I am Raluca Leonte, the CEO of Webhelp Romania, member of Webhelp Group, global leader in business process outsourcing, with 20 years of proven success on the Romanian market. Our team of over 2,000 members provides innovative outsourcing solutions, in 14 languages, across 4 delivery centers in: Bucharest, Ploiesti, Galati and Iasi.
We drive operational performance and deliver a real and lasting transformation for some of the world’s most progressive brands, such as Samsung, easyJet or Sephora. We also offer a wide range of services from contact centers to software solutions, data analysis and back office operations across multiple channels.
How did you start your career? Which were your first steps? How did you envision your career?
I started my career at Webhelp 14 years ago as a customer advisor. It also happened to be my first job. At that time, as a student, I didn’t have a career plan and I just wanted a nice job for the summer vacation so that I could use and improve my French.
If someone had told me that one day, I would have the possibility to write my career’s book (an interesting one I believe), “from advisor to CEO”, I would have laughed. And yet, I have now reached that point and I always remind myself that swinging for the fences as well as working hard was absolutely worth it.
What were your key career moments (those that had an impact on your professional journey)?
Webhelp has offered me these kind of moments from the first months on the job. The ones that had an important impact on me from both a professional and a personal perspective were the years I have spent abroad – 1 year in Paris and another one in Lisbon. These international mobilities have been an incredible opportunity to experience different ways of working and get in touch with some amazing cultures.
Another key moment in my career was my appointment as the CEO of the Romanian subsidiary. This role comes with the full responsibility for the business and the team I work with. I am in a better position to address the transformation process, to be an innovation sponsor, to develop new services within Webhelp Romania and a lot of career opportunities for our people.
What is the best three most valuable career lessons you have learned?
The first and the most important one is that people are our best asset and they make the difference in our business.
The second one is that true leaders support their teams’ professional development and they also surround themselves with professionals that are better than them. This is the only way to capitalize on an organization’s full potential.
And finally, my most important lesson was to embrace change, even if it can, sometimes, get you out of your comfort zone. There’s no point in fighting it. Your clients will adopt new services, products or ways of living anyway. So, be open-minded and put your best effort to adapt to the market.
Why did you choose Business Service Industry? What were top 3 reasons for choosing Webhelp?
When I considered getting a job, the BPO industry was one of the few offering a summertime job and career opportunities for entry-level candidates. The possibility to join a French start-up environment was a plus, as I was not a big fan of bureaucracy.
Today we might take many things for granted. But young generations are dynamic and embrace change very fast, faster than what I was used to. And that is what Webhelp is all about – a fun academy giving you the first great career push.
To unlock our team members’ unique potential, we provide them with the resources they need to excel: a dedicated university, coaching, guidance and a wide range of mobilities in all our 140 sites around the world.
And yes, I’m the living proof that Webhelp offers you a ticket to anywhere your heart desires. For me it was from Galati to Lisbon and Paris with a layover in Bucharest.
What are your/your company’s plans for 2020?
We look for innovative, problem-solving process, we continue to invest in artificial intelligence to help our clients overcome legacy systems and provide best practice guidance, technical support and integration.
Our efforts are focused on meeting and exceeding our client’s expectations, on convincing the local market players to consider outsourcing as the most efficient and profitable solution for managing the relation with their customers.
And, besides finding the perfect mix of services for each of our clients, we are involved in educating the next generation of professionals. We are the only private company participating in RECTEC international program developed by several well-known international education and public institutions from France, Luxembourg and Belgium that aims to identify and teach tomorrow’s skills necessary on our market. In addition to that, we sponsor a BPO MA program in Romania.
What do you think would be the keywords of the year for managers in the Business Services industry? Automation? Cutting costs?
In an industry as dynamic as BPO is, versatility, innovation and creativity are essential. These are the key ingredients that will make the difference now and in the following decades as well.
Tell us a little bit about your private life. Tell us about your passions, family. What do you do to relax?
Having fun at work is part of our DNA. I take my daily dose of good vibes by having the morning coffee or the lunch with my team, joking around and going through the agenda of the day ahead. And, no matter how erratic my schedule is, I find time for sports, reading and a good shopping session.
If you were starting now your career, knowing the present and near future opportunities, what would you do? What career would you pursue?
If I were to start over, I would still choose to work for a multinational company in the service industry.
The team dynamics and workplace agility have kept me at Webhelp for all these years. I still highly value these aspects. However, today I look beyond productivity – I appreciate the freedom to innovate and identify opportunities that others have missed. Whether we talk about exponential growth or new career stages, I think we can all benefit from international mobility around the world.
What are the top 3 skills that you would develop?
In my opinion being a successful leader requires strategic thinking, emotional intelligence and knowing how to unlock the potential in others. So, these would be the top 3 skills to develop by anyone aspiring to become a great leader.
What would you do and what would you avoid doing? – practical advice to young professionals.
DO: rely more on mentorship programs for more perspective. Training on the job is not enough. Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
Avoid: to consider that working harder than specified in the job description is a sacrifice. It is a long-term investment worth doing. All your efforts will pay off in the right circumstances.