Reams could be written on the world of imaging technologies and why Canon is the benchmark for excellence. But it’s only when you speak to our people that you truly understand the extent of the work we do. Fay, Ivona, Mehdia and Carlijn have very different roles in areas of the Canon world that rarely cross paths. They work hundreds of kilometres apart and have never met, but in learning about their jobs you quickly see that they share critical ingredients to our success: passion, drive, teamwork and purpose – the embodiment of our philosophy of ‘Kyosei – living and working together for the common good’.
Fay Martinez is a Parts Administrator at Canon’s semiconductor machine service and refurbishment centre in Nottingham, UK.
“I joined Canon about seven years ago when they were having a warehouse built and needed somebody to come in and sort it all out. I had a forklift license, so I was able to get the warehouse up and running without having to ask for help and set up a brand-new database for products. The products I look after are for the huge complex machines, which we refurbish and repair on-site. I’d never seen anything like them until I came to Canon. We also repair a lot of robots and other smaller machines too. Each month, I have to work out what parts are being sold, who to and what I think will sell.
After I had set up the Nottingham warehouse, my manager visited from Amsterdam and asked if I’d be in charge of stock for the Amsterdam office too. I was incredibly proud that I’d done such a good job but realised I would now have to go back and forth to Amsterdam – I was so scared! I’d never travelled on my own before and thrown in at the deep end, but it was brilliant and now I fly all the time for meetings. It sounds really corny, but I actually love my job. There are only 16 of us in our office and everyone gets on, you can just be yourself and it’s given me confidence that I didn’t think I had. I’ve learnt so much and have really had to stretch myself. Canon’s the only company I’ve worked for where I’ve not once got up in the morning and thought ‘I really don’t want to go to work today’. Never.”
Ivona Vickovic is the Image Analysis Technical Manager at Canon Medical Research Europe, based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“I had previously worked in the semiconductor industry, consumer electronics, for fifteen years, and it was really good, but there came a point where I wanted to work somewhere that I could apply my skills to something that’s a little bit more meaningful to wider society. What people sometimes call ‘tech for good’. As Technical Manager, I look after a cross-functional team of 24 scientists, engineers and clinical specialists. We work and produce image analysis technology in component software form for use in clinical applications, which adds value to scanning equipment that is in the field. Ultimately, the end goal is to make sure the clinicians are able to diagnose and analyse images faster.
I’ve worked remotely since joining and so my days are full of virtual meetings – planning, project reviews with our colleagues in Japan, discussions on our current work and technical reviews. Some of our teams will have scientific discussions about the techniques and approaches we need to take, and we have remote brainstorming tools for collaborating. So, I bounce between project work, people development and technical stuff – it’s never boring.
I studied Electrical Engineering and Electronics at Edinburgh University, and I have a Master’s in Engineering. And while I’m very technically skilled, I came to Canon from a hardware background. There are plenty of transferable concepts, but I’ve never worked on scientific development before, so, I’m learning a lot from my team. In fact, with the exception of those with clinical backgrounds, everyone shared that they too had much to learn when they joined because medical is a very different field. We are an interesting blend of knowledge and skills and have great mutual respect, often ‘translating’ technical concepts between each other. It’s a really supportive culture and when restrictions were temporarily eased last year, my manager and colleagues all went out of their way to meet with me.
When I look back over the last few months, I think that not only did I make the right decision to join Canon, but it was the best decision. I’ve felt really inspired and motivated, and it’s made this time a lot easier than maybe it would’ve been.”
Mehdia Mehtal is a Customer Marketing Executive for Professional Video & Broadcast at Canon UK.
“We’ve launched so many interesting products recently and normally we would host launch events and take the new kit out to customers and dealers for demos and training, but obviously we can’t do that right now, so instead we are organising loans and holding live virtual launches. Last April we released the EOS C300 MKIII and I did livestreams for the first time to audiences of two or three hundred people. It was such pressure but got easier as I did more – and it paid off.
I studied Computer Science at Uni and I loved it, but I couldn’t see myself full-time in front of a computer, I’m more of a people person. So, while I was studying, I worked part-time as a Canon Rep and got really into photography. For someone who loves technology and gadgets, I felt the need to understand how cameras work and know the ins and outs. I even read the manuals [laughs], but there are plenty of technical people who agree with me – if you use the camera and get stuck, you check the manual. I do feel the need to prove myself and have an excellent reputation because I’m a woman and because of my headscarf. When people need your help, first impressions are important. So, I set myself a standard to get my knowledge to the right level. But you need passion and love. If you don’t love what you do and don’t have the passion for it, I don’t think you can learn something properly especially if it is technical.
I loved learning about each camera and found it easy, so eventually I began to work for Canon full-time. I loved supporting the technicians from Canon Professional Services (CPS) at big events like Wimbledon, where they help the many professional photographers in attendance. For example, photographers usually send images direct from the sidelines to their editors using ftp. It’s not the most straightforward thing to set up and my degree came in handy! My favourite event was the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Before that I’d never watched a rugby game in my life and since then, I’m hooked.
Now, I am part of the Professional Video & Broadcast team. I love training, troubleshooting and giving advice and recommendations. I even enjoy putting training materials together in PowerPoint! You have to do your best and build presentations that are helpful, especially now we’re not face to face. We have such an incredible range of products that can be used by everyone from students to huge productions and documentaries like Blue Planet. I always watch the ‘behind the scenes’ episodes and check what they’re using. I can’t help it!”
Carlijn Compen is Head of Design at Canon Production Printing in Venlo, the Netherlands.
“I lead the Design department and we are responsible for the design work for all Canon Production Printing products. This means designing the machines but also all the user interfaces, which means we also design the software products. In my team, I have product, UX (user experience) and visual designers, as well as design researchers and usability engineers: people who do research about our customers and users. At the same time, I am the Change Lead for an internal improvement program at Research & Development, which aims to make significant changes in the organisation. Overall, I look after around twenty people in the design team and another fourteen in the change programme.
It’s my fifth job, but actually in the same company. I studied Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology and after I graduated, I joined Océ as a visual designer in the team I’m leading now. Then I became an interaction designer, which today we call a UX designer, designing the user interfaces of our products. When Océ was acquired by Canon, it was a very happy coincidence, as I was ready for something more. I was given the opportunity to go to Japan and work in the design department at Canon Inc. in Tokyo for two years, which was an amazing experience. There is a really big design team in Japan – about 250 people – and I still know a lot of people there which is great. And living in Tokyo was amazing. When I returned, I worked in strategic planning for a couple of years as a Portfolio Director for our large format products, and then I moved back to R&D to become the Head of Design.
I’m positively surprised by the amount you can get done by being remote, but I miss the buzz of the work floor, the informal meetings – bumping into people and having a chat. Our Monday meetings with the design team are really important and help to create team spirit and atmosphere, even though we can’t see each other. That said, I also have two little kids, so working from home means everything becomes a lot easier, especially now that day care has reopened. However, I do miss visiting customers. As designers we must represent the customer in all our projects. Everyone must know who we’re making the product for and judge whether it will be usable. What can we improve? We need to be really close to them and understand how their minds work.”