Victor Bostan's success story: from Sales Representative to Vice President of SovaMax.
The career of Victor Bostan, the vice president for the SovaMax project of the holding is a stark example of #successtory that has become reality in just a few years. Victor managed to work in Moldova, tried to move abroad, but ultimately has built a career at home, in Grafit Holding. We explored his story in detail!
Tell about yourself before becoming the vice president for one of Grafit Holding's companies.
I studied at Cervantes, a Spanish-Moldavian lyceum, then I graduated from the State Agrarian University – the faculty of cadaster and land management. It was interesting to me in that period, but I ultimately understood that it wasn't for me.
I started working at 15 in an area close to the one I'm working in right now – in a private print house. Initially, it was a summer part-time job, but I eventually made an agreement with my boss about working on weekends all year round. I worked there until age 21 before my friends that were providing consultation regarding the acquirement of Romanian citizenship invited me to work with them. That was something new and interesting, so I worked there for 2 years before getting married.
After the wedding I tried to start my own business twice: at first, I opened a private print house, then I opened a household chemicals store. None of them turned out a good idea and I understood that I'm not about creating businesses, so I, along with my wife, decided to emigrate to another country.
Where did you decide to emigrate and why did you return home?
At first, we wanted to go to Norway, but the language turned out to be too difficult. Therefore, we decided that England was the best option for us. I studied English my entire life, so I knew it very well. I and my wife found a company in Moldova that sent us to England. Of course, we went to the minimum salary on not the best job in the world – hotel room cleaning.
The first job wasn't the best experience in my life and soon I went to work as a porter in the Four Seasons hotel and quickly became a supervisor. It was cool there! You are taken care of for the first three days – you are shown the entire hotel, the rooms that Bill Gates and Abramovich stayed in. The job is nice and employees are taken very good care of, but career growth is very slow. After a year of staying there, my wife got pregnant and we decided to go back. The main reason for leaving was medical services: they are very expensive. A child isn't a lottery, and their health was much more important to us.
After all, we aren't the same generation with our parents, when people were prepared to leave their kids at home and go to work abroad for years. So, this is how we came back home.
How did you get hired at Grafit Holding?
After returning from London in 2015, I sent my CV to several companies and SovaMax was one of them. My interview in SovaMax was harsh. Four managers attended it! They asked me many questions and it seemed that they are reading my every reaction. But I passed the interview successfully.
Despite the sharp change of activity, it was very interesting to me. I started to evolve in B2B business and talked to foreign customers that were experienced 'sharks,' so getting their attention wasn't an easy task. It was difficult, but I went through that period because I've had people, who were supporting me at home as well as at work. In Grafit, it was Alla Kihai, my manager at that time. She told me that I simply had to be patient and everything would be fine. I listened to her advice and became a team manager one year later.
What is the job of a manager at Grafit Holding?
It's 50% sales and 50% working with people. A lot of what I do is imperceptible. The job of a manager at Grafit is absolutely not what people imagine when they hear the word 'manager.' At some point, even I thought that working in this position doesn't imply any real work – you just drink coffee, while other people are doing your job. Everything is different in our holding – it's complete involvement in all of your team's tasks. Here, the manager always sees everything, knows everything, and helps everywhere.
How did you become the SovaMax vice president?
It happened suddenly. My supervisor became the CEO of SovaMax USA and the position of the vice president became vacant. I was hired for this position, and it literally became a challenge, because I've worked as the manager of the customer service team for two years. As a manager, you aren't responsible for anything, but your team and your supervisor always have your back. When you become a vice president yourself, no one is going to back you up or "have pity" on you. This is a completely different level of responsibility with its advantages and disadvantages, but even here I had a great leader in the face of Viorica Sirbu.
I am very glad about the fact that I wasn't the only person advancing on the career ladder, but my colleagues from my first team succeeded, as well. I feel proud about managing to help other people, not just myself. This is what a real leader must do – help their people become better.
I feel proud about managing to help other people, not just myself. This is what a real leader must do – help their people become better.
And how did you and your project sustain 2020?
It was difficult but, luckily, we've had a happy ending. Personally, I've had a hard time separating work time from my personal time, because there's always my little daughter waiting for me at home. She's gotten used to getting my attention whenever I'm home. During the lockdown, I had to be online and work for 8 hours straight. Everybody says that they want to work from home, but when it happened, people understood that it's not that easy.
Upon returning to the office, first of all, people were very afraid of the virus. Secondly, we had to get used to office work once again. But we succeeded. Yes, in the beginning, we've had a drawdown in sales and purchases, but when summer came we were already giving a hundred and ten percent. Last year ended happily and now we have great plans for 2021.
What do you love your job for?
For a lot of things! The people, the company, the status, the opportunity to work in my home country. All of this makes me happy. And a good salary, too – it also brings me joy. I always have a desire to come to work, so when I wake up, one of the very first things that I do is thinking over my work plans. I am happy here. Grafit Holding employs people, with whom you are on the same page and understand each other perfectly. My happiness is also affected by a beautiful office in the center of Chisinau. You feel that you are a part of something bigger when you're in it.
I always have a desire to come to work, so when I wake up, one of the very first things that I do is thinking over my work plans. I am happy here.
What is the vice president doing in their free time? Do you have a hobby?
I have two huge hobbies. First is I love reading. I read everything that's interesting to me. I rarely remember the names of the books, but there's one that stands out in my memory – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main character of the book is looking for his place in the world both physically and morally. He travels around the world a lot, meets different people, and ultimately understands that it's not the goal that's important, but the way. In the past, I used to read a lot of educational literature on business and thought that it's going to help me in my work, but I didn't find those books quite useful when it came to practice. Because practice and theory are two different things.
The second hobby is my kid. She's 5 years old and I understand that she's a new person every new day. I want to get to know her every day, understand her character, and be a part of her. We are born anew through our children. I want her to take the best from me.
What's more important – the job or the family?
It's 50/50. In order to have financial comfort and personal development, it's necessary to work. I take everything that the job gives me to the family. The family, in turn, gives me calmness, love, and family warmth. And that's exactly what I need to be productive on my job. This is the necessary cycle for a balance in life.