Irina Roșu, CEO of Group Farmavet, talks about professional and personal challenges in 2020, in an interview for Business Magazine - The 100 Strongest Women in Business Catalogue, April 2021 edition
Business MAGAZIN annually publishes answers from the most prominent female entrepreneurs or representatives of multinational companies, whose presence on the following pages has been ensured on the basis of criteria that have already become a tradition: versatility (the variety of the projects in which they are involved — in business and outside it); notoriety; the degree of social involvement; the overcoming of obstacles in their career path; the number of employees and the revenues of the companies which they represent (data provided by the company representatives or retrieved from publicly available data).
1. The most important lesson which I have learned during the pandemic is:
The most important lesson learned during the pandemic has probably been the awareness of the weaknesses of individualism and the greatness of our collective strength. We have been reminded that we are all vulnerable, that we care about and are responsible for those around us. We have been reminded to be simply human.
2. The most important decision which I have made during the past year:
The same decision which I always make, which I have always made: to believe in people!
Anyone can be extremely valuable if given the chance to do what he or she knows best and to use his or her talents, if shown trust and support and if brought in the midst of other equally enthusiastic and gifted colleagues.
This is, I think, the decision which has made it possible for the Group to survive and also grow in the context of the pandemic crisis.
3. Working from home or from the office? Why is that?
I do not believe in extremes. The middle ground is always the best solution.
First of all, I think it is important to understand that we are talking about a very limited scope. There are many people who do not have the luxury to choose. For example, those who work in commercial stores, factories, warehouses, farms, medical practices or hospitals.
For office activities, we have clearly entered an era in which working from home is the norm.
Therefore, I think it is very important to ensure flexibility according to each person’s needs.
But a flexible schedule should not mean chaos. A flexible schedule also requires a lot of discipline and responsibility:
- Varied working hours, but with a clear period of overlap with the rest of the company, so that there might be support for the field activities throughout their duration;
- Ensuring a professional workspace that can be used in an organized manner, with an open space concept, but also with conference rooms or individual study rooms;
- Organising meetings in person for personal feedback or for major moments in the life of an interdepartmental project.
4. How I have kept my colleagues motivated for the past year:
First of all, I have felt that it is very important to keep the team engaged, with a coherent job routine (clear objectives and deadlines, participation in interdepartmental projects, coherent communication, both written and verbal, at least by video-conferencing, whenever teleworking is possible, as is the case with office activities).
I have focused on creativity and overcoming current limits, shifting the focus to projects with long-term added value.
And last but not least, I have advocated enhanced communication within the organisation. I have insisted on our getting to know our colleagues as well as possible, on quickly integrating newcomers and, above all, on sharing any good news and positive examples, and any information that might have a positive impact on us.
5. The place where I find the energy needed to overcome a crisis, such as the one generated by the pandemic:
That place is obviously home. Although I work a lot from home, it is only in the evening, when I end the work for the day, that I realize that I am in my cosy haven, with my family by my side, where I find lost simplicity and normality.
Quite often, on such evenings, I have ‘virtual’ meetings with my management team colleagues, to ‘raise’ a glass of wine and to take turns playing Ion Creanga while recollecting the Memories of the day’s adventures, enjoying the outcome of our efforts and finding the humour in every situation beyond the turmoil and problems faced.
6. The person who has inspired me the most during this period:
My husband is the one who inspires me and gives me the mental balance that I need. For the most part, he is the one who has helped me to evolve and build my career simply by having believed in me and by always being there for me in my moments of greatest worry.
He manages to keep a good grip on reality, to be very pragmatic and to turn any serious problem into simple matters that are easy to address and to accept.
7. Power versus femininity: are they mutually exclusive or quite the contrary?
Femininity is power! For me, femininity is the sum of many traits:
- Responsibility and care for those around you;
- Emotional leadership;
- The ability to turn vulnerability into willpower and action;
- Endurance and determination;
- The focus on the long-term added value.
“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger, women are already strong, it’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” (G.D. Anderson)