Ioana: A Decade of Growth and Progress
As a long-time Yardi Romania employee, Ioana Gherga has worked with several teams and acquired extensive experience in more than one field. She set out on her professional journey with Yardi Romania exactly 10 years ago, in May 2008, and has only looked back to revel in her many fun and sometimes challenging adventures along the years.
Ioana is now manager of the Cluj Cloud Services department and she took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us about the team she works with, her daily tasks and how to build a strong, focused group of people that make workdays easier and more fun. She also shared her views on work ethics as well as what a successful day looks like on her calendar and what she looks forward to when she leaves the office.
Your journey with Yardi Romania began a long time ago. How did your career kick off within the company?
My journey with the company started 10 years ago, as a developer with Property Shark. It was my first job out of college. I worked as a developer until January 2011, when the Client Services Department a.k.a. CSD was created in Cluj to provide support to our European clients. It was a challenging shift from development to learning finance-related things and dealing with large European or global clients.
A few months later, the Technical team was created in Cluj in the same department and I took the responsibility to build that team. It was a fun time with many new situations where we had to develop our own procedures and ways to deal with requests. I feel that people who join a team now expect to receive all the information without making a real effort. As a trainer, I think you need to let people figure some things out on their own and they will understand the process better.
In October 2012, I took over the management of the entire CSD team in Cluj until I went on maternity leave. This was a shift from a technical position to working with people on different teams, trying to handle client relations, projects I was involved in and manage each team. I developed skills by working with demanding clients and managing different situations within the team. I had a lot of fun, with happy and challenging moments alongside amazing people that I’m still in contact with today.
What prompted you to switch teams?
After returning from maternity leave, my priorities changed and I didn’t want to resume the leadership position I held before. Since there was a gap in the Cluj office for a position in the Cloud Services department, I accepted that as a new experience and opportunity. The Cloud team in Cluj was “young”, formed only in April 2015, so no one knew me and what I did before (it was fun to see how people reacted when they found out what I did before and how shocked they were ?).
It felt like working with a different company due to new colleagues, different tasks, learning a new process. The thing I appreciate most at Yardi Romania are the people that work here—we have an amazing environment thanks to this. It was easy for me to integrate into the team and I fell in love with the people working here. After a few months, I was asked if I would like to take over the leadership of the Cloud Support team and it was hard for me to say “no” after getting to know them. Also, I started to miss this part of my job that I love the most which is talking to people, trying to help them reach their goals and build a team together.
What motivates you when performing your daily tasks?
I love what I do and the people I work with—this is a great motivation. I always try to understand what the cause of an issue is and find a way to resolve that, not only the problem at hand. When you understand the entire process, you are able to find the appropriate solution and help your colleagues when providing mentoring/support. One person will not be able to handle the same number of tasks that five people in a team could do—having a strong team is more important than having one strong person. So, I strongly believe that sharing knowledge within your team is one of the most important things you could do to help yourself, your team and help the company grow.
Where do you draw inspiration and how do you keep your team motivated?
Having a team goal and receiving rewards for significant milestones is important. At the same time, if you manage to integrate everyone’s goals into the team’s growth, it’s going to help a lot. Everyone is different, each of us has a different skillset, so it is unlikely that everyone will want to grow in the same direction. One-on-one recurring meetings help build a relationship and give everyone the opportunity to say what they think, what they like to do and in what direction to grow and what skills to develop. These meetings are a powerful tool to motivate, listen and help team members reach their personal goals.
What is your recipe for a fulfilling and successful workday?
Check emails and reply, have coffee with my amazing colleagues (a few jokes and laughter), work hard, work hard, work hard and go home to my lovely girl. A crazy day will start almost the same, but after coffee, emails will start coming in—it’s all hands on deck to resolve the issues, working with our colleagues in the U.S. and coming in the next morning with all things resolved. It is a very big advantage to have 24/7 coverage and to be able to hand off open issues to our other offices. This is the power of working as a team! ?
I don’t believe in recipes, you need to work with what you have and make the best of it. The motto I go by is—and thank you David LaGue for this—“Do your best and forget the rest.” If you are involved in what you are doing, you will make a difference in the company/the world. Looking back, each step and experience I had helped me become the woman I am today (even becoming a mom)—sensitive to people by listening to them, confident in myself and believing that I can do anything I want. You shouldn’t be afraid to start over in a different department—just dream, take a leap of faith and do your best.
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