Misha Johanna

Came from
Current position
Senior Customer Success Manager

From Psychology in Indonesia to the hotel industry in Bali and a travel tech startup in Bangkok, Misha’s career journey led her to Lithuania. Meeting her Lithuanian partner in 2017 inspired her move in 2019, where she’s now thriving as a Senior Customer Success Manager at Whatagraph in Lithuania’s vibrant startup scene.

I completely disagree when people say Lithuanians are cold. In fact, I find people super warm here. They just communicate and show their emotions differently.

What brought you to Lithuania?

Mainly because of my partner, who is Lithuanian. We met in Bali and then continued the relationship long distance for a while. During my first visit to Lithuania in summer 2018, I did a Lithuanian language course at Vilnius University, for a month. And that’s when I kind of felt like, okay, I really enjoy everything here — the city, the school…  So, my next thought was that I probably wanted to come back and do something longer than a language course, like a Master’s program. We started making plans, and at that time we both also decided we wanted to be in the tech industry, and it made more sense to do that here in Vilnius. Unlike Bali, where we were living, there is a real startup scene here. Sure, in Bali there are a lot of digital nomads, but it’s not exactly a place where a lot of tech companies are based.

So how was it to settle in?

My relocation experience was a bit different, as I already had a partner here. Thanks to him, finding accommodation was not an issue at all. However, as I initially said, I came here for studies. I did a Master’s program at Vilnius University, Eastern European and Russian Studies. It was only three semesters, and just after a year, I decided I wanted to stay in Vilnius so I started looking for a job. And that’s when I found the position in Whatagraph. I started working here in my last semester at the uni.

Getting all my documentation was a bit complicated as there isn’t a Lithuanian Embassy in Indonesia, so I had to get a tourist visa via the Hungarian Embassy, which also functions as the Lithuanian consulate. Then I converted that to a student visa when I got here. Since graduating from university, Whatagraph has been helping me to convert my residency permit from student to working status. They’ve basically become my sponsor, and they’ve been super great. I’d have to say that the support you get from the migration office has significantly improved since I first came here. Now, there’s a lot more English spoken and it’s a friendlier experience in general.

How do you find the working culture?

Sure. Okay, maybe there are two big differences. The first one is definitely that I feel like people here work in a much more serious fashion than people in Southeast Asia. We’re so laid back compared to the culture here. It helps when you’re getting things done, but at first, it was a bit difficult for me, because back home we just joke and talk about food all the time, and sometimes even sing in the office. And here I was, like, why is everyone so serious? I’d look at their faces and wonder why no one was smiling. But I realized it’s just a cultural thing. I completely disagree when people say Lithuanians are cold. In fact, I find people super warm here. They just communicate and show their emotions differently.

The other big difference is very positive. Here, people respect the work/life balance thing far more than they do in Indonesia. Back home, if I wanted to take time off, especially to travel, at times I’d have to lie to my boss. I’d say that I had to fly to another city for a cousin’s wedding, or something like that. Here you don’t need to hide from your colleagues, or your boss what you’re doing. It’s the opposite, they’ll actually take an interest in how your trip went.

They are very supportive and even encouraging when it comes to expressing ourselves outside of work.

What’s it like working in a startup that’s an important part of the local startup ecosystem?

I love startups in general because the working environment is so diverse. For a start, we work with many different nationalities, and just so many people with different approaches to things. It’s such a fluid and creative space – brainstorming is always encouraged and everyone’s opinions are valued. And that’s usually not something you can count on in big corporations. What can be challenging is that sometimes changes and updates happen at such a rapid pace, demanding flexibility and adaptability to stay ahead.

Then there are the opportunities. One of the things that’s also great with startups, and this is true at Whatagraph, is that there are always more chances for cross-department collaboration. This means you not only get a clearer picture of what the other parts of the company are doing, but have a chance to see if that department might be a better fit for you. So, it has massive value for you when you are building your career.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at Whatagraph?

Sure! As a Senior Customer Success Manager, I specialize in empowering high-value clients to effectively connect, organize, visualize, and share their marketing data using our all-in-one marketing data platform. My role involves leading onboarding sessions and executive business reviews, managing retention and renewal processes, facilitating subscription upgrades, communicating product updates, and fostering brand advocacy among clients. By providing personalized support and strategic guidance, I help clients maximize the value they derive from our platform and drive meaningful results for their businesses.

Coming back to work-life balance. What do you do with your spare time?

My partner and I are keen travellers. So it’s nice to be based here because Lithuania is in the EU and Schengen area, making it very easy to travel to other European countries, even to other continents! Tickets are also quite cheap. So, I’ve tried to travel as much as possible. I also have other interests that I pursue in my spare time. I do acting. One of my recent projects was the Work in Lithuania ad, which now has 1.6 million views! I’m super proud to be doing my small part to attract other talented people to my new home!

The interview was conducted in April 2024.