Heidi is an Executive Assistant and Analyst in Rouse’s London office, primarily engaged in the management and support of global IP enforcement programmes for a number of multinational clients.
In one sense that well-known expression “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” doesn’t apply to Heidi at all, given that she grew up in Viljandi, a town in southern Estonia where her parents still live, and now lives and works in the UK . But geographical distance isn’t everything and in another sense the expression is entirely apt. Heidi talks about being in awe of her father and the qualities that have enabled him to build a very successful business in Estonia. They happen to be the very qualities that have enabled her to establish herself successfully in the UK: a practical intelligence and outgoing personality; loads of energy and enthusiasm; and highly developed organisational skills.
Heidi’s father’s company is involved in sourcing large forestry harvesters from companies in Sweden and Finland for end users in Estonia. He has been doing it for 30years and is now widely known as the ‘go-to guy’ for this equipment in Estonia. He knows every detail of the vehicles he sells and does a lot of maintenance himself. Heidi remembers driving with him when she was a child and all the way he would be talking to clients about maintenance issues. He had become a kind of maintenance guru and his clients had absolute faith in him. He is also a great communicator, whether in Estonian, Russian, Finnish or English, and must have a very good ear for languages: the family of a Finnish school friend of Heidi’s just couldn’t believe he wasn’t Finnish. So it probably shouldn’t be surprising that in the UK everyone just assumes that Heidi is British. She is grateful to have had a sound grounding in English grammar at school, but says that binging on American television shows, like Friends and the Simpsons, really helped her spoken English. These programmes became available in Estonia for the first time when she was about eight and she loved them. Unlike many Europeans, she doesn’t speak English with an American accent, but she obviously has a good ear for languages, like her father, and says that her accent adapts to the situation. In America she would no doubt soon be thought to be American.
Although both Heidi’s parents held responsible positions, her mother was Head Accountant in a government owned highway maintenance company, they did not put any academic pressure on Heidi or her older brother, who is now Operations Manager for Kodasema, the company that produces the tiny award-winning Koda house that is gaining worldwide interest. Having been brought up in the Soviet era, they wanted their children to have the opportunities they had not had, but they placed more importance on social than academic skills.
At school, Heidi excelled in English and Art History and vaguely thought she might go on to do something in the field of art history - but it was just a vague thought. She was amazed that her cousin, at the age of 10, could be so certain she would be a hairdresser –now she is, and has her own salon. When the time came to think about university, Heidi had done well enough to be accepted into a number of courses at Tallinn University, which is located in the centre of Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. She enrolled in Information Systems, but after six months knew it wasn’t for her and decided to leave. Her mother persuaded her to stay until the end of the year, but she left then. A couple of years later, however, she was back, this time to study Politics and she became heavily involved in activism and student politics.
It was the most exhilarating time of her life. She was Vice President of the Students’ Union and involved in the organisation of lots of protests and pickets, not only for students from her university, but also for students from the other universities in Tallinn. She met many politicians and was involved in a wide range of issues from the negotiation of university fees to the establishment of a Children’s Room, where students could leave their children, and briefing architects for the development of a new wing in the university.
In 2013, Heidi came to the UK for the first time, to visit an Estonian school friend. She loved London from the minute she arrived and it wasn’t long before she found a job with a care agency there. Then, after some time, she moved to a marketing company where she was Operations Manager for four years, creating and managing marketing campaigns for events at venues such as the National Theatre and the Barbican. Her responsibilities continued to grow until she was working just about every weekend and felt she was doing the work of three people for one person’s salary. It was 2018 and time to move on.
She consulted a recruitment agency and was interviewed for two positions – one was a one-year maternity cover position at Rouse, the other an interesting and lucrative position with an investment fund and asset management company that focused on emerging markets. She was on her way to a third interview with that company when she received an offer from Rouse. Although the position would be for only one year, and the salary was lower, she instinctively felt it would be a better fit for her – and her instinct was right. She has just celebrated her fifth anniversary at Rouse. Her position with the firm has changed and developed over the years and now she works primarily with CHORUS, the software developed by Rouse to give clients ready access to the data that is necessary for the implementation of successful enforcement campaigns.
Heidi now lives with her English partner and their recently acquired and much loved puppy, Max, in a small village in Wiltshire, half an hour’s drive from Salisbury. The move from London became necessary when her partner’s work took him to Wiltshire, and she was both amazed at, and enormously grateful for, the support she received from Rouse. For her it was yet another confirmation of just how wise she had been, five years ago, to follow her instinct and accept the position with Rouse. She is pleased that the current arrangement is working so well: her team now meets in the office once every three weeks and is, she believes, more productive than ever.