Sorina Donisa, CEO since 2010, 1998 – 2010 – CFO, at APT Resources & Services (2400 employees in Romania at APT Grup level. Services: HR Outsourcing, Recruitment, Temp staffing, Admin and Payroll)
How did you start your career? Which were your first steps? How did you envision your career?
Ever since I was a young teenager, I wanted to become a veterinary. Even if I didn’t become one, my life was always full of pets: dogs, cats, parrots, pigeons and rabbits, always, in pairs. I started my career as a promoter for Coca Cola back when nobody believed that they will find Coca Cola at every street corner. At that time (1994), Coca Cola was a rare commodity that you could only find in Airports or Duty Free. Thus, it was difficult to convince entrepreneurs, as a young lady in her twenties, that they will be able to order an entire track of Coca Cola just by sending an order!
On my next job, I was working as secretary for a small real estate agency, then as an accountant in Timisoara, but everything changed when I moved to Bucharest. I remember even today, 20 years later, my interview for the accountant job in APT and how thrilled I was when I’ve got the job and met the team. My real career journey started with Apt and this is where I learned how fast business is moving, how the economy influences the growth, how partnerships are built on trust and where I made friends for life.
What were your key career moments (those that had an impact on your professional journey)?
A very important moment in my career was the moment when Marilena Petrec and Andrew Littauer, the founders of the company gave me the chance to become their partner. The trust and confidence of my team during my journey in APT played a huge role in my career, I always rely on them and they help me find my balance no matter what difficulties I have encountered over time.
I always said that APT grew together with it’s partners, the opportunities and challenges that they gave us made us courageous, eager to prove that we deliver what we promised and APT’s growth is a result of those people’s trust and evolution.
Crisis played another important role in my career, I learned that in life you need to know how to lose and even when you lose you must never give up. If you want to be successful you need to adapt constantly!
What is the best three most valuable career lessons you have learned?
Not be afraid to hire people that can be better than you. It is a known fact that you are learning as long as you live. I see this process as a partnership between me and my team for a successful future.
Keep your promises, be honest and transparent as the trust of your team is built on these pillars.
When you don’t have enough information to decide, trust your instinct.
Don’t compromise on integrity. If you compromise once, you will set the wrong example for your team and this is unacceptable.
Why did you choose Business Service Industry? What were top 3 reasons for choosing APT?
Main reason is due the people. I spent most of the time with them at the office, this is why, it is very important to have next to you a special team. I was attracted by the entrepreneurial culture, freedom of decision, a place where you can put in practice your ideas. Especially for the youngest colleagues it is an excellent opportunity to learn. Business Services Industry offers you the opportunity to see from different angles a lot of industries, processes, business models. It is true that you are working in one company but you can see what happens in dozens of industries. It is one of the industries of the future, in which the evolution of technology is the most visible. Keeps you pinned with continuous challenges since it is an industry of people. Although we continue to digitize, the need for connection, empathy and listening is intense.
What are your/your company’s plans for 2020?
The most important: keeping our colleagues happy at work! Starting from here the plans are:
Grow the business especially in Recruitment and Temp staffing business line where we plan to reach over 3000 people. Beside the 3 branches we already have in Brasov, Timisoara and Iasi we will open a Branch in Sibiu and we plan for another one this year.
Because we believe in technology and we want to make our life easier we are implementing a new recruitment software which allows us to simplify our processes and trough automatization increase our productivity and let our people do the smart things and not the boring ones.
We will go through a rebranding process and we especially like to point out that this year APT celebrates it’s 25 anniversary.
What do you think would be the keywords of the year for managers in the Business Services industry? Automation? Cutting costs?
PEOPLE – Engagement
No matter how much technology is around us, there will be always the human touch that can’t be replaced. Let’s not forget that people created the technology. In other words, the most valuable in the technology era are PEOPLE.
Tell us a little bit about your private life. Tell us about your passions, family. What do you do to relax?
I have two kids, which are not kids anymore and I always joke saying that my kids don’t need me anymore, only my credit card! My daughter Diana which is 24 will finalize her University studies this year with a licence in stomatology and despite of the current trend among her colleagues, she does not want to leave Romania. I am glad to see that my call for medicine was inherited by Diana My son Carol experiences Germany this year and he is still searching what he wants to do in life, like most of Z generation.
I love spending time with my family, which is more and more difficult nowadays because we have different schedules and plans but we still manage to go skiing in vacations. And because my daughter and myself share the same passion, I love spending time with her doing horse riding.
If you were starting now your career, knowing the present and near future opportunities, what would you do? What career would you pursue?
I would keep the business service industry and I would choose something which relates more with artificial intelligence and how we can use artificial intelligence to help people to learn new technology and adapt in an era of digitalization no matter the age and profession.
What are the top 3 skills that you would develop?
Digital competences, emotional and social intelligence, adaptability and flexibility.
What would you do and what would you avoid doing? – practical advice to young professionals.
- Take challenges, always keep an open mind and perseverance.
- Avoid doing – don’t stay too much in the comfort zone