Women in tech has been an increasingly popular topic. As female talent in tech industry in general and in tech roles specifically remains scarce, there have been growing calls for more female representation in the talent pool of tech companies. On the occasion of this year’s International Women's Day marking the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world, we would like to foreground our fabulous female colleagues who have all made their footprints in the deep tech industry.
The Comptek team of female tech talent (from top and left):
Marjukka Tuominen, Johanna Laaksonen, Jaycee Lui-Conckova and Anna Selander
Coming from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, Marjukka Tuominen, Johanna Laaksonen, Jaycee Lui-Conckova and Anna Selander are all united by their latest sojourn in Comptek Solutions. As an entirely novel type of technology for industrial and consumer electronics is being developed in the company's labs in Turku, Finland, this audacious work requires a great variety of expertise – and that’s exactly where Marjukka, Johanna, Jaycee and Anna bring their unique skills to the table.
Marjukka, the all-rounded leader
Beneath her slim exterior and reassuringly gentle demeanor, Marjukka’s effective leadership is not only manifested in her professional work but also in the athletic field. A veteran in track and field athletics, Marjukka scored a staggering record in the Finnish Masters Athletics Championships in January 2023, claiming the first place in the categories of high jump, long jump, triple jump and triathlon of jumps. For over a decade, her passion for sports and earnestness in giving back to the society have also led her to the voluntary service of coaching children in athletics in her free time.
Outside Comptek's labs, Marjukka is a noted track and field athletics champion.
Back in the professional arena as Comptek’s Research Leader, Marjukka plays a crucial role in ensuring successful implementation of customer projects and developing the company’s unique semiconductor passivation technology, Kontrox. Apart from her office work in corporate management and tech leadership, Marjukka also rolls up her sleeves readily and gets to the labs to operate various equipment and conduct applied research work for different customer cases. As a key figure in Comptek’s management team, Marjukka is also strategically involved in the company’s environmental and social management, which she finds equally intriguing and important:
“It's cool that in a start-up your actual tasks do not have to be limited to your job title – you can make impact beyond that."
Although Marjukka had her eyes set on natural sciences pretty early in life, it was while working on her Masters research at the University
of Turku in southwesten Finland that her interest in semiconductors flourished, steering her to devote her research to Kontrox by the time it was discovered.
"To me, finding something never found before is absolutely fetching. Also, it is truly intriguing to see how the physics laws work differently in nanoscale compared to our daily lives, and how the nature can be described with a language of science. And, of course, it's fascinating to realize that the "tiny" developments and findings made in the nanoscale can have a substantial positive impact on various aspects of our lives."
Johanna, the aspiring nanotech student
This appreciation for the wonders of nanoscience of Marjukka is thoroughly shared by her co-worker, Johanna Laaksonen, Comptek’s laboratory operator and an aspiring Masters student in material science from the same university.
First drawn to the company’s mission and innovativeness as an intern two years ago, Johanna soon realized the deep tech start-up offers her an ideal foothold to advance her interest and knowledge in materials science in the wider industrial and business setting.
“Without doubt, the task and learning opportunities here have surpassed my expectations. I was given great guidance and trusted to work hands-on with sample characterization from the beginning of my internship…Overall, it has been very rewarding and motivating to see my professional growth and connect my experiences here to the things that I have already learned at this point in my studies.”
This perfect fit between her academic studies and practical work has even led the burgeoning scientist to dedicate her Masters thesis to understanding the Kontrox-led passivation processes of metal - III-V semiconductor junctions. Once completed, Johanna’s research will cast valuable insight on how the Kontrox process can be utilized in enhancing the quality of metal-semiconductor junctions – a fundamental topic for both the company and the compound semiconductor industry at large.
Jaycee, the MarCom pro revisiting her scientific past
For Jaycee Lui-Conckova, Comptek’s new Marketing and Content specialist, this unison between professional and academic arena is projected even more so on a personal level.
Coming from Hong Kong with vast experience in marketing and communications from diverse sectors in Europe and Asia, Jaycee acknowledges the learning journey in Comptek with its serious deep-tech niche has been the most remarkable so far.
“Speaking figuratively, joining Comptek has been like a lightning-bolt experience, as it has opened the door to the fascinating world of semiconductor engineering. I enjoy the daily opportunity of utilizing my bilingual expertise in the MarCom field and insight in Asian business practice to the full in the deep-tech industry that spells so many exciting opportunities for international cooperation. At the same time, the fact that the company’s business is so deeply entrenched in nanoengineering and its miraculous world of physiochemistry is like flashing me back to my bygone past when I was a science student in secondary school in Hong Kong, before I veered off to language and communications later in life.”
For Jaycee as a foreign talent in Finland, working in Comptek has been an additionally rewarding and fulfilling experience, as it offers a valuable platform for tech and business professionals, even for those not directly involved in non-tech roles, to help shape and contribute to the development of the global semiconductor industry and steer international collaboration in the arena.
“Finland has very strong technological traditions and amazing capabilities in design and development innovation. Whether it pertains to industrial, educational, media communications, or technological exports, throughout my tenures in the country, I have witnessed first-hand the very promising potential of its offerings and capabilities across different industries, and I am excited to have this opportunity now in Comptek to help showcase these remarkable technologies and competencies onto the global stage.”
Anna, the number-savvy financial controller
Like Jaycee, although Anna’s role in Comptek is not directly related to technology, she has also found her share of professional application in the semiconductor industry. As Comptek’s financial controller, Anna brings considerable experience in finance and accounting management from various B-to-B industries back in Russia. Being a seasoned accountant, she is quick to discern a common thread between her profession and the unique business of the company.
“I was intrigued and a bit baffled by the serious technologies the company is involved in at first, but I soon realized both accounting and nanotechnology are fascinating sciences sharing the same pursuits of numbers and high precision.”
Since joining the company, Anna has been enjoying her daily accounting challenges at her desk and interaction with the multicultural team of colleagues from different backgrounds.
“Although I have only recently joined the company, each day in the office has been an enriching experience as I continue to learn and apply my know-how and solve interesting challenges. Beyond numbers and data, I also find the environmental aspects of the company’s technologies particularly meaningful, and I am glad to be part of the company’s bigger mission.”
Whereas Finland is noted for its relatively high gender equality, globally speaking, nanotechnology in the field of physics remains a predominantly male industry. While our female colleagues are aware of the gender imbalance in the field, they are quick to note the gender of their colleagues or friends is of little importance, which they believe is the same also for their male counterparts. “Just like in any other industry – knowledge, skills, and professionalism have nothing to do with gender. And what comes to teamwork, for example, it’s the personality and attitude of the persons that matter the most.” Marjukka rightly sums up for her female colleagues with a shared footing now in the semiconductor tech field.
For these aspiring tech scientists, marketing and financial professionals, building their respective technology-related careers with a keen nanoscience focus in a new environment is a truly remarkable endeavor. Here in Comptek, we want to echo the general call for a more equitable and inclusive tech industry and encourage more aspiring girls and women into joining the tech industry – because, as the ubiquity and benefits of semiconductor engineering advances demonstrate in our everyday lives, tech does belong to us all!