Success story: the Eminia Trading vice president — Sergiu Iabanji
We found out about his life before Grafit, how he's grown to love automobiles, and what a perfect manager should be like.
Sergei, tell us about your position at Grafit Holding and what duties you have.
As of today, I work as a vice president for the Eminia Trading company. At first, I was managing the purchase department, but have since been leading the analytics department for a few years now. Along with my colleagues, we improve work processes and generate, create, and develop new ideas for project growth.
What were you doing before joining Grafit?
I was born in Chisinau into a military family. Military families were frequently moving from one place to another and we were no exception. I spent five years living in Ukraine, then I lived in Belarus for another five years. I needed some time to adapt after returning to the homeland.

In 2002, I finished the Economic Academy (ASEM), faculty of Finances, majoring in Banks and Stock Exchange. After graduating, I received several work offers in the area of finances, but I refused them. At that moment, my father owned a construction company and he invited me to work with him. After a while, I understood that it wasn't something I would want to do. I went to work in the largest automotive parts importing company, Olmosdon, and worked there for 10 years. I started my path as a salesman, then was promoted to parts import manager in Grand Premium, Mercedes Center. It was a very good and useful experience, where I gained a lot of technical knowledge that helps me even today.
How did you end up in Grafit Holding?
This is a long story. When you work in one company for so many years, you get tired of monotony. I received an offer from the Mercedes office in Romania to participate in a contest for manager's position over there. I agreed to, of course. I went there, passed a 4-hour interview, and then was sent back home to wait for the results. In the meantime, I decided that I actually want to change my job and continued sending out my resumes. This is how I got to the interview in Grafit.

That was a turning point in my life, a true challenge: I received a positive response from Mercedes in Romania and Grafit called me back and told me that I am hired to Eminia Trading. Two news in one day (although Grafit was the first one). I didn't sleep for three nights, thinking about the decision.

At that time, my kid was just six months old and I didn't really want to move to another country, so I chose Grafit Holding. I can say that I've never regretted about my decision to this day. Today, I understand that back then it was exactly what I wanted but didn't know that was it.
I can say that I've never regretted about my decision to this day. Today, I understand that back then it was exactly what I wanted but didn't know that was it.
What was your career path in Grafit?
I started out as a purchasing manager, we've had 2 teams in the project: purchasing and sales teams. These were the tough times – we had to work a lot, even overtime, but I felt that I was working on something big and important, and was doing everything with pleasure. We worked on project development and, as you can see, it was worth all the invested effort.

A bit later, I received a proposal from the administration to become a vice president for the project, generate new ideas, manage both the sales and the purchase teams as well as the analytics department team. One more challenge that I accepted and don't regret it.
What is the Eminia Trading project exactly? What markets do you work with?
Eminia sells automotive parts from the world's best car makes. There are a lot of dealers in Europe, whose deposits hold a huge amount of goods that become obsolete over time as technologies become more advanced. According to statistics, 70% of those, who buy cars, stop dealing with official dealers in terms of maintenance in just 5 years, and the latter end up left with the parts that were initially meant for subsequent repairs of the vehicles that were sold. And this is where we come for help to solve the situation. We buy these obsolete parts and sell them on the markets that have a demand for them. There are cases when enterprises or deposits shut down and we buy all their stocks. In such cases, the deposit in Germany and us in Chisinau are accomplishing a huge job, namely: the analysis of each part, how to receive it, how to store it, and – most importantly – how to sell it.
What can you tell about the Eminia team?
Good things only. All are young, smart, and very ambitious, they are in love with cars and with their work. I don't think there's even one person in our team that wouldn't be interested in automobiles.

From the very beginning, when we were hiring people into the team, all candidates were seemingly growing gloomy when hearing that it's about automotive parts. Right now, everyone has grown into a very strong team, most of which are females.
Do you like your job? Why?
You know, I don't want to sound trivial, but it's very important to work in a team with smart people. No matter what unexpected situation arise, a smart person will always quickly find a solution. This is what I like very much. Also, I like the attitude towards every employee in the company, the human factor. In here, you are understood, supported, and valued for every initiative and idea.

Besides, the salaries are very good compared to other companies, which allows us to stay home with our families, relatives, and friends. I think it's this factor precisely that stopped me from moving to Romania. I have a lot of friends, who went abroad and are now telling me that they want to return home. They're asking, if they have any chance to find a well-paid job in Moldova. I'm always telling them that everything is possible, even if salaries aren't comparable to the European ones, because the expenses there are much higher there, than here.
Your colleagues are calling you the God of Excel. Why?
Just Excel? :) I'm joking. My love for Excel emerged in 2004 when I was working in Olmosdon. At the moment, accounting software wasn't quite developed in Moldavian companies. Although there was some sort of accounting software in the head office, branches didn't have anything. An administrator of one branch built all the accounting in Excel and managed to make real software that had sales record, generated a list for replenishing the branch stock, made collation, and so on. I thoroughly studied its functions and found out it was limitless, especially considering that a lot of things can be accomplished automatically by simply pressing a button. So, after figuring out all the possibilities, I have been replenishing my knowledge about it every day for 15 years now.
How do you manage to combine your work with family life?
I wasn't really succeeding in this previously, because I was working a lot, even overtime. But, I eventually understood that it wasn't very good for my family that I was frequently neglecting, and that children really need attention and time. Today, not always, but very often, my business day is 8 hours, after which I'm coming home, having dinner, and am going for a bike ride with my kids, for example. I am happy to spend time with them!
We've hear you have a very interesting hobby.
Yes, I've been training karate since age 13. It's more than a hobby for me – it's a lifestyle. I've had several breaks – after my first child was born and then after the birth of my second child. Even health issues and a surgery didn't make me give up on doing sports and karate. I feel myself much better when I have sport in my life. In fact, my son is training judo right now with the same master that's teaching me karate. So, it turns out, I transferred my hobby to him.
Why is it cool to be a part of the Eminia Trading team?
As I already said, it's great to work with smart people, who find quick and effective decisions. The attitude to employees – not just in Eminia, but in all of Grafit Holding – is very good, I would even say it's excellent. Besides, this is an opportunity to build a successful career, have a good salary, and be close to your loved ones, which is very important to the reality that we live in today.