Cristina Bleoju, HR Business Partner – Carestream Dental
My name is Cristina Bleoju, and I am HR Business Partner for the Romanian Office of Carestream Dental, a global leader in the digital dentistry market, employing 1600 people around the world. I have been one of the founders of the Shared Service Center in Bucharest back in 2018, when we began with a small team of 38, transferred, from Carestream Health after the dental business sale. Since then, the business service centre in Bucharest has been growing and we are now more than 120 people.
When I started my first full-time job in 2004, after graduating International Economic Relations, I did not know that I wanted to work in human resources and I took my time interviewing and looking for the right company where I could feel it’s a good place to grow and see what’s there for me professionally. As it happens, the first employer that met my expectations was in the HR services business. Although I was accepted as a Sales Trainee, I had a lot of opportunities to learn what human resources means and on the next occasion, I made a change to a junior position in the HR department of a big construction company at that time. Working with people and being involved in the decisions that impact people in an organisation is what appealed to me in those early years.
Looking back, these 2 first job experiences, although quite short, I realise that they enabled me to see all areas of HR and shaped my career intentions on the long term. And 1 year later after my university graduation, I made up my mind that HR is the field where I would make the most of my natural strengths but also a field where I could develop professionally and do something that I like every day. I enrolled for a master’s degree in human resources management and continued to read and learn on my own to discover best practices and trends.
I have worked in different roles, in different industries, and with different businesses, mostly entrepreneurial, small and big, local and international, and there are a few lessons that I have learnt in the course of my career:
- You should look for jobs that meet at least 2 of the following 3 conditions: you like what you do at your job, you make enough money to feel comfortable, and you continue to learn and grow.
- When you do not know something and you are new to a place or a process, first listen to what others have to say, then enquire and investigate, make friends, and then start sharing what you know and your suggestions
- Be honest with yourself and others about your expectations and your goals, otherwise don’t be surprised you have the job you do not like or you are in the wrong environment or you make less money than you need.
When I first started to work in a shared service in 2015, I had little knowledge of how this type of business is organised and what kind of environment they provided, but I knew recruitment, and I knew there isn’t anything that I could not learn fast. After more than 7 years in this industry, working for 2 global companies that have decided to transfer activities to Bucharest, I can say it turned out to be an amazing journey of learning about different cultures and different practices, alongside people that are customer-oriented, polite, and always looking to find a positive solution to problems.
My decision to join Carestream Dental in 2018 as an HR lead for the Bucharest shared service centre was mostly based on what I knew about the business and people, but also based on my personal career goals:
- Carestream Dental was a high-tech dental business with a global footprint and attractive financial results;
- I had the chance to know its very driven and result-oriented team from the time I was working for Carestream Health, and I really liked the;
- The opportunity to participate in the setup of a new shared service entity and establish HR policies and processes was a challenge I was prepared for.
While I am indeed a bit workaholic and very much involved with my job, I do have a life outside of work that includes reading, gardening, handcrafting, and tending to a small group of cats and dogs in my household. On occasion, I find myself binging on Crime or Sci-Fi series as well, as I do not travel so much as I used to before the pandemic.
I have often thought at the current labour market and the technology and opportunities available now compared to 18 years ago, when I started as a professional. If I were to start my career at this moment, I would for sure choose HR again, but I would also take advantage of all the information that is out there online about different careers, industries and working environments. And I would be open and prepared to convert my skills and my career in a fast and continuously changing world.
There are 3 skills that I believe to be important to develop in the world we are living, and they are all soft skills:
I would also stretch on the importance of speaking more than one foreign language.
Working in HR and recruitment specifically has put me in a lot of contact with young professionals, and there are some recommendations that I would make to them to potentially help them avoid disappointment and enjoy a fulfilling professional life:
- Learn to ask questions, DON’T assume you know or it will be revealed to you sooner or later.
- Be patient, some things do take time, but DON’T linger if you’re receiving too many bad signs.
- Take your own decisions, DON’T let others influence you when your heart tells you differently.
- Be kind, leave a door open, DON’T assume you will never come around the same people again.
- Accept and integrate feedback, DON’T take suggestions of improvement as an attack.
- Accept challenges and opportunities to expand skills and responsibilities, DON’T ask what the increase in pay will be.
Raluca Bujita, Purchasing Manager – Carestream Dental
My name is Raluca Bujita and I have been a proud member of the Carestream Dental family since early 2018, when I joined the Shared Service Center in Bucharest, as a Commodity Manager. We belong to the Digital Dentistry Industry and continue to be a market leader, year after year, at a global level. If you ever, and I am sure you have, visited a dentist clinic, and they had to take a picture of your teeth using that big machine spinning around your head, that is just one example of the equipment we produce.
Coming back to my role in the company, this year I have added a new “hat” on top of my existing one, as a team manager for the Purchasing team in Bucharest. So, I can say by myself that I am a “new manager”, doing her best to be a leader for the team.
My career should have been 180 degrees different, since my studies led me to be a teacher, but, eventually, this proved to not be what I wanted. And, have started to work in Logistics and have dedicated the first 12 years of my career to this area, in different companies (Toyota, Hewlett Packard, DXC) and different roles, such as Logistics Coordinator and later Account Manager. Managing different Logistics Vendors’ accounts, offered me the great opportunity to work with Purchasing specialists who involved me in the vendors selection process. They needed my input and ranking during tenders but only from an operational perspective, never addressing the financial aspect. And this is what intrigued me: negotiating prices, commercial terms, good deals resulting in savings, etc., all these guided me to apply for a position in Purchasing, and here I am after 8 years, still discovering and facing challenges, without being afraid to ask for guidance when necessary.
Switching from Logistics to Purchasing happened during a challenging moment, as the company I worked for at that moment, did a spin off and this type of transformation always brings uncertainty for everyone. This was the moment that forced me to better analyse my future, trying to see the positive but also the opportunities that such corporate hive-off could mean for me. I applied for a Commodity Manager role in the newly formed company, got the job, and my experience in Logistics helped me quickly adapt to the new responsibilities, as there are few important connections between the two roles.
Today, I am very lucky that I can mix the two, since one of the commodities I manage, beside Marketing, is Logistics.
I am also grateful for being offered the opportunity to be the leader of a great and lean team, to be able to develop myself in a brand-new area. I am so confident that we should never stop learning, we should be a permanent student in the school of life. This, together with self-awareness and a strong belief that negative things can turn into real positives, are powerful lessons that continue to guide me closely.
Today, I see myself continuing my journey at Carestream Dental, as I highly appreciate this company for its values, such as “believe” and “own it”. Also, since the Center in Bucharest is covering multiple sectors like Finance, Logistics, Operations, Purchasing, Marketing, etc., the chances for new learning and developing opportunities are much higher. I actually had a great chance 2 years ago to be mentored by one of our Finance Directors, in a finance management program. Yes, my curiosity and willingness to learn more about finance did not end when I switched to Purchasing. Now, finance management and overall analytics are two areas where I plan to develop myself in the future.
From the first years of my career, it was clear to me that my path was not written and it can change. But, it was much later when I accepted that mistakes can be really delicious and we can learn from them, and also that I am actually doing better than I think. I would for sure follow this guide, if I had a blank page for my career in front of me. Being up to date with the technology, new apps such as Teams, Power BI, etc. is key for so many different roles and there are several free online resources today for us to learn, which makes everything much easier. I am coming back to this advice, that we should never be done learning, as I see it as mandatory when talking about professional career development.
A healthy work-life balance is also critical for me. I am a very happy wife, married to a great guy working in Sales (can you imagine the discussion between Purchasing and Sales?!), we have 2 cats and love to spend our time taking very long walks, discovering new places in Bucharest, and making vacation plans. Travelling is a big passion of mine, my wish list contains almost all European cities, but I would love to visit Japan and South Korea one day.