Madalina Vinaga (Employee Relations Manager, Bucharest)
Mada is a busy working mum. She juggles it all and loves everything from ice skating, to reading, to walks in the mountain. At the same time, if Mada can settle down to watch a great new series on a weekend evening, she’s in her super happy place.
What’s your biggest passion in life?
You know, I like all of the usual stuff. I enjoy long walks in the park, I love sitting in the sun, some light hiking, taking in the beauty of nature, ice-skating, and all of the things that most people love. BUT - if we are talking about actually ‘me time’, the part where I get to really decompress, it’s got to be engaging in the art of ‘couch potatoing’. Very uncomplicated and I’m a true master!
Now, that’s not something many people might say out loud, but I love it and that’s the truth. During the week, I juggle a dynamic job and motherhood (not always successfully, yet). It’s busy, so during down time, I’ll open up a new series, stock up on snacks and a lot of junk food and dive in. I don’t watch cable TV, but I’ve got all the right subscriptions, so I’m well equipped when it comes to entertainment. Netflix, Prime, HBO GO, and more - if it’s available, or coming soon, I know about it.
Tell me a little about your journey before arriving at FintechOS?
I was actually stolen from another company by a good friend, who was HR Manager here at the time. As a dear friend of mine and a person I trust, he told me “you have to take this career step”. He had very convincing arguments, so I took a deep breath and just went for it. My friend had told me all about the vision of the company and the team working at it. In particular, he told me about the Co-Founder, Sergiu.
Sergiu sounded like a visionary person, someone I would love to work for, and that’s exactly how it turned out. I admire how he works. When the pandemic struck, and all of the complicated matters that came with it, he handled everything in such a calm, elegant way. He made the right decisions, while staying true to a feeling of commitment towards FintechOS’ employees. It only served to increase my confidence in the company’s leadership.
I was hesitant before starting with FintechOS though. There was no urgent reason to leave my previous job at HotRodFun. I loved it there. HotRodFun offers guided tours in small cars, so we got people whizzing around town to check out all the sights. I was there almost from the start and watched that company evolve into one of Bucharest’s top tourist attractions. Despite that, FintechOS did seem like a good move career-wise, a start-up that was on an aggressive path to becoming a scale-up was also quite interesting for me. It definitely seemed like a positive, challenging direction for my career.
So, you made the decision to move, and how is life now?
Well, I’ve been here around one and a half years now and time has certainly not stood still! Having started out as HR Admin, after one year I was promoted to Employee Relations Manager. I had worked in operations before starting at FintechOS - that’s partly how I ended up in HR. I was involved in so many different activities in my previous job and it’s great that I can do this here too. There are various moving parts in my role, and I love that, it keeps me on my toes.
Above all, my goal is to keep people happy, to try and help them as fast as I can. There’s plenty of work here in FintechOS so it’s very action-packed and rewarding. At the same time, because we are growing so fast, there’s a constant flow of new starters. We often get comments about how quickly things happen in our HR department, we just roll up our sleeves and go for it! Of course, things are not always perfect, not in the least, but there are really passionate people working here and they improve things, every single day.
I always say to new starters “Happy first day at school!”, because for me the first day in a new job is filled with the same mix of anxiety, hope and joy. You need to find your feet and learn the ropes, but in the end it all (almost) works out.
Any big dreams for the future?
At the moment, I look forward to life after the pandemic. I never thought I would say this, but I miss some of the noisier colleagues around me. I even miss how nearby telephone discussions might sometimes interrupt my thoughts. The prospect of being back around everybody again is an exciting one for me.
Looking ahead, I see my career growing as my child becomes older and more independent. I may move to a leadership position, maybe not even in HR, it could be in another department. This is the kind of company where that’s possible. Because HR connects to every part of the organization, I get a bird’s eye view of every role available. It means there are many choices on the table, so I can see what direction I want to go. Whatever that is, a leadership role is definitely part of the plan.
For now, I want to build up the processes I had begun in work, and in my personal life, work towards the ultimate work-life balance.
What are you really proud of?
I would say, in direct contrast to my couch potato skills, I’m super proud of my juggling capabilities. I have a diverse, busy job, where there are many opportunities and where I get involved in so many different areas. So, I take those opportunities and it’s driving my career in an exciting direction.
Work life aside, I’m also a mother and a wife. That is an extremely busy job in itself. What I do each day (or try to) is manage both of these responsibilities, alongside a host of other things. Home and work life kick off every morning and somehow, I manage to fit it all in (that’s thanks to my amazing husband, without him, I would fail miserably ☺).
For me, that’s something I’m really happy with and it all feels so worthwhile. It also gives me a great mechanism for when I have to take a step back and gain some perspective. Each day is filled with promise, both professionally and personally. I’m proud of my daily achievements, and I feel extremely lucky.