ANNETTE KIROTAR

Head of People

Tuum
4 min readJul 31, 2023

What initially attracted you to working in the HR/People field, and how has that passion evolved over time?

Although HR was not initially my focus area, my studies and work experience have always revolved around working with people. When I realised that sales weren’t my true calling, I had to discover what exactly is my thing then. It took some introspection and self-analysis. Reflecting on my past, I noticed that even all my thesis topics in university were people-oriented, such as internal communication and people’s motivation to do volunteer work. This led me to understand that my true passion lies in working with people.

HR encompasses various roles, and initially, I was unsure which one would be the right fit for me. Nevertheless, I took a leap of faith and accepted a position as an Employee Experience Manager here at Tuum. After a few months, I transitioned to the role of Head of People — a very versatile position with significant responsibilities. I think I have found my place, and I love what I do.

Although there is still some self-analysis to be done, this period in my life has been incredibly enriching, with a steep learning curve, and I am sincerely grateful to Tuum for providing me with this opportunity.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote or mantra that inspires you in your life?

I actually do, and it’s something that has recently resonated with me a lot — “Why the heck not?”

This quote inspires me to infuse more adventure into my life and live with less fear. I have always considered myself someone who avoids risks and constantly seeks a backup plan. However, one day when I shared my thoughts with my mother, she strongly disagreed, reminding me of the various times I’ve moved countries, climbed mountains and made other crazy choices. I realised that I have actually taken many risks throughout my life, and I have always managed to overcome them successfully. Now, I consciously embrace the mindset of “Why the heck not?” Even in the face of fear, I challenge myself and take the leap. This philosophy applies not only to work-related matters but also to various aspects of life.

What is your favourite book or book series, and why do you love it?

That is a challenging question to answer. I have read over 300 books since I started reading at the age of 12.

Initially, I didn’t read much, which worried my mum because reading is a big thing in our family. However, everything changed when I picked up “The Six Bullerby Children” by Astrid Lindgren. It captivated me. Then there was “Harry Potter,” and my love for books took off.

When it comes to choosing a favourite, it’s difficult, but a few books immediately came to mind. While they may not be my absolute favourites, they left a lasting impression. One is Victoria Hislop’s “The Island,” and the other is a series — the “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

When I read, I want to experience laughter, tears, or even fear. I really read books for the emotions they evoke. I crave entertainment and an escape from the realities of everyday life.

If you could learn a new skill or hobby instantly, what would it be and why?

I would choose to learn how to sing or improve my singing abilities. Singing has always been a passion of mine. In elementary school, I was a member of the choir and even had the opportunity to be a front singer.

However, when I entered middle school and expressed my interest in joining their choir, I was told that I couldn’t sing. Despite this setback, I haven’t let it discourage me. I still continue to sing and find joy in it. I have to say though, that my music teacher was right — I can’t sing to save my life! I sing loudly and badly, but it would be fun to be part of a musical group. Maybe someday I have time for pursuing that, singing can be learned, right?

What is one fun fact about yourself that your colleagues might not be aware of?

One thing many people might not know is that I have my very own book truck, which is the first mobile bookshop in Estonia. It was a long-held dream of mine to open my own bookshop. However, I wanted to create something unique and different from existing bookstores in Estonia like Rahva Raamat and Apollo. I envisioned something small and adorable, and the idea of a mobile bookshop perfectly fit that vision.

The truck became operational last summer, and for two summers now, I have been attending concerts, festivals, fairs, and other summer events with it.

I love it some much for several reasons. First, I get to meet many interesting new people who share amazing stories. Secondly, the feeling of achievement I get when people step into the van and have the ‘WOW’ moment, is incredible.

If you’d like to see my book truck, I will be attending the Supeluse Festival in Pärnu on August 5th. You can also find me at the Pärnu Literary Festival on August 19th. Lastly, towards the end of August, on the 25th and 26th, I will be participating in the Food Truck Festival in Tallinn.

--

--

Tuum

Close-knit group of bright & warm-hearted people from different cultures, working together to bring innovation to financial services & impact millions of people