Alina Pop, Operations & Site Quality Director – Foundever Romania
My name is Alina Pop, and I am Operations & Site Quality Director for Foundever Romania. With 170,000 people working across the globe, Foundever™ securely connects brands with their customers 9 million times daily in +60 languages. Our global footprint makes us one of the few true global players in the industry. In Romania, we currently have more than 1800 employees and we provide support in 18 languages.
As Operations Director, I work closely with the Operations Managers and all business functions to understand and identify all key areas within operations and create insights to lead from best practices. Since December 2021, I am part of the Steering Committee, the top management team which leads the business in Romania. As part of the Steering Committee, I contribute to the development and implementation of the business strategy in the short, medium, and long terms in line with the corporate strategy.
My background is technical, I graduated from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca – with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, and later I graduated from an executive MBA program. I have been with the power industry for almost 20 years with extensive experience in general management, operations, commercial and business leadership, and back in 2021 I decided to change the industry and join Foundever.
I started my work experience as a project engineer. From the beginning, I envisioned my career very clearly. My objective was always to develop myself and grow professionally, and that is why I was attracted by more complex roles, that required a lot of responsibility. This is how I managed to gain experience in top management positions for more than 15 years now.
I think that all my key career moments, the ones that truly had an impact on my professional journey, were the ones that required complexity and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I can’t really name some exact moments, but I can assure you that going out of your comfort zone will push you towards important progress.
Therefore, I think that the three most valuable lessons I have learnt throughout my career are linked to this desire for progress that has always accompanied my goals. Firstly, if you want to achieve your objectives, you must be tenacious and serious in the work you do. Secondly, it’s extremely important to build a strong team that you can trust around you. And last, but not least, always keep within yourself the desire to surpass yourself and your limits.
As I told you before, in 2021 I decided to make a major switch in my career, and change the industry I work in. I shifted from the Power Industry to Business Services Industry. From my experience over the years with interacting with clients, I realised the sheer importance of Customer Experience in the development of most businesses. I think CX is the basis of all industries. Take, for example, your favourite smartphone brand – they can make the best smartphones around, but who will buy them without being immersed in a well-rounded customer experience? At that moment I chose my current company because of its strong brand awareness and its organisational culture. Another key factor in choosing it was also the team that I was going to work with.
During the executive MBA program that I graduated from, I realised there’s a big difference between local companies and multinationals. I felt that there is more potential for personal improvement in a multinational and that’s when I first fancied a career change. Today, I can say that I took the right decision. I have the opportunity to work in a multicultural environment in a fast-paced industry, together with a wonderful team around me.
On a personal level, I am a happy mother of two teenage boys and the owner of a cute cat. I love doing Lego and reading. I also really enjoy travelling, something that I will be sure to make more time for in the future.
Knowing the present and near future opportunities, if I were to start my career today, I don’t think I would do something very different. I would surely not change my course that much. Moreover, I think I would mostly do the same, probably I would do more in some moments and less in others, but I believe that all the experiences we live are useful.
If I were to name a top 3 skills to develop, I would say: communication & human interaction, transparency & honesty (especially within a team), and rigour – always be oriented towards performance and innovation. Those will make you efficient for sure.
As advice to young professionals, the first thing I would do at the beginning of my career would be to make sure that the career I choose matches my personality, and that I am on the right path. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a career consultant to validate your choice. During your career, try to avoid an imbalance between your professional and personal life. Try to invest a balanced amount of energy between these two.