February 10, 2023

From the time she was living in Iraq as a young girl, Lina knew what she wanted to be when she grew up—a computer engineer. This was a dream borne by many in her family, when computers were a new and thrilling opportunity that embodied boundless potential. 

”I lived in a war zone, and I saw death several times. But then you ask yourself, ’Why not me? Why did that happen to this person?’ But then when you go outside of that, you see perspective—We're all in the same boat. We're all human beings. Let's enhance the quality of life of people. Earth is for everyone,” Lina said. 

A childhood with burgeoning potential 

As Lina grew up, the world was on the brink of the digital age, and computers were a new frontier. Seeing the great potential in technology, Lina wanted to explore and be a part of the movement to bring technology into other fields and advance humankind. She focused on her studies in Iraq and never diverged from her destiny. When the time came to take her studies further, she began a control and system engineering program—and one of the branches was a specialization in computer engineering.  

“But then there was the 2003 war, so I couldn't finish my studies in Iraq. I moved to Jordan, and I finished my studies as a computer engineer there. Then I moved back to Iraq, and there, a horrible thing happened at home. So, I had to leave the country. And I ended up in Sweden as a refugee in 2007. So that's how it started,” Lina said. 

Becoming an experienced programmer and starting a career in Stockholm 

After arriving in Sweden, Lina immediately set out to make herself a great candidate for her next career move. In her case, this involved becoming comfortable in Sweden and learning Swedish, so she could communicate with her community and future colleagues. When asked how she made the transition, she had this to say: 

“Well, it's up to you—it's either live and isolate yourself inside a community and live aside, you know, or you get integrated into the community and then you give something back to the country that gave you an opportunity. And so, I started by learning the language because it's the key to everything. And after that, I wanted to start working to carve out my place in the market,” Lina stated. 

Computer engineering is a very broad field, she explained, and programming is a small field within it—but one that is brimming with opportunities. So, Lina asked herself what she enjoyed most in her field, and the answer was simple: problem solving. But getting her foot in the door proved more difficult than simply attaining her degree—and she was questioned extensively in interviews despite having the necessary qualifications.  

“They asked me, ‘Where are you from? Have you worked with this before? Have you done this? Have you done that?’ It was very difficult. It was an economic crisis as well at the time. So, yeah, what do I do? Do I idle or do I push?” Lina said.  

She realized the next step was to widen her opportunities, so she applied to a master’s program at Uppsala University—and was quickly accepted. At the same time, she applied for a .NET programming course, and realized she would need to make a choice between the two options—but for her, the clear choice was the course. Her goal was to gain more opportunities in the market, and the .NET programming course would certainly open  new doors. So that's what she did. She finished the course after two years, and with that experience in programming under her belt, it wasn’t long until she found work. 

Realizing her dream job and taking the next step with Viedoc 

Lina’s first job was in Stockholm, where she worked as a programming consultant on banking systems. During that time, she became pregnant with her first child. And after their daughter was born, her husband got an amazing opportunity as a radiologist—his dream job—but the job was in Uppsala. So, they moved north to Uppsala, while Lina continued to commute to Stockholm. Traveling back and forth soon became too difficult, so Lina searched for a job in Uppsala and ended up at a small consultancy company as a system developer, where she worked in different branches for about five years. 

It was while living in Uppsala that Lina was contacted about an opportunity with an up-and-coming software company—and that company was Viedoc. When the team reached out to her on LinkedIn about an opportunity to start as a product owner, she was excited—and when she met her future colleagues, they just clicked. There was no doubt in her mind that Viedoc was the right choice for her career. 

“When I was offered the opportunity at Viedoc, I said yes, this is me. It’s clinical trials. It’s for improving the quality of life of human beings. So, what is better than that? It’s a complicated field. So, there are new challenges, you know, it’s an everlasting journey of eternal learning. I learn new things every day,” Lina said. 

Following the whole cycle of a product and guiding the team to success 

When Lina joined Viedoc, the company was already on a journey of growth—and already had a clear vision of where to go next.  

”I saw the will of the people that work here. So all the cards were on the table. I joined because I wanted to be part of this journey as well—and growth comes with space to grow. I saw the will to work together to build this. And if you’re working with such people, then you can do anything. Nothing is impossible. You can solve everything together. And for a good cause. So it ticked all my boxes,” Lina said. 

As a product owner, Lina is always keeping the stakeholders and the customer in mind—and in order to do so, she asks herself questions such as, ’Oh, how do they do this? Why do they do this? And how can we make this better for them?’ Working directly with the product team, along with the product communicators, she collaborates with the development teams on which product to develop next and how to get it right. She keeps track of a product backlog and aligns projects with the company’s technical roadmap—which outlines where Viedoc is going and how we will get there. 

“I love being a product owner because I like being in the middle of things and talking to everybody. I follow the whole cycle of a feature from the origin of it—the customer’s need or our need or the stakeholder’s need—and then I take it to the developers, and we make magic happen,” Lina explains. 

During a typical workday, Lina handles user stories and each product’s journey. She starts by perceiving what the need is, then discusses that with the developers to see how they can collaborate on a solution or product. Then the team starts breaking the project into smaller parts, to divide and conquer. Once they’ve implemented a solution, they ask the stakeholders whether it matches their need and solves the problem—and, after some tweaks, they can go into production. Lina also helps the developers remove blockages and guides the team to find the right project to focus on. And most of all, Lina ensures that things get done, so new products can go into development.  

“At the end of the day, when I go back home, I know I helped many people achieve their goals,” Lina said. 

When she’s not solving problems at Viedoc, Lina puts her energy into networking within the industry to gain knowledge from her peers. She’s also co-leading the AI group—a task force assembled by EUCROF and the eClinical Forum to define and help understand the regulations around clinical trials, and whether AI can fit into the industry. 

Shaping a healthier future for humankind as an individual  

Lina has faith in clinical research and what it can do for humankind—and this is what drives her every day. As for what makes Lina happy working at Viedoc, there are many facets that come to mind. Her position as a product owner at Viedoc has given her purpose, and her drive and curiosity give her focus as her career progresses. 

”I see a strong will in people here. So when there is a will, there's a way. I’ve learned to deal with different personalities and different cultures, and I learned to be a better listener—because you have to listen. Everybody has a story,” Lina said. 

Pivoting into a different industry also brought more discussions to the dinner table at home, since both Lina and her husband work in the same field—so they understand each other’s day even better. And when Lina isn’t guiding Viedoc’s path, she’s guiding her two daughters.   

“At the end of the day, I spend time with my two daughters. They’re very smart. They bring a lot of different perspectives, and they do a lot of activities—swimming, theater, choir—and I’m their taxi driver. Then we have dinner. This is when we socialize most. And then afterward, we play cards or board games, and then it's bedtime.” 

But what drives Lina in her work, day in and day out, is a strong belief in Viedoc’s mission. 

”It's the cause. It'll make human life better—I bring better quality to human lives. And that touches me on different levels because my dad died of Alzheimer's. If we could have detected that earlier by observing his behavior, my kids could have met my dad. I would have loved for my kids to meet my father and hear his stories because he was the source of my strength. He told me, ’Just spread happiness and nothing is impossible.’ He pushed me all the way. So the cause touches me on a personal level,” Lina affirmed. 

Connect with Lina on LinkedIn

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