Mariana Godoroja: how to become a successful woman in Moldova and what is the secret of an effective team management.
We are pleased to share with you a brand-new interview from our #success story heading. Mariana Godoroja Head of Eminia Trading, which is one of the holding's top projects. We have found out how Mariana became a part of Grafit, how difficult it is for women to succeed in Moldova and what is the secret of effective team management.
You applied for a job at Grafit as an experienced manager. What was your job before working in the holding?
I have a degree in accounting, but I did not manage to work in the field related to my degree. Nevertheless, my education helped me to develop my analytical skills, despite that fact that I am a creative person. In the 3rd year of the university I already worked as an office assistant.

After graduating from the university, I was lucky enough to get a job at AVON in the sales department, where in 10 years I grew up to the head of the marketing and sales department. However, the crisis of 2011-2012 affected my life. The company reduced the number of high positions in the Moldovan branch, and I was offered a lower position, at that time I already wanted something more and I quitted my job at this company.

While I was looking for a new job, I saw a Grafit vacancy. I sent my resume and passed interview. I was offered to start my career at the origins of a startup that deals with the purchase and sale of surplus goods in the automotive parts industry on the European markets. Despite my radical career change, I made up my mind to work in Grafit. The project team was just being formed, and I had the opportunity to use my knowledge, gained at the previous job, and to develop the project. That's how I got into Eminia project, where I am still working. My job is very dynamic and interesting.
Do you think it is more difficult for Moldovan women to succeed than for men? And why?
I don't think that nowadays it is difficult for women to succeed. Most of my friends are successful women. I'll tell you more: most of the Grafit managers are women. It seems to me that if you have a goal, which you are striving for, applying all of your energy, then you'll succeed for sure, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man. Our corporate culture does not divide people by gender. The team and the atmosphere are much more important.
Most of my friends are successful women. I'll tell you more: most of the Grafit managers are women. It seems to me that if you have a goal, which you are striving for, applying all of your energy, then you'll succeed for sure, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man.
You worked in Grafit, then quit your job and came back again. How did it happen? Why?
Yes, that's right. Everything was fine. But then I found out that my friend was promoted and she recommended me to take her place at the Herbalife branch in Moldova. The specifics of work in this company was familiar to me, and after I had evaluated all the pros and cons, I agreed. This was not an easy decision for me, but I realized that I would not forgive myself for the missed opportunity to be a branch administrator in an international company. At that time, Grafit Holding did not have an internal corporate culture as it does now. I missed that type of atmosphere. Now, I can say for sure that we are no longer different from any big international company.

During a year and a half at Herbalife, I learned to think positively and made many friends. I managed to contribute to the development of the Moldovan branch, but, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to influence the processes, since in large corporations the processes are internationally spread from the head office. Moreover, I did not stop communicating with my Grafit colleagues during this period. They often called me and asked for advice, or simply shared their successes and achievements. I was always happy to help them and I felt how people trusted me. So, one day I was offered to return to Grafit and I accepted the offer. The reason for my comeback is the Eminia team - people who are ready to constantly develop themselves. I got more energy and a desire to teach people, to be closer to them and to grow together. We have only moved forward since then.
What is the Eminia team? And what is your special approach to people?
Eminia is a young team, where one stands for all and all stand for one. I really appreciate the people who work in Eminia and I believe in them.

My approach to colleagues consists of equality, empathy, communication and motivation. I do not like to make distinctions between colleagues and to treat myself as "somewhere on the top". We are all one team, and we have one goal - to work hard and to succeed. So, I am always ready to listen to everyone, to give a piece of advice or to help with making a decision, if it is necessary. That is how we created an open-door policy. Everyone has the right to speak up and express his/her opinion. Every employee must be heard!

In addition, people should be motivated, because it increases the employee's self-confidence. Motivation is not always about money. I believe that inner motivation has a greater influence, which encourages people to be their best and to develop their professional skills. We, together with the management team, are trying to develop this type of motivation.

I trust my colleagues, but I admit that sometimes I check them. I believe, when a person is trusted and appreciated, then he becomes more responsible and changes his attitude to work. I don't like being a gendarme. Perhaps this kind of management brings results in the short term, but I am all for long-term results. Therefore, we have some colleagues in the team who have been working with us for 5-6 years.

In our project, we also try to understand what things could be changed for the better. For example, if we notice some skills of an employee, we can create a new position to make him feel at his place. So, he will be able to show his skills and also benefit the company. Let us take another example - we have optimized processes to work most efficiently. We are constantly changing and trying to develop employees. We are not working according to templates, we are trying to contribute to the development of the company.
I believe, when a person is trusted and appreciated, then he becomes more responsible and changes his attitude to work.
How do you make the team's working days more interesting?
A language school was launched within the entire holding. Many colleagues signed up there, because it is a great opportunity to improve language skills or to learn a new one and to earn even more. In addition, we send our employees to trainings, as well as invite professional coaches to conduct trainings in the holding.

At Eminia we organize quarterly lotteries to entertain our employees. Each employee receives a coupon or several depending on the results. The higher the results are, the more coupons the employee has, and more chances to win a prize. But sometimes fortune favors the one who has only one coupon, and not the one who has 10-20 coupons. We give a valuable prize so that colleagues keep a good memory of the company. People want to feel positive emotions and we try to give it to them.

In addition to the lottery, we have our own interactive activities at Eminia. For example, we organize "prize donuts" in the sales department twice a week. This game is called "donuts" because of the abbreviation PN - part number – ponchiki in Russian:) On certain days we select 10-20 product codes that need to be sold at a special price as fast as it is possible. People usually get excited, so this game helps us to get rid of our daily routine. These are small things, but it makes a big difference to be the first and to sell the entire list of codes. Of course, at the end of the game you get a pack of real donuts.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I help different people, my friends and acquaintances. They often call me and say: "You probably know the answer, you can help me." Sometimes it is very difficult to just give your energy and time and to get nothing in return (it happens), but I get satisfaction by doing a good deed and I cannot refuse people. The fact that I can be useful for people who trust me, makes me more confident. I am an insanely curious person by nature,so if I do not possess some information, I immediately google it to stay tuned and to share knowledge with others.

In addition, I also do handicrafts. Now I have taken on the project of embroidering an authentic national shirt. This is a long-term activity that will take about a year, but it is kind of a meditation for me. While I am embroidering, different ideas come to my mind. The next day I can come with something new at work. Sometimes I just like to turn on the music and dance at home. In the evenings and on weekends, I enjoy watching documentaries and biopics. These things develop my personality.
What does it mean to be a part of Grafit Holding?
It's a philosophical question. I am proud to bepart of Grafit and I am very grateful for the fact that Grafit believes in me and trusts me. I am a woman of my word and I try not to let anyone down or disappoint. Talking in vain is not about me.

Grafit is a huge holding where everyone is interested to succeed, so I have no doubt that we will go far together. The main thing is to think positively and to move towards the goal!
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