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Magda & Passion Sponsorship Program: Time for work and time for passion. Check out her story!

Working in IT, she not only discovered the secrets of software testing but also found a way to develop her interests through the Passion Sponsorship Program. What does she like most about her job, and what challenges does she face? What did her adventure with the Program look like? Welcome to the inspiring world of Magdalena Makowska, triathlete and Test & Analysis Engineer at Sii Poland.

What do you do at Sii, and what do you value most in your work? 

I have been working at Sii for more than two years and am involved in firmware testing for a client in a large project. What I value most here is the opportunity for development, both technical and personal, so I enjoy taking advantage of the weekend training courses offered by the company. I recently started learning Swedish, for example! I also like the open and friendly atmosphere that allows me to meet people from different departments in my office in Gdansk and at various company events. This fosters my development and will enable me to feel part of a larger community.

How has the team you work for evolved over the years? 

I currently work in a relatively new team that was formed less than two years ago. This team is a group of mostly young, committed people who belong to the same generation, which significantly facilitates communication, creates a pleasant working atmosphere, and thus positively influences the course of the project. My previous team differed in the project development stage and work processes – they were more mature and stabilized, making the work less dynamic than in my current team.

So, did you change the project? Tell us more about it 

Yes, I wanted to develop as a tester. Although I loved my team and pursued tasks I enjoyed professionally, I like change and novelty. So when the opportunity arose to move to another team where I could gain new skills and face different challenges, I decided without hesitation: I’m in! 

What have you managed to achieve at work and what was the most pivotal moment for you?

Working at Sii is stable but dynamic and sometimes demanding — due to time pressure. Although it’s often repetitive, I’ve been able to implement several new solutions that have increased our team’s efficiency and allowed us to carry out tasks at a high level. I’m proud to have gained the trust of my colleagues and superiors! The most pivotal experience for me was interacting with the running community within the company, which allowed me to meet wonderful people from different projects and pursue my passions.

What in your daily work gives you the most satisfaction?

The opportunity to constantly explore the system’s ins and outs and catch those small but essential mistakes. I am also fascinated by working with a team where, together, we strive to improve the quality of software. Being a tester allows me to improve my analytical and logical skills daily, which brings new challenges every day.

And the biggest challenges you face?

Careful planning is crucial in my job. Even routine activities can encounter unforeseen obstacles that extend the time to complete tasks. In addition, some of my duties require creativity, and planning for temporal shifts is even more challenging here. That’s why I always assume extra time for unexpected situations so that I can react flexibly to changing circumstances.

How did your adventure with the Passion Sponsorship Program begin?

I learned about Passion Sponsorship from SiiPortal and joined a group of runners on Teams, where I signed up for a running camp, even though I hadn’t run or competed before. The trip was a great experience, and through it, I discovered that in Sii, we have a large community of running enthusiasts and enthusiasts of various other fields. Now, instead of regular walks, I often take my dogs for a run in the afternoon, and they love it!

Will you tell us more about the people you met?

I met people who, like me, combine a passion for sports with professional life. Together, we appreciate the importance of balancing training with professional and private responsibilities. I admire their ability to find time to train despite their busy schedules. Our group has various sports enthusiasts, from marathon runners to shorter-distance enthusiasts. What unites us is a shared enjoyment of physical activity.

Did they infect you with a passion for triathlon, or have you always had this passion?

I’ve been fascinated by triathlon since I was a kid, especially after the Athens Games in 2004. However, I never thought I would start doing the sport myself until I met triathlon enthusiasts at running camps. That’s when I discovered that triathlon is accessible to everyone and doesn’t require special equipment or knowledge. In my city, Elblag, I found as many as three triathlon groups and joined one of them. Triathlon turned out to be not only a sport but also a unique adventure. It’s a discipline that teaches, inspires, and is open to everyone, regardless of experience.

What is the biggest sporting challenge for you? 

The challenge for me is finding a balance between my favorite activities: running with my huskies in the woods, which is my love and brings me the most joy, and triathlon training, which involves long road bike rides. Although I enjoy swimming and running, cycling on asphalt can be tedious. Running with dogs in the woods mostly wins, which sometimes affects my performance in triathlon competitions, but that’s what gives me the most joy.

Why triathlon in particular?

I wanted to try a new sport and join the active sports community in my city. In addition, the season of sports with dogs, in which I participate, is from September to April due to temperature requirements – training is only possible when it is below 15 degrees Celsius. Therefore, when it’s too warm in summer, we limit ourselves to light jogs or walks early in the morning. The dogs get a break then, and I wouldn’t say I like to get bored. That’s when the triathlon season starts, which runs from April to September, so it perfectly fills my summer with activity. 

What motivated you to take part in the Passion Sponsorship Program?

I decided to participate in the Passion Sponsorship Program mainly because of the triathlon community. We wanted to organize our training camp because the running camps we attended did not cover all the triathlon disciplines. In our group, we jointly set a date and place and invited a coach. It was an excellent opportunity to integrate and spend time with like-minded people. We are very grateful that Sii supported our passion and made it possible to organize this camp. It is impossible to describe the atmosphere of the Passion Sponsorship camps. One has to be there!

In this year’s edition, you became the Project leader. To quote a classic how did it happen? 

Quite naturally. As a person who enjoys organizing, interacting with people, and engaging in projects beyond the office, this change was a pleasant break from my daily routine at work.

How would you rate the involvement of people and the atmosphere at the camp?

Colleagues were eager to get involved in the initiative. They were interested in the event’s details and helped in the search for a place to stay or the selection of a photographer. Everyone was very pleased with the prepared schedule of activities and the whole organization. The atmosphere was terrific and very friendly.

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was the initial stage of the venture, even before the application was submitted. I was already envisioning the ideal camp, inspired by the company’s previous running camps and the expectations of potential participants. I had to start thinking boldly and be fearless that the ideas might be too ambitious or not work out. Today, I know that doubts must be pushed aside, and I must approach such initiatives professionally. Imagine the participants on that dream trip and plan precisely what should be there.

What tips would you give people thinking about organizing their projects under the Passion Sponsorship Program?  

Clear communication with everyone involved, from trainers to participants, is critical when organizing your project. Everyone must understand the goals and requirements. It is equally important to tailor the program to the skills and preferences of different people, so offer differentiated classes for beginners and advanced students. This will have a positive impact on the atmosphere and participant satisfaction.

Who is your inspiration sports and professional? 

I’m inspired by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, known for her advocacy of gender equality and support for women in careers, and author of the best-selling book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which addresses the role of women in business and encourages them to pursue their ambitions.

In sports, I admire Patrycja Bereznowska, an ultramarathoner and world record holder, and Igor Tracz, a world champion in dog sledding, who is involved in humanitarian activism, organizing aid shipments to eastern Ukraine. His actions in both sports and social activities are inspiring.

If you, too, want to fulfill your dreams and develop your passions with the support of the Passion Sponsorship Program, check out the job opportunities and join Sii!

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