’s Encyclopedia on Animals”, “Children’s Encyclopedia of Geography”, “Children’s Encyclopedia of Science”. Kadri really enjoyed these books. There were lots of images and little to read, but they gave her so many answers and a lot of aspects to think about. 

Kadri also liked learning about molecules. It was so interesting how the behavior of substances was explained on a molecular level. Her first chemistry teacher Anneli Lukason was a co-author of textbooks and she made chemistry seem very clear. She also showed and let the students perform simple experiments. She suggested that Kadri start learning at the Science School of Tartu University (back then known as Täppisteaduste kool). It meant that, while she was going to basic school, she was sent some learning materials and exercises from the university by post and later she would send the answers back by post and get feedback together with next exercises. She enjoyed it and kept doing these exercises for several years until the end of school.

Eventually it all led to taking part in National Chemistry Olympiads and she started learning at the Hugo Treffner Gymnasium. There she met various people, both teachers and students, that believed in the power of learning just like she did. Kadri’s belief in science and her hunger for knowledge only grew. She did not think about becoming a scientist or doing a doctoral degree at the end of secondary school. She just knew that she wanted to understand more about biology and chemistry and experience how science is done: to see what is behind the knowledge that we have.

It was also in secondary school where Kadri developed a strong interest in biochemistry and cell biology. She knew that she wanted to know more about it and that she wanted to contribute to this field of science as a highly qualified specialist. She has managed to do that, but also feels that there is so much more to learn and she is still searching for the best possible way for her to contribute to this field.

Right now Kadri works in Solis BioDyne as a technology specialist at the base production team. If you were to ask her what does that exactly mean, then you would be left with a very complicated answer. Simplifying things is just not her thing, as it’s important for her to give the full spectrum. Even if she tries she will lose people at the end of her very first sentence, no joke.

Luckily in Solis BioDyne she has found a community that values and understands her. Kadri likes that everyone here does their work with passion, but also cares about each other and there is no hierarchy: we are all equally important. The management takes time to talk about the current situation and explain their decisions to employees. And the management is always open to questions and discussions. It’s made clear how we are doing and where we are going. Also, it is made clear that the success of the company is dependent on every one of us. In addition, Kadri likes the company-wide events, e.g., summer days or celebrations of little achievements on the way towards the bigger goal. She loves to dance and it was a great bonus for her to find out during Solis BioDyne’s summerdays that there are so many other people at Solis BioDyne who enjoy dancing: we danced the night away.

For Kadri it is also important that we pay attention to the environment. Besides the fact that our products can be shipped at room temperature, we also try to reduce the waste of the production. 
Kadri in the Endla bog
Kadri in the Endla bog.
After 2 and a half years in Solis BioDyne, Kadri has already made lots of memories and learned many good lessons. For example, in the beginning of her career in our lab, she had a little accident and setback. Biggest lesson that came out of that was from one of our owners. It was a day or two later when one of the founders of the company, Olev, came to see her at the laboratory. He came to tell her to not let this mistake take her down; that she should focus on how to ensure that no one else makes the same mistake. He has worked in the lab and knows how these kinds of situations can develop. He was there to make sure that she would come out of this incident stronger and wiser than before. Olev really nailed it since Kadri is terrible at forgiving herself for the mistakes she has made. He taught her a lesson about leadership, about the values of the company and guided her towards growth as a person.

Other great lessons have come from working together with different people in different situations at Solis BioDyne. Besides, the year 2020 and 2021 were the time of big growth for the whole company and everyone had their share in it. However, the base production team grew the most: several people joined the team, new methods were implemented and everybody had to work hard to meet the sudden increase in demand of the proteins that we produce. It all sort of happened and everybody in the base production team just rode the flow as well as they could under the leadership of Angela, who is always positive and has the “can-do attitude”.

Co-workers in Solis BioDyne have only great things to say about Kadri as well. When asked to describe Kadri, this was the collective answer: “There is so much more to Kadri than meets the eye. She is very hardworking, energetic, a great team player and can keep a discussion going about any topic from politics to raising children. She loves to explore processes down to the smallest details and all the specifics. She doesn't just go with the flow, but has a definite goal. When setting a goal and striving for it, Kadri is very determined and resolute. Despite her directness and sharp mind she is cheerful and a nice companion. Her laugh rises above all others, not only because it sounds very pleasant, but because it is so natural and honest. Everything about her is natural, there is no pretense or effort to please others. She is herself. In life she has learned that everyone else around her may not be in such good contact with themselves, that is why she has to use softening filters for the sake of other people's feelings. Kadri herself doesn't tend to look in a crooked mirror. She endures the truth even in its painful aspects.”

What motivates Kadri to keep going and give her best are growth, development and new knowledge. Her biggest challenge has been to get over her need to excel. You might think it’s a good feature, but if you combine it with the strong sense of duty (that she has), then it does not always work out the healthy way. In her opinion the need to excel can also inhibit one’s actions, especially when it comes to trying out new things that may be required to really broaden one’s limits. And the latter is something that she always wants to do. She gets anxious if she feels a standstill. To put it straight: it is all about directing the energy.

In the sense of getting over one's fears, Kadri’s biggest achievement has been getting her driving license. In her opinion she is an absent-minded person who was convinced that driving is just not for her. Then again, in the back of her mind she always knew that she just had to do it and so she did. 

In the sense of fulfilling one’s dream, Kadri’s biggest achievement is her year in Australia. She was in secondary school back then and had been wanting to live abroad and experience life in a different natural and cultural environment. She was curious to find out what it is like and how she would cope with it. And suddenly, almost out of the blue, she had the chance to study abroad for a full year! She didn’t even have a cellular phone back then, not to mention the option to do video calls with her family. She was on the other side of the world alone, away from her family for the whole year. It was a year full of lots of experiences, meetings and traveling. She also fulfilled her dream to visit the Great Barrier Reef. That year certainly followed the motto: work hard, play hard.

Now there is nothing more that she wants than traveling. She has not traveled abroad for more than 4 years (day-trips to Riga and Uppsala do not count). Firstly, she would like to go on a hike, possibly to Iceland, and secondly, she would like to travel to the Middle East.

In contrast to her first wish, she would also want to change her everyday habits to reduce her ecological footprint. Actually, she would like to do more, but she hasn’t quite  figured out how - whether by planting trees or building awareness or finding a new way, how to recycle waste. Either way she knows that she needs to contribute more to the well-being of the environment. 

In her free time Kadri enjoys going to nature with her family and doing sports. It is great, if these two are combined. She likes walking, jogging, cross-country skiing, sledging, and ice skating. She also spends a lot of time in the countryside at her child’s grandparents’ places. She used to give dancing lessons (contemporary dance) and sometimes she takes part in different dance projects as a dancer. She also takes pilates classes and if she has to skip them, she does yoga at home. Sometimes she plays badminton with friends: it is good fun. Last year she started to rebuild her reading habit. She also enjoys going to a concert or a dance performance every now and then.

Kadri preforming in the dance preformance "Ritual" at the The Widget Factory festival.

As a life advice to all the readers Kadri has this to say: “We live in a busy world, but don’t forget to slow down every now and then. The most important thoughts and dreams cannot come up if your head is full of daily problems, work, news etc.”

She also thinks that everybody should know that living in the modern world, one cannot help to contribute to the damage of the environment. However, the well-being of the environment cannot come last: we have to bring sustainability in focus of our lives and the economic system. Ecology counts.