[Meet Our Industry Ambassadors] – Stefanini EMEA

//[Meet Our Industry Ambassadors] – Stefanini EMEA

Florin Stefan, Application Development Director – Stefanini EMEA

I’m Florin Stefan, Application Development Director at Stefanini EMEA since 2018, managing the Application Development Center across all business lines, implementing the delivery strategy for services such as: NextGen applications, Digital AMS, Digital Software Factory, Digital Product Development, and Platform Implementation and Integration. I will soon celebrate 17 years in the company.

How did you start your career? Which were your first steps?

I began my working life at an early age, taking on various summer jobs even as a child. I always had the mindset that work is a necessary aspect of life and something that must be done.

I studied Mathematics but ended up in the IT field by chance. I had originally turned down a job as a mathematics professor and left the education field without a clear plan for my next step. Despite not having a strong interest in programming during my studies, I decided to learn it after graduation. I dedicated several months to learning programming, went through 60 job interviews, and ultimately landed a job creating solutions for an insurance company.

I transitioned into management by actively seeking out new opportunities and expressing my interest in project management during a job interview. The move was smooth as I was given more and more projects, which I accepted and successfully completed. Throughout this process, I made a point to continue learning and stay open to new challenges.

What were your key career moments?

There have been three key moments in my career that have defined my way forward.

The first main decision was when I made the call to move to Bucharest and invest my time to study programming. The second one was when I decided to transition from a Romanian company to an international one. The third was when I decided to leave programming for management, as I noticed it was natural for me to maintain good relationships with people.

I do strongly believe, however, that there are many ways to reach your objectives; what matters is to know what you want to achieve and if you are risk-averse or you prefer a more predictable path.

What are the three most valuable career lessons you have learnt?

In my opinion, the most important thing to do at the beginning of your career is to have a desire to try and experiment with diverse contexts to put yourself in a position to learn. The desire to learn is crucial.

Secondly, I think it makes a difference if you are open to new and unexpected opportunities. For me, it has been proved to be a successful approach to be open to new roles and seek change, even within the same company.

I also strongly believe that you should choose a career that entertains your curiosity. As adults, we lose the appetite to play with ideas quite often. Whatever it is that you are interested in, make sure that you choose something that you are curious about, this will help overcome the difficult moments that are inherent. You must be able to fall in love with what you do over and over again.

Why did you choose Business Services Industry?

In the beginning, I did not choose to work for specific companies, instead, it was the people I chose to work with that influenced my decisions. I was rather keen on exploring different jobs and learning new skills, and this let me have diversity, exposure, and therefore, a lot of learning opportunities.

What I believe Stefanini does well is offering opportunities to those that feel they want to explore something different. Both the Application Development Center, and Stefanini at the organizational level, provide diverse opportunities for those who seek them.

We strongly believe in supporting people to reach their potential.

Tell us a little bit about your private life: your passions, family. What do you do to relax?

I do believe that we are not different in our work or private life.

I always enjoyed sports, both team sports and individual sports, as they are entertaining for their competitiveness and performance display. I relax by listening to audiobooks, and I wouldn’t manage to unwind without them. Even though I did not enjoy reading as a teen, now I listen to around 50 books every year. Also, you’ll often find me playing chess, which is a very relaxing activity for me.

If now you were starting your career, knowing the present and near future opportunities, what would you do?

If I were to start my career now, knowing the present and near future opportunities, I would still choose to have a career in technology. I would focus on developing my skills in areas such as data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, as these are some of the most in-demand fields in the tech industry right now. Additionally, I would also make sure to continue to develop my skills in management and leadership, as these are important skills for any career in technology. I would also make sure to stay open to new and unexpected opportunities, as well as always be willing to learn and grow.

What are the top 3 skills that you would develop?

There is one single skill that I believe is valuable, regardless of the field you choose. That is the skill to learn. If you have curiosity, discipline, and a commitment to learning, you can attain a certain degree of performance in any activity of your choice.

Instead of teaching children that they can become anything they want, I strongly believe we should teach them how to learn anything they want, how to stay committed and make the required effort, as well as how to maintain their interest and curiosity.

What would you do and what would you avoid doing?—practical advice to young professionals

The most important thing you can do at the beginning of your career is to be willing to try, committed to learning, and open to experimenting.

In terms of practical advice for young professionals, I would recommend the following:

  • Be open to new opportunities and try different things. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges and explore different roles or industries.
  • Be committed to learning. Continuously develop your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your field.
  • Network and build relationships. Make connections with people in your industry and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help.
  • Be proactive and take initiative. Show your employer that you are eager to learn and make a difference.
  • Avoid being too rigid in your thinking. Be open to new ideas and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Avoid spreading yourself too thin. Instead, focus on developing a few key skills and becoming an expert in those areas.
  • Avoid being overly focused on short-term gains. Instead, look for opportunities that will help you grow and develop over the long term.
  • Avoid being too risk-averse. Sometimes taking a calculated risk can lead to greater opportunities in the long run.

I don’t think there is anything to avoid at the beginning of a career. As long as you know what your beliefs towards work are, ethics will dictate the manner in which you organize yourself, how you stay committed to your goals and how to take action and make decisions that benefit you. By having that, there is nothing to be avoided.

In the end, we are the sum of our experiences, and one of our purposes in business and in life should be to keep the game going (this is part of game theory and the infinite game’s purpose): finding the resources, willingness, and enthusiasm to keep playing is key.

Radu Baltac, Digital Workplace Director – Stefanini EMEA

I’m Radu Baltac, Digital Workplace Director at Stefanini EMEA, managing the Digital Workplace Services division at EMEA level, which is responsible for creating end-to-end solutions for our customers with Digital Transformation services, Remote and Local support, as well as Service Management & COE. I will soon celebrate 11 years in the company.

 How did you start your career? Which were your first steps? How did you envision your career?

My career in IT started way back in 2006, as a Technical Support Engineer. It was quite an easy role for me, as I was passionate about computers even before getting the job, always keen on learning more by deconstructing computers and building them back. After 2 years spent in the Technical Support Engineer role, I got promoted to Team leader. I then went on with building my career in management, taking on my next role as a Service Delivery Manager.

My vision for my career was to get as much experience as I could by putting myself in unknown situations and getting out of them with plenty of learning.

Later, in management, I discovered that what keeps me motivated is building and nurturing a strong team, with my colleagues’ help.

What were your key career moments?

One key career moment for me was when I realized what my role as a manager truly is. It was one year after joining Stefanini, when we started to grow in Sibiu, and I was involved in Presales and Sales activities with the customers. It was then that I discovered I really liked the approach Stefanini had, and I realized the potential for growth that we held.

My main motivational drive became to support my colleagues in their learning process and career growth. And it still is, after so many years, the most rewarding factor in my job.

What are the three most valuable career lessons you have learnt?

I learned that the most important thing is knowing how to choose your battles and focus on those that help drive the team forward. Also, making time to talk with your colleagues is crucial. We often get lost in back-to-back meetings, however, as a manager, it is important to be closely connected with the team.

Supporting the above, I learned to prioritize the tasks which have the biggest impact on people.

I also learned how to truly listen before taking a decision. You can learn something from anyone, and you can find great solutions if you create the space for them to come to the surface. Delegating tasks to create growth opportunities for people who seek them has become an approach I developed later in my management career and I stand by it.

Why did you choose Business Services Industry? What were the top 3 reasons for choosing your company?

I chose to work at Stefanini because I had former colleagues who recommended the culture and the team. Even now, I really enjoy working with people that make Stefanini the organization that it is.

The most important decisional factors for me were my colleagues, the work environment, and the growth opportunities, which I later discovered to be unparalleled here. In a big corporation, it is quite difficult to grow like we do in our environment. Also, I highly appreciate how fast decisions are being taken here. With the right business case and the proper arguments, you can easily reach the right person and propose your plan. We are flexible in our approach.

Tell us a little bit about your private life: your passions, family. What do you do to relax?

Two and a half years ago, my life changed a little bit—I now have two sons and my private life is being there with and for them. We really enjoy travelling and exploring together as a family, in our camper. Now, one of my passions is seeing the reactions of my oldest son when he discovers something new and seeing him get excited about his discoveries. When I do have the time, I enjoy watching movies, playing video games, and printing 3D models and painting them with my wife.

What would you do and what would you avoid doing?—practical advice to young professionals

Be mindful of career changes when you are a junior. If you like what you do, and you enjoy working with your team and manager, then it’s better for your growth and career development to stay within the same company. You need at least 2-3 years to learn everything in that role, and it can take even longer to gain the expertise you seek in certain roles. Such an approach can be more beneficial to deepening your knowledge and building a career later on, compared to job-hopping.

Be involved and open to tasks outside of your comfort zone. I noticed that people who openly received tasks beyond their comfort zone, discovered that they gained a better overview and were better prepared for upcoming challenges. Usually, managers delegate tasks to those with higher potential that display ownership and accountability in completing the tasks successfully.

Know yourself and plan your career ahead. Be aware of your current knowledge and capabilities and plan your development ahead. In the first 3-5 years, it’s important to test and experiment with what you might enjoy doing. Then, build a development plan, discuss it with your manager, and invest the effort and energy to make it happen. Only good things can come out of this approach, and I’ve seen it successfully happen over and over again.