Yente Teunissen joined SpeakSee as our Operations Manager in December 2019. Yente works closely with both the technical and business development teams and you can read more about her role at SpeakSee below.
Firstly, could you tell us about your role within SpeakSee?
My role within SpeakSee is not very easy to define because of the diverse nature of the tasks that I perform. As the operations manager I have a wide range of responsibilities, which is something that I particularly enjoy. In an average week I will be involved in the management of company finances, internal HR-related tasks and as a member of the business development team, I assist with marketing propositions. I am also responsible for providing Marcel with assistance in the manufacturing process from an operational perspective. To summarise, I am involved in all operational aspects of the company, which ensures that every day looks differently for me.
How did you first learn about SpeakSee and when did you decide to join the team?
Jari and I have been friends since High School and have known each other for more than 10 years now. I have always known Jari to be someone who wanted to be an entrepreneur and create something that can help others and I admire that. This resulted in the creation of SpeakSee which combined his passion for entrepreneurship and desire to assist his Deaf parents. In December I had the opportunity to join the team at SpeakSee and I am very happy that I made that decision. I enjoy working for a company which is trying to make a difference in the world for a community which is largely underrepresented.
What motivates you to help the deaf and hard of hearing community?
Although I had an understanding about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community from knowing Jari’s parents, I have learnt so much more about it since I joined SpeakSee. Now that I am working within this community every day, I have seen the size and strength of it, but also how it doesn’t get the representation that it deserves. You can see that even when the government held important press
conferences to deliver Coronavirus updates, they didn't think of including a sign language interpreter at first. In addition, the fact that sign language is also not recognised as an official language makes you realise how important it is for the access to information to be more equal and I am glad that the work I am doing is helping to change that for the better.
What has been your hardest challenge during your time with SpeakSee?
I would say that the biggest challenge that I experienced since joining has been adjusting to the way that start-ups operate in comparison to other businesses. In this sort of environment, you tend to work far more autonomously than how you would in a larger company. I really enjoy working more independently and learning from my experiences daily. As we are creating something completely new, we don’t have a format of predefined processes to rely on and this is something which I am really enjoying creating because of the innovative ideas we are producing.
What has been your favourite moment during your time at SpeakSee?
It is difficult to pinpoint one specific moment as my favourite, but what I can say is that working for SpeakSee makes me incredibly happy. On one hand we have a fantastic team with a strong bond, and everyone is very inspired by the projects that we are working on. We have quite a diverse team which allows for everyone to contribute in their own unique ways. Despite the isolation period that we are currently in, we try to stay connected by playing online games together on Friday afternoons, as we used to do in the office too. On the other hand, I get a really warm feeling from the reactions that we get from people about SpeakSee. When I tell people about my job and what SpeakSee is working on, you feel an enthusiasm from them that shows the willingness of people to aid this community and support our cause. Every day I am proud to work for a company like SpeakSee and I am very excited for the upcoming year when we will finally be able to launch the product and hopefully make a lot of people very happy with our solution.
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