Article for Manager Magazine, Issue 8 “At the Steps of My Success” – Maya Zdravkova
Help the others feel meaningful “The satisfaction of doing the right thing and also the love for my job is what keeps me going in hard times.”
Maya Zdravkova, owner and CEO of Astrea Human Resources.
Starts her own business at the age of 23. Bachelor of psychology, Masters of Criminology – “Counteraction of crime and Protection of public order. Bachelor of Law and PhD. Of Psychological Science.
Has 11 years of experience in the sphere of Human Resources, 10 of which in her own company – Astrea. She likes to paint and read, to travel, she is interested in car sports.
Persistence, bravery, stability is without doubt what is necessary to keep going during hard times. Of course, a person always needs some luck.
I measure my accomplishments in the satisfaction of our clients and the smiles on the faces of the people I work with. I created this business to do good and when I see that it does good it makes me happy.
The right choice
You can never be sure that you’re right but I realized my business model is right when clients who have heard from other clients that we’re good in what we do, started to contact me. And when I saw the pride in the eyes of my employees that are a part of the company I created.
I was attracted in the profession by the opportunity to do good to people. The idea of being a good fairy who helps others to have a better life and live their dreams, was appealing to me. What made me happy through the years was the ability to create solutions which lead to successful realization of projects and the development of strategies for our partners.
On the steep road
I started my business in a period of economic crisis and I went through another one in 2011. It was extremely hard. The hardest moments were when I had to take an abundance of bank loans just so I can pay my employees. In the recruitment business and also in every business you are never sure if the necessary sells will cover the finance needs of the company. There was a period of time, a few months when despite the hard work of my colleagues it wasn’t working. Either the clients were closing the positions with inside candidates or they suspended positions for which we have already worked. I knew that we were doing everything we could but my co-workers were demotivated. I have a strong memory of how I hit the bottom, loaning an impossible amount of money from the bank. I called a meeting and gave bonuses to all of the employees with the message that I see and am grateful for their hard work, that I appreciate the professionalism and I know that we can make it. I asked them to keep believing in the company and the hard work just like I do. During the next few months this energy and the regained motivation changed the results drastically.
I believe that a person overcomes hard time with faith. When you believe in what you do, you always find strength to move forward.
To love your job
Means to find the strength and faith to go on, despite the hard times, challenges and provocations that you face every day. To be a leader means to grow and help others grow as professionals. When you invest in someone and give him a chance for realization based on his personal qualities. The satisfaction of doing the right thing and also the love for my job is what keeps me going in hard times. I often remember how I started and what goals I have set. I always strive to be fair with my employees, to be loyal to them and my clients no matter the mistakes I have made through the years. The mistakes and the experience have thought me to be more stable and prepared, as much as possible for new challenges. In one company, true success comes from the love and passion of the people who work in it. For us, that rule implies with full power.
The meaning of success
My success is linked with the success of my employees. I always congratulate in person and in front of the team, a person who has high results in the company. When I see the satisfaction after a finished project, when I see motivation and smiles in the mornings – that is my success. The warm feeling in your chest when your employees are happy, your clients satisfied and giving you more and more work.
The two most important questions for me are how to improve the working conditions and how to improve the quality of our services.
I was never discriminated because of my gender, but I have been because of my age. Before I was 30 years old I was hiding my age because of the prejudices. It took me a long time to build a name and grow as a professional. Now I am proud that I am 33 and have a 10-year-old business behind my back. The energy that comes from a female leader can’t be compared to the one of a man. Women have the power and bravery to create business models worth of admiration for years forward.
Advice for the next generations
To believe in themselves and the ideas they have. To be confident, empathic, and even aggressive while working for the achievement of their goals. To be persistent, to help others feel meaningful, to admit their mistakes. Always have time for your hobbies, so that they can charge you with new power and energy.