An interview with Development Team Lead, Heiðdís Rut Hreinsdóttir, by Helga Knudsen
Tell us a little bit about how you came to work for Genuity Science.
At university, I had started off in the nursing program. After a year of that, I was planning to switch over to the medical school. In Iceland you have to take an entrance exam for the medical school, so I was taking a bunch of mathematics and other courses, but I enjoyed it so I just decided to continue with engineering.
As it turned out, Stefán (who is also in the Cohort team) was my advisor for my final project for the computer science degree, which had to do with the health sector. I was doing a project that had to do with the system of medical records used by the health clinics in Iceland. Stefán was already working at Genuity Science and he told me that my degree was tailor-made for the work we’re doing here. So I applied and four years later here I am. There wasn’t even an HR department at that point. It was very informal.
Were you expecting to be able to find work so close to home?
There aren’t a lot of companies working in this field here in Iceland, but I hadn’t really started to think seriously about it. I had considered going further with my engineering degree or to pivot into computer science completely. I wanted to see which one I liked better and this work seemed like the perfect opportunity to do both at once.
Good thing it turned out I really like this work and being close to family is important so I feel lucky to work close to home.
What’s your favorite part of working at Genuity Science?
For me, it’s how diverse the problem space is - we never know exactly what we’ll be dealing with at any given time. You have something new to work on every day. The amount of things I’ve learned and the talented people we work with - it’s like a masters program in itself.
So, you mentioned nursing. What was the draw to medical sciences in general?
It’s probably the typical answer. You want to do something good. You want your life to impact others in a way that is helpful and leaves the world in a better state than when you arrived.
I heard that you spent some time in the Dominican Republic. What was the best thing about that?
Yes. I was an AFS exchange student there in 2007-2008. I think the best thing was to experience a completely different culture from my own. It allowed me to grow as a person, to become more independent and learn to rely on myself. I also made friends from all over that I still stay in touch with.
What living person do you most admire and why?
When I meet people I try to find one thing that I admire about them - some feature that I might want to adopt. I like to get to know people. So it’s not really one person exactly, but rather aspects of different people.
In terms of my co-workers, I like that everyone here is very honest; it can even feel confrontational at times. But it’s all in the interest of making communication easier. Figuring out the problem and moving on. When I first joined Jónas was my boss and his approach to solving problems really impacted me - instead of dwelling on whose fault it might be or how it happened, he would take on the issue, appoint himself responsible and follow it through to completion. Really taught me to have repect for yourself and your work and deliver results that we can be proud of - do work that truly makes a difference.
Or my mom. She’s the best.