Meet the Tamerlane team: Andrea Paananen, Financial Controller
In this series, we invite you to get to know the Tamerlane Trading team. Today, we introduce Andrea Paananen, Financial Controller.
By Rae Lland
Andrea Paananen is the type of person who knows how to keep the wheels turning. Precise, steady and focused, those in her circle—be it colleagues or family—are luckier for her presence because her efforts are the foundation of success for herself and those around her.
Paananen started with the team that would form Tamerlane in 2018, after her sister tipped her off about the job opening, and she has proved a good fit for the team. She’d gone to college for business management and had proceeded to work in accounting in different sectors, such as car dealerships and the aerospace industry for several years. She also worked as an office manager for a brokerage firm, but took a break from working to stay home with her children for seven years. When her youngest went off to kindergarten, she knew she needed something to do with her time, and started bookkeeping out of her house.
So, when Paananen met the team it was perfect timing. She says she was inspired to see the vision for the growth of the company and subsidiaries. “Just to watch it unfold, it's very exciting, and to be a small part of that is exciting as well.”
CANNABIS AND COMMUNITY
In the three years since, things have grown rapidly, so much so that the speed of things can be overwhelming at times. “I think of it as a frog in water, you know, it gets hotter and hotter and hotter. You don't even realize it,” says Paananen humorously, but she knows how to manage it. “Just having such a great support group is wonderful. I think the key is having flexibility and willingness to help wherever you can.”
Tamerlane and affiliates is Paananen’s first cannabis industry job as well as the first startup she’s worked with, and now her main focus while still doing some bookkeeping on the side. She speaks highly of the Tamerlane and overall Aperon ecosystem team several times throughout our conversation. At one point, I joke about how math is not my strong suit, she jokes that spelling isn’t hers, and we agree that’s the great thing about having a team.
“There's not one time that I didn't feel part of the team,” says Paananen, “and something I love about this team is that you have people from all over so you get to learn. I just think that's great. Everyone that works here is so friendly. I really feel a great connection with everybody.”
As someone coming from a non-cannabis background, I asked her what was surprising about the industry, and she was quick to answer. “I just love how friendly everybody is. It doesn't matter if you're working with the employees, the management, the clients — no matter who you call, they're always willing to talk. They're friendly, personable and it's just easygoing compared to a lot of industries that I've been in.”
WORK LIFE BALANCE
A typical morning for Paananen is relatable to many. She gets up bright and early to get any errands she needs done, such as picking up groceries and getting the kids breakfast and ready for the day. Before nine the kids are set up for their day of virtual classes, and after running them through the schedule, she sets up Alexa to provide them their daily reminders. Throughout the day she takes care of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still finds time for a full workload. Did she mention she is also her local PTA treasurer?
Mothers never cease to amaze me with their resilience and affinity for multitasking, so I ask Paananen how she manages to balance such a plethora of responsibilities all day.
“I try to stay organized,” she says. “I have a planner; I always have a checklist for everything that I do. It's definitely a juggling act, but I just try to keep on top of it and be honest — if I am overloaded, the whole team is very supportive.”
When she is not working, Paananen finds plenty of time for family and fun. Her family unit is comprised of her daughter, son, husband, a yellow lab named Max and two elder cats named Pepper and Smitten.
“One of them is going to be 18 and the other one's 17. The oldest one is getting senile. So occasionally in my meetings you'll hear her screaming in the background,” she says good heartedly.
Paananen says that two weekends a month the family will get in their travel trailer and head out for an adventure.
“We are avid campers. Our favorite place to go is the beach or just over on the peninsula. It's nice because we can take our dog and it's just a home away from home, really. Just last weekend we went up to White Pass and we went tubing, we hiked up to a waterfall and spent the day by the river. Lots of fun.”
Though she doesn’t get out into the field in her position, on their family road trips, Paananen says she often passes cannabis farms. “We definitely drive by all of the farms, they are very recognizable to me, and so it's interesting to see, especially in Eastern Washington, how many are out there and how big they are.”
FINDING TIME FOR LIFE’S JOYS
Born and raised in Washington, Paananen now lives right outside Seattle, but growing up she spent a lot of time traveling around the state with her family who were in the horse racing industry. They would travel between Western and Eastern Washington every year, following where the horses would run. Growing up she says they always had a horse and she would enjoy barrel racing and rodeo style riding.
Today, Paananen says her passion is still riding. “I love it. Whenever we get a chance, my daughter and I go out to my dad's farm and we just go riding.”
It’s clear that Paananen loves her family and spending time with them. When it comes to some me-time for this busy momma, she enjoys crafting Christmas signs for neighbors or soaking in the bath or the family’s newly acquired hot tub.
Obviously a go-getter, Paananen also says she has been having fun working with her husband on remodeling their home over the last several years.
“I am very blessed to be married to my husband who is this amazing carpenter. I can show him a Pinterest page and he can just make it happen,” she says. “He redid my office, which I completely love, I think it's my favorite room in the house.”
Paananen manages life’s responsibilities with precision and grace, even in the face of an unprecedented year. The family had plans for Disneyland in 2020, but now Paananen thinks they’ll go bigger when the pandemic is over and have a relaxing vacation while revisiting one of their favorite places — Hawaii.
In the meantime, Paananen will continue her impressive balancing of work, home and play — a skill that those around her are grateful for, because Paananen is a key player in keeping things running smoothly at work and at home, with her team and her family.
Rae Lland is a writer, journalist and editor with a focus on culture, music, health and wellness. In addition to her extensive catalogue of work for Leafly, she has also been featured in numerous online cannabis publications as well as print editions of Cannabis Now Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @rae.lland