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Petronella Regen: Feelings, relations, and trust – the key to a design career

Petronella Regen's passion for design and sensory experiences drives both her and Tietoevry forward. And she has big ambitions for the future.

Recruitment Team / January 18, 2024
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The journey has been fast for Petronella. As an Art Director at Tietoevry Create, she has just been on stage as one of the speakers at the Internet in Focus conference, talking about the borderlands between design, empathy, accessibility, and customer journeys.

She is proud and full of bubbling energy. If you are a person who loves human relationships, visual communication, and creating positive user experiences, perhaps it's natural. But has it always been so?
- Yes, I think so. I started sewing at the age of seven, wanted to be a fashion designer, then came the dream of being an architect and afterward the world of advertising. Art and design became my sanctuary and my language, especially in my teens when I found out I had dyslexia. When you are ambitious, driven, and high performing, that diagnosis is hard to accept. But looking back, I managed to turn it into a strength in my career choices and professional roles.


Digitalize and include

There's no doubt that when Petronella does something, she does it wholeheartedly. To do things genuinely, create an inclusive and familial feeling, remove all pretense, be transparent, and dare to be honest is somewhat of a hallmark for her. And it works, incredibly well. But that it turned into a digital career was a bit of a coincidence.
It was when I studied informatics in college that I realized that theory was actually fun. For the first time, I realized that dyslexia is a power that gives me advantages; I think differently. Since I belong to a group with functional variations, I feel completely at home in psychology and how to communicate on different terms. Accessibility for everyone is important.


Humanity behind technology

Design and the experience of it have always been Petronella's invaluable core and companion through life, the power to discover what opportunities technology could provide made her more confident than ever.

The pace of development in the digital world was also perfect for Petronella's constant curiosity. Today, Petronella works both as an AD and an accessibility specialist. Right now, she is involved in four projects, but sometimes it's full focus only on one client. Even the role varies regarding start and end – she either comes into management projects or when creating something entirely new. However, her heart beats strongest for design, UX strategy, and strong relationships. 
- In the role of a designer, the key is to collaborate, to create an 'us' – not 'me and them'. The developers provide the technical expertise, and I provide the human connection. When we combine that, we create magic. It's together we carry it, have fun, and create fantastic results. We need to cherish diversity when and where it’s available.


Inspiration beyond borders

Petronella knows that there is always competence internally. The great advantage, she says, is that Tietoevry has so many design resources and large teams that can support each other. For example, she gains a lot of knowledge about accessibility from colleagues in Austria and Norway.
- I really have the opportunity to work internationally and love to speak English, so I take every opportunity I get! I have always been very curious about the cultural differences between countries to better include all recipients in my design. It really broadens my horizons and makes me better at my job.


Extroverted on the receiver's terms

It's the external part of the role that Petronella feels is most important for a project to be truly successful, an interaction that for her mostly takes place at the beginning and middle of delivery. Working in the human interfaces, she says, is absolutely fantastic.
- As a Lead Designer, I have many meetings with both clients and teams, almost as much interaction as the project manager – but I love to lead! Going forward, I think this is how I want my role to evolve, but not at the expense of working with design. I would also like to lecture more, be thrown in front of larger audiences, and create 'aha' experiences.

She continues, with a dreamy look:
- ...then it would be so powerful to stand in the spotlight in five years and receive a design award where the focus has been on accessibility - it's actually possible to create both style and inclusiveness!


Roles without acting

- When taking on a client, it's crucial to fully immerse in the role, that's the only way you can truly define the value in the business - what does the client want to convey and achieve?

Petronella firmly states that without meetings, it's practically impossible to work out what needs to be created. Then it just becomes design, and that can quickly go wrong.
- There must be a strategy, a thought behind it. We need to take a joint grip on the entire user journey - conduct workshops, design flows, do user studies, set colors and shapes, and sometimes even further develop the client's identity. Everything must match. Moreover, I want to avoid personal taste, she continues, and instead focus on effective and ineffective communication. Minor design changes can save many working hours. That's why I always show my sketches internally first, and the developers show their thoughts to me before it reaches the client. This creates great efficiency.


Together with AI

- Time has gone so fast, she says thoughtfully. I have grown, but not settled. In a few years, I will probably work even more as an AD and have larger design teams in deliveries, carrying the Lead role even more.

She does not feel threatened by AI, on the contrary, she finds it is both fantastic to explore and very efficient and can make her role even more important. And it can’t yet be a mentor for three younger colleagues, as I am today, she says with a smile.

When asked to sum up what a career at Tietoevry is, Petronella mentions one thing.
- With us, it's only you who set the limits. We have big clients and large teams, here you are never alone, there is always competence to get help from, all the time and everywhere. It may sound contradictory, but we have managed to create the small and personal environment in the large costume. And since I know that the areas of design and design strategy, usability and accessibility, customer experiences, and user journeys will become increasingly important in the future, I can only say: opportunities, opportunities, opportunities.

Recruitment Team

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