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Women Changing Technology: A Conversation with Katrin Johannesdottir from Trimble

Although industrial technology is a male-dominated field, women are breaking barriers every day. At Trimble, women from around the world are pushing the industry forward. We’re proud to celebrate their expertise and diverse perspectives. 

For Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the women driving innovation at Trimble. 

This Q&A features Katrin Johannesdottir, Senior Director of Industry Workflows.

Tell us about your role at Trimble and how you got there.

I started at Trimble almost three years ago. My background is in civil engineering, geomatics, and technology management, but I also worked for a contractor for many years. I worked on the contractor side for 11 years at Skanska, and before that on the design side for a consultancy. 

At Trimble, I started as a virtual design and construction (VDC) manager. My daughter said I was a professional Minecraft player. That was her version of explaining what her mom did at work.

Today, I'm part of the Norwegian team which has Quadri, the BIM platform for infrastructure. Organizationally I belong to Construction Management Solutions, but since I focus on processes, I work across all units. 

I was previously a surveyor, so I enjoy working on Trimble solutions for contractors and our field solutions. Creating better workflows for model-based design out to the machines and survey tools, and back from the field to the office -- that's what I do.

What excites you the most about working at Trimble? 

I think one of the most exciting things is the international aspect. I had been living in Norway for many, many years. During COVID, I moved back home to Iceland. I have a family and kids, so I need to have a base. With Trimble, I get the possibility to live back home and still travel around the world for work. 

Also, I meet people from so many different cultures. I love the diversity in Trimble. We were at a conference in Las Vegas with 135,000 people. We went out to eat, and there was one person from Australia and one from Cape Town, South Africa. I was from Europe. There was one from India and one from Russia. I thought, "This is amazing." 

What inspires you? 

It really inspires me to see women doing cool things. I also love meeting new people and learning from them. 

And of course, having solutions that actually help others. For our customers and my old colleagues in the construction industry. When they call me and I actually have a solution to their problem, I get a lot from that. I like the feeling of going to bed and knowing that I succeeded in something today. 

What did you want to be as a child? 

I grew up in the countryside, so I wanted to be a veterinarian at first. Then I wanted to go to college for medicine. I took a year off, and I was sitting at an internet cafe in Guatemala. We had to pay for the internet, and it was the last day to apply for university. I was sitting there wondering what I was going to do when I grew up and I knew I wanted to work internationally. I was always good at math and computers, so I just signed up for engineering. It was a total U-turn.

What is your favorite productivity hack?

When I go through my emails and there are things that I know that I have to do, but can't do right now, then I put them on Post-its. I only put one thing on each Post-it. Lists don't work for me. I know that if there are things that I have to do, they’re on Post-its. I have to clean them up, if not today, then it's the first thing I do tomorrow.

What’s a professional goal you recently set for yourself?

I want to be better at strategy and managing IT projects. I'm used to being on projects like infrastructure where we have production. The production must go on and you are on all the time.

I realized when I switched to the technology industry,  the way you manage projects is a bit different. For me, the process isn’t as obvious. When you’re working on a software development project, you're working on things that have not been done the same way before. So I'm trying to find a better way to execute on strategy. 

What are your tips to ease anxiety and uncertainty when you take on something new at work?  

Anxiety comes from things that you imagine that are worse than they are. Often, by talking to other people, you realize that maybe your concerns are logical and everyone else has them too. So don't lock yourself in a room and think that you need to solve everything on your own and you’re the only one with those problems. 

I feel better when I talk to other people because in 99.9% of cases, other people have the same concerns and I can discuss them. If they don't have the same concerns, then they have a solution to it and then they will help me. It's just a win-win to do that.

What is your favorite way to empower other women at Trimble?

My sister is doing her PhD in gender studies and sometimes she points out, “Do you think that way because you know that you are a woman in that situation or is this actually something that you think?” Then I have to go back and think, "Oh, my God." I may be limiting or putting myself or other women in a box. I'm actively trying to change that, and I have a lot of role models that I look to.

Iceland had the first elected female president in the world. I love her. She is a legend. She became a president in the 80s, a single mom. She was president for 16 years. Iceland also had the first gay prime minister in the world.

When I want to empower other women, I point out those role models.

I really like it when I meet younger women and try to encourage them to go for things that they want. I tell them my story and things that I have done that may have been really spontaneous and I know that people are like, “You did what?” But why not? Why couldn't you or why shouldn't you? 

About the Author

Rachel is the Content Marketing Manager for Trimble Construction. She's written for finance, SaaS, manufacturing, telecom, and healthcare companies for 16 years. Writing about construction is her favorite gig yet.

Profile Photo of Rachel Jones