Signium – Stein & Partner welcomes new Leadership Consulting Partner

We recently welcomed Rike Stein to the Signium- Stein & Partner team. She will be the Partner responsible for Leadership Consulting across Central & Eastern Europe. We spoke to her to understand more about her background, external trends, and her aspirations for Leadership Consulting at Signium-Stein& Partner.

Welcome Rike! Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

I have spent nearly 20 years in Human Resources in various international leadership roles across different industries. I have always enjoyed helping leaders at all levels to shape culture and develop self-awareness in order to elevate their leadership to the next level. I am passionate about developing talent and rewarding company cultures, which I believe fundamentally drives business success.

What attracted you to Leadership Consulting & Culture Development?

My personal purpose is to create better workplaces for generations to come. I get lots of energy from helping clients to create amazing workplaces through inspiring leadership and purpose-led cultures built on a strong foundation of values. That’s why I have co- founded my own business in Germany which is a boutique consultancy helping early-stage organisations to build progressive company culture from day 1. In this role at Signium, I am fortunate enough to be able to play a part in creating great workplaces for many organisations across the Central European Region where I partly grew up and feel closely connected to.

What are the leading trends you see in the market?

Although perhaps obvious, the dominant discussion is still around the ‘Great Resignation’ or ‘Great Renegotiation.’ I clearly observe that people want more than just a job and that this notion will not go away. With this in mind, I strongly believe that we need to focus more on developing leaders and shaping company culture.

Alongside this trend, the role of Human Resources has also evolved and developed. HR is now seen much more strategically in terms of developing Culture, Purpose, Principles and Values; with some people viewing them as ‘Culture Evangelists’ & ‘Purpose Guardians’. HR Leaders play a much bigger role in crafting meaningful Employee Value Propositions, focusing on Sustainability agendas, and now more than ever, they have a much bigger responsibility to actively do good and give back to society and the environment.

What qualities will successful leaders need in the future?

I believe that there are certain core leadership qualities that are timeless and will be needed now and in the future. Caring for your people, appreciating them, challenging them, and helping them to grow are central to success. Similarly, learning to set your ego aside and being able to listen and see the viewpoints of others are crucial in creating environments that allow people to grow from mistakes, contribute fully, and feel engaged at work.

Self-awareness is key in all of this: knowing your intentions but also being constantly aware of your impact on others and how you come across.

If I look ahead, I believe leaders will have to navigate a future which is only more VUCA and uncertain. We will not have all the answers, and therefore it is so important to be able to trust your people and empower them to be able to make decisions as they see best. An emerging, but powerful, school of thought around New Work advocates for leaders to lead through Purpose, Principles & Values. This enables your team members to be able to work within a framework, gives freedom & responsibility, but also to co-create and create cultures of inclusion & belonging. Get out of the Ivory Tower fast!

What is one thing organisations can do today to develop leaders /shape culture in the future?

Be intentional about ‘Culture’ and how leaders shape culture. Culture is not “soft stuff” to leave aside or a nice-to-have. Culture is key for your business to survive and to flourish.

Without the right culture you will not have the right people, and without the right people you will have very little chance to achieve your strategy. Spend time looking at your culture and be clear about what kind of culture you need to grow and develop.

What can Signium-Stein & Partner do? What kind of team do you have behind you?

We at Signium- Stein & Partner are all passionate about building culture and finding the right leaders to drive culture in your business. We have an experienced team of search and leadership consultants who have worked across several industries and countries. We have been operating in Central Eastern Europe for nearly 30 years with offices in Vienna & Bucharest.

We can measure your current culture with our unique internally developed Culture Due Diligence tool and then can also help you define the culture you aspire towards. Through workshops and co-creation, we help you get to where you see your culture needs to be, in order to move towards your vision and outperform your objectives.


Demand in High Quality Executive Search will increase significantly

Amid the recovery efforts after the Covid-19 pandemic and the prospects of the war in Ukraine, we reviewed the Executive Search and Leadership Consulting market in Romania with David Sebastian Stein, Global Board Director at Signium and Managing Partner at Signium CEE – Stein & Partner.

Tell us, please, a little bit of the Signium – Stein & Partner company, how long has it been operating in Romania, what services do you provide, etc

Signium – Stein & Partner is looking back to almost 30 years of experience in Romania and Central Eastern Europe, being established in 1994. We are a family company in its second generation, part of a global network of Executive Search and Leadership Advisory. Throughout the years, the firm has been one of the leading providers in Executive Search, Board Advisory and Leadership Consulting, as we help clients across industries form and develop leadership teams, according to their unique contexts and plans. Our ambition has always been for both our clients and candidates to have a positive experience in working with us.

How has the HR, Executive Search and Leadership Services market evolved in Romania since the beginnings till nowadays?

Historically, the Executive Search industry has been focused prominently on identifying and reaching the special talent, while today, also given the technology development, the industry has shifted towards a more complex contribution, namely an advisory role. This implies that our jobs do not limit to recruiting, searching for candidates, and placing them. Other more strategic components have an increased importance: the market research, the information made available, and the analysis of which competencies the leadership teams should comprise and what the development gaps are.

What impact has the position in the Signium board at global level for the local market and how has it changed your activity of the Signium-Stein & Partner?

Our responsibility in the global Board is significant to us and probably also to Romania. As more and more regional and global positions are being steered from Romania, it also means that the quality of the professional services industry is significantly increasing, and that the competition is at a very healthy level. Our activity in the Board also gives us additional insights on how colleagues around the globe are conducting their business, what the latest trends are, and ultimately on how we can improve our services. Furthermore, Signium being a founding member of the AESC as well, we are also able to have a look at the entire sector and contribute to improving internationally developed standards. We treat this responsibility with utmost respect and are excited about the possibility to share new ideas and perspectives.

You have a unique background, coming from Germany and knowing the Central & East European market very well, after leading for many years the offices in Romania. What is your input in the Signium board, how do you feel you bring added value to the board’s activity?

Having had the opportunity to take over the business from my father, I naturally came into business with the ambition to make things different and hopefully better. As we have been a standalone organization in the last 10 years, it was difficult to validate our ideas and initiatives. Since we are now again part of a global partnership, it is very rewarding to see that our direction has been right and that our ideas are being appreciated at global level.

Personally, as a board member, I hope that my experience in the Eastern and Central European market is a strength, knowing its specificities and its opportunities.

You are the youngest member of the Signium board and, as all of them, you have a 3-year term. What do you plan to accomplish in this term, as a team and personally?

We have to admit that we were able to implement already a lot of initiatives and we hope to achieve at least 75% of our plan, that’s because we have a set of milestones harder to achieve in 3 years. But we are doing all that depends on us to have it more completed and implemented.

Signium has been historically a conservative business environment with a high focus on quality and service delivery, and our aim is to preserve the focus on quality, yet to modernize the way of supporting and engaging with each other.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the HR and financial services local market and the activity of your company?

In what concerns us, the effects of Covid have hit us in 2021 and not in 2020 as expected. There were hard times, as for many other companies.

This year, the outlook is again very positive, however, we need to see the impact of the Ukraine crisis on Eastern Europe. Besides this, the way of conducting our business has shifted to almost a virtual environment, which comes with plusses and minuses.

In regards to the HR market, the effects of the pandemic are very visible across industries and definitely long-term. We have seen a renewed focus on employees, an increased awareness of their mental health, an acceleration of digital HR, a change in processes, even reimagining the structure and impact of this role. Things are not still settled, some are still looking for the best options to perform in the “new normal”, but we believe that, overall, this pandemic period has brough on important lessons for everyone.

How does the recruitment sector look like now and how do you think it will look like on medium and long term, considering all the Covid impact on the labour/workforce market and other factors?

We believe that the demand in high quality Executive Search and in particularly Leadership Consulting will increase significantly, mainly also because the talent acquisition is progressively more difficult, and the corporate culture often steps in as the main differentiator. The Covid crisis has accelerated these trends, especially due to the difficulties/ discrepancies of living values in a hybrid or completely remote set up, these circumstances requiring different skills and competencies, and not all organizations are still open to embrace the new context.

What is your clients’ feedback regarding the Romanian employees? What is the local job seekers’ profile nowadays? What challenges do employers have ahead from this perspective?

Firs of all, being active in the Executive Search industry, we mostly contact C- level/ top management profiles and usually they are not job seeking. However, most of the placements we conducted were highly appreciated and most of them remain for at least 5 years in the respective companies. Challenges are mostly surfacing in more entrepreneurial environments, where processes are not yet too well defined. Traditionally, the educational system is rather focused on a “learn by heart and repeat” mentality than on a new creation/ solution-oriented approach. Sometimes, this comes with challenges as entrepreneurial environments are less structured and the organization is in permanent change.

What is the most challenging for you, the basic positions or the top executive ones? What does the Romanian workforce look like? Romania has been struggling with the labour shortage and mostly with the lack of skilled workers/professionals…

As we predominantly focus on executive functions, the challenges are arising mostly from the research efforts. Looking for example at a functional role such as CFO or HR, where the business model is more relevant than the industry related experience, you have to screen multiple markets and companies in order to be certain that you have the best available talent. Moreover, the transition from C-1 to C level can be tricky as certain competencies need to be developed or complemented in order to successfully fill the new set of responsibilities.

I know your practice groups have a large expertise on a wide range of industries, from HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing to Industrial, Digital or Life Sciences. Which of these fields are mostly sought after by the job seekers?

As industry knowledge is very important and the ability to understand the connecting sectors as well, our practice groups are still industry focused. Indeed, in order to have a project team established that is likely to succeed, you need to pair industry knowledge with functional knowledge and also add the regional expertise to it. In Romania, the fastest developing sectors are certainly IT&C, Agribusiness, Industrial (especially after Covid and Ukraine crisis) and recently both the professional and financial services sectors.

From what you see, is Romania a destination for foreign investors more or less as before? Are further investments in the pipeline for settling in Romania, despite such factors as the proximity to the conflict in Ukraine, the rising production costs due to energy/gas challenges, or even the labour shortages?

During Covid, a lot of multinational companies realized how damaging it might be to depend so much on Asian collaborators, from production, to supply chain. At the same time, through the various crisis episodes, from lack of raw materials to transportation, the corporations have started to look for other options in Europe. Thus, even with the Ukraine crisis, as devastating as it is, we still see a large interest in Eastern Europe, especially countries which are already in European Union and NATO.

If you can provide us some pros and cons of being a HR/services consultant market in Romania? And what pros and cons do you see by being an expat living in Romania?

The service sector in Romania is not yet appreciated to the same level you see in Western markets. On the one hand, this is due to the cheaper labor market which increases the competition on services and secondly, the lack of professionalism companies have experienced in many service sectors. Educating the market and providing excellency in service is therefore our key to success and we will build on this

To access the full interview, click here.

A great leader sees the company as an ecosystem

” A great leader sees the company as an ecosystem where people can evolve, develop and support each other” – David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner at Signium-Stein & Partner

 Executive Search field is defined by curiosity, patience to absorb and understand information. In other words, connecting with the stakeholders. How does it look like the Romanian HR market now, which are the benefits of being part of a global community in this field and what values needs to have a leader in 2022? All the answers and much more in an exlusive interview with David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Romania at Signium-Stein & Partner.

C&B: As a Managing Partner of a company with more than 27 years in the HR field, taking into consideration your German origins, how can you describe the Romanian market?

David-Sebastian Stein: That`s a great question! From my perspective, looking at the macro environment, the Romanian market is transitioning from an emerging market to a mature one, and this comes with a higher degree of competition and transparency requirements. Also, we see an increasing confidence of local companies, start-ups and investment funds expanding into more developed markets and looking beyond the borders of their own country. Another encouraging trend is that we see more and more regional and even global headquarters in Romania, so we have moved from the “Eastern European country where you can find cheap labour” into a more strategic dimension.

From a leadership and people perspective, Romania has already made big steps away from a “learn by heart and repeat” mentality, towards a solution-oriented ecosystem. However, given the educational base in Romania, this behaviour is being taught at later stages and it will probably take some time until diverse thinking will broadly be appreciated.

C&B: Which are your top entrepreneurial values always keeping in mind and applying?

David-Sebastian Stein: We strongly believe that the purpose, meaning the “why” you do things, is one of the most important aspects when it comes to entrepreneurship. If you are doing things to make money, you will invest into the wrong direction and, ultimately, your business will fail. Nevertheless, if you start a business to serve society, build an unparalleled product or service, or simply have the ambition to make things better than anybody else, then the motivation is true and eventually you might have the possibility to succeed. For us, we apply the continuous improvement theory, having the ambition to improve from project to project and trying to have measurable impact on the organizations we work with, and ultimately for society. By truly caring about the influence we have over clients’ businesses, we dare to believe that we help companies achieve or challenge their visions, by providing fitting leadership solutions, enhance engagement which drives to innovation and ultimately, all of these should lead to an increased impact on society – that`s what we hope to be our contribution.

C&B: How was 2021 for Signium – Stein & Partner and with what challenges did you deal with?

David-Sebastian Stein: As we had a record year in 2020, when the pandemic started, we noticed that the economic crisis and the effects of the pandemic really hit us in 2021. Our business is strongly affected by either foreign direct investments or local M&A activities and, looking at that data, we see that the demand was correlated to those activities with an approximate delay of one year. However, we were actually happy to have some free time to follow our growth ambitions on regional level and to further enhance and expand our services. Besides this, we have a new management team in Austria and given my election into the Global Board of Signium, we also started a very ambitious plan of initiatives on global level.

Unfortunately, some of our colleagues decided to leave the company due to the pause in business in 2021 and now, that the demand incrementally increased in the beginning of 2022, we face the needs to headhunt for ourselves. :))

C&B: Which are the business objectives for the 2022?

David-Sebastian Stein: On CEE level, our ambition is to increase the team by taking into consideration expertise and diversity, to further develop the leadership and board advisory practice and expand into new markets, as initially foreseen for 2021. On global level, we are changing the leadership model from serving to agile, focusing on engaging and connecting the partners, sharing expertise and strengthening continuous learning and development initiatives.

C&B: Stein & Partner is, for some years, member of Signium. In 2021, you decided to rebrand your business and name it Signium – Stein & Partner. With what major differences came the decision?

David-Sebastian Stein: This has been a hard decision for us, as Stein & Partner is a strong brand in Romania and has been recognized over the past 27 years as one of the top-quality service providers. Nevertheless, looking at what is best for the clients, it is important to be part of a global community which ensures collective learning and development, while sharing expertise and client commitment. And besides this, it is rewarding for us to also have the possibility to support a larger community and it makes us proud that our new ideas and initiatives are being globally appreciated.

C&B: In 2021, you were elected as Signium Global Board Director. How are you feeling in this position after almost one year? What does it imply?

David-Sebastian Stein: As mentioned in the previous point, we are thrilled to see that our ideas and initiatives are being appreciated and that our development goals align with the global trends in Executive Search. This gives us additional confirmation and strength in pursuing our direction.

After one year in the role, I can say that I am satisfied with the evolution and we continue to make strategic and administrative decisions regarding the general development and coordination plan of the network.

C&B: How were the last two years for Signium – Stein & Partner in particular, and for the HR field in general, two difficult pandemic years?

David-Sebastian Stein: As mentioned earlier, we believe the pandemic has notably hit us in 2021; 2020 has been exceptionally good and we are convinced that 2022 will be another great year for us. Looking at the market, traditionally the Executive Search industry has been very much connected to economic developments. Nonetheless, we see an increasing opportunity to support companies with leadership and board advisory services, helping to design competency models and steering change processes.

C&B: What do you think makes a leader to be a great one?

David-Sebastian Stein: For me personally, being a big fan of agile leadership theories, a great leader sees the company as an ecosystem where people can evolve, develop, and support each other. In this environment, the leader is responsible for creating and protecting the structure which ensures that each member of the community can unfold their full potential and has the space to contribute. However, when applying leadership strategies, you always need to take into consideration the development stage of the company, meaning if it is a start-up, a growth environment, a mature establishment or a restructuring / turnaround case. Furthermore, you need to understand the strategy and the team competency model the company requires to achieve.

What I’ve learned so far in life is that there is no right and wrong, only more or less suitable solutions given the circumstances. You can have the most brilliant ideas and theories, but you need to listen, pick up the stakeholders and wait for the right moment or educate the organization. This, by the way, applies not only for leadership strategies, but for any situation of change.

C&B: Which are the top values of a leader in 2022? Is there maybe any value which was not so important before the pandemic context which now stands out?

David-Sebastian Stein: The pandemic has shown us that we are not alone on this planet and that we need to learn how to live and integrate with nature. Therefore, I believe the trend around ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) will be the driver of new economic development and a key value of leaders to be taken into consideration. The 20th century has brought humanity a tremendous living standard and we must accelerate the development into the direction of finding harmony with nature. We are strong believers that technology can help us move into this direction, but we need to tackle all aspects of social and economic development, which includes animal breeding, energy and all members of the economic system.

C&B: Any advice for people who want to become consultants for top executive firms, like Signium – Stein & Partner? What can make them stand out?

David-Sebastian Stein: Be curious! Our job can only be done well, if you are eager to absorb, to analyse information and find genuine pleasure in supporting companies and professionals. Our industry, and professional services in general, is a very absorbing sector as it`s project based. You need to be able to easily switch between completely different topics and stakeholders and it takes a long time to do this swiftly. If you are not driven by curiosity and have the patience to absorb and understand information, or if you are not genuinely interested in serving your stakeholders, it is almost impossible to succeed in executive search.

To access the full English version of the article, click here.

Change and innovation in the recruiting process

I would like to talk first and foremost about creativity and innovation. That’s why my first question is about recruiting in the creative industries, namely in advertising, design, or architecture. Can we still talk about talent, native inclination, or the main qualities of a candidate, even in these fields? Are these are acquired through study and experience?

In any field, performance requires a combination of native inclination and effort. I see people who strive hard to be good in a particular industry or role because it seems like they are making a lot of money from “there” or that “there” is the future, but if things don’t also come naturally, the results won’t measure up to the mental and physical consumption. All the same, talent without work is also not enough, especially in such competitive times. Anyways, I’m a fan of the growth mentality – I think we should be guided by innate preferences and constantly build on them so that we can always improve. And we look for this feature in our candidates as well; more and more, we and our clients being wary of “fixed-minded” candidates, such as “this is me, this is what I can, this is good for me and this is not, take it or leave it”. We want to see people who, as I said, know their native abilities, but want to support them through study, experience, and effort, who are able and willing to adapt to unexpected situations, outside the comfort zone, and who can perform in different contexts, where predictability lacks.

How do you find an ideal candidate when innovation appears in the job description, regardless of the field of business? What qualities do you look for in a leader who brings innovation?

Innovation means much more than the classic “thinking outside the box”, for it implies transforming ideas into actions / strategies that are really useful for the company and create value, bring real improvements for the organisation and the business sector. Starting from this idea, we try to find out from the candidates concrete examples about situations in which they have identified better ways to do a certain thing in business, how they implemented it, but also how they presented and supported their ideas in front of all stakeholders (Board, teams, suppliers, etc.). Unfortunately, in many organisations we see massive resistance to change, so a leader who aims for innovation must be able to persuade others to follow suit.

On the other hand, we know that there can be no question of innovation in a field that you do not understand and without dedication, it is a false impression that people simply wake up with good ideas that change the face of the industry. Therefore, we check how well they know the sector in which they operate, how connected they are to trends, to consumers / customers, to their expressed and unexpressed needs, how they see the evolution and what external factors they consider will influence it.

We also want to see how the leader with whom we discuss the innovation process grasps the vision and approach, how he encourages creativity and innovation among the teams he leads, strategic steps in identifying new solutions, resources, opportunities, how he evaluates Potential ROI. Another point is how he aligns his innovation strategy with the business one. Usually, when we look at this topic, we find out if we are talking to someone who is really pushing things or is only innovative on a declarative, theoretical, aspirational level.

Artificial intelligence, digitisation, work from home: in recent years, the work environment has changed at a dizzying pace. How is the Executive Search market affected by these paradigm shifts?

Undeniably the Executive Search market has always been in constant dynamics because it is closely linked to both business and people. This is the beauty of the field, you can’t get bored, you always have to stay connected with everything that happens, you have to set and reset your speech and expectations, so that you can properly mediate the relationship between clients and candidates. We are in a permanent dialogue with both sides, we share perspectives, realities, and trends, because if we do not understand exactly what is happening in the work environment, we cannot make successful placements.

What is the biggest challenge for you, as a recruiter, in this difficult context? Has anything fundamentally changed in the recruitment process, in the way the candidate is approached?

Unfortunately, in the last year we have seen an increase in the lack of seriousness on the part of the candidates. We see absurd situations, they withdraw from the process without announcing, they do not appear at interviews, they give up after signing the job offers, things that did not happen so often before the pandemic. People are confused, they don’t know which way to go, they are afraid to make changes as they are mentally tired of this unfavourable context. More than ever, we spend hours in discussions and debates with candidates, as we care a lot about transparency and dialogue, and we want to keep them close and help them make the best professional decision. Even if this means that sometimes we advise them to not continue the recruiting process initially started with us.

How do you evaluate a candidate for a leadership role today, in unpredictable times?

Things have not changed considerably in this respect, we are looking for the same matters, namely the right capabilities for our client, depending on the context in which the business objectives are, and we evaluate the candidates according to the competency matrix set at the beginning of project. As before, we want to really get to know our candidates, to understand both what they can bring to an organisation and what would be a good step for them, what they like to do, what they want, what motivates them. In any case, assessing a candidate is difficult, but at the management level, the responsibility to place the right person is huge because a correct placement or not affects the future of the company, as well as that of all the people who work there.

Have new areas of interest and recruitment for CEOs emerged as a result of the pandemic? Accelerated growth in a particular sector? If so, which one? (maybe an area you didn’t have before the pandemic)

We have seen in the pandemic an increase in the demand for profiles oriented towards transformation, digitisation, because many companies obviously could not continue with the same business model they had before 2020 and then they needed leaders that could guide them to a new stage. Otherwise, things did not look much different, this year we had clients from production, FMCG, SSC, Energy, Oil & Gas, Transport & Logistics, Financial & Professional services, both top and middle management roles.

In the age of speed, how long does it take to research /document for a new project and what is the process? Does social media play an important role?

The documentation process for a new project is divided into several stages. In the first phase, we seek to understand as much as possible the company we recruit for, their business model and the industry, and we gather this information both from clients and through discussions with the connections we have in that field, brainstorming with colleagues or online research.

Even though we deal with a client we have worked with before, we do not rely on the information we had from the previous project, because things change very quickly, especially in the field in which I specialise, namely Consumer Goods & Retail, so we need to constantly check that we have up-to-date information. Then, we try to draw as well as possible the desired profile, responsibilities, objectives, competencies, interpersonal skills, and we calibrate with what the market offers, and this requires another in-depth documentation work. With all these details, we prepare a list of companies (competition or companies with business models similar to our client’s) and look for suitable candidates in these organisations. These steps, together with the administrative part (job descriptions, project briefs, etc.), take us about a week before we actually start contacting, but during a project, the work of documenting and searching for candidates is constant.

Social media, especially LinkedIn, plays a very important role because it is another channel where we can identify and contact candidates, but also where we can search for information about them and observe them in a less regulated environment than in interviews with us (for example, what and how they post and comment), to get a clearer picture of the profile.

In the almost 5 years of experience in Executive Search, how would you describe the evolution of the Executive Search market and what changes do you estimate will occur in the next period?

Although five years is not a long time (I have more years of experience in another industry in which I have previously worked), things have changed incredibly much. We are clearly witnessing a time when candidates have more power, and they know it, which is why they use all the leverage to position themselves better and get more. It is more difficult to bring good people to the discussion and keep them engaged in the recruitment process, because they receive many such requests, and in this context, they do not even bother to make changes before weighing them very, very well. It’s not easy for us, but I think things will balance out. The important thing is to stay in a setting where we respect each other, we are transparent and we all have the best intentions.

What do you think will be the main quality of a CEO in the future, let’s say, in 10 years?

Generally speaking, I think there are a lot of skills needed to be a good CEO, obviously depending on the maturity of the company, the development plans, etc. But, beyond vision, adaptability, growth mentality, ethics, etc., the most important quality is and will be the area of leadership and people management. Regardless of the industry, no matter how automated and digitised a business may be, the people are the ones who bring good results, and if the CEO does not know how to create an environment in which employees are raised, motivated, developed and involved in decisions, with autonomy and responsibilities that match their abilities and desires, then the commitment and productivity are low and things are just not going to get well.

And with the coming generations, the need for good managers is even more obvious, because they no longer want to be robots or to accept to be just a “workforce”, so clearly in 10 years managers will have to adapt to their expectations, not the other way around.

Read the full interview in Romanian here.

Behind the scenes of top management recruitment

The headhunting process, especially when it comes to searching for top management positions, the so-called Executive Search, finding the right person for the role is far from “staff placement”. We are dealing with a complex and refined process that few understand.

This is also the reason for which we talked to David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Romania and Austria for Signium-Stein & Partner. We emphasise that Signium is a leader in its area of ​​expertise.

What does the top recruitment market in Romania look like today?

Undeniably, over the years, our recruitment market has improved – from customer involvement up to the level of understanding a consultant’s / recruiter’s role. “There were periods when it was believed that you can find good people everywhere, others when good people were not available for a role in Romania, because they were looking for opportunities in foreign markets, others in which supply and demand were balanced,” says David-Sebastian Stein. Obviously, we are dealing with a very dynamic field, in continuous adaptation and evolution. “I think we have reached a point where more and more people understand that recruitment is no longer just about placing staff, but it is a process in which both parties, the employer and the employee, weigh well to what extent they fit. People are no longer just looking for a place to earn a salary from, and companies are no longer only interested in clerks and people who just execute tasks,” said Signium’s Managing Partner for Capital.

“If in the past our focus was on identifying and recruiting exceptional leaders, now we have evolved from providing Executive Search services to more complex Leadership Advisory services, which imply a much deeper relationship between us and our customers”, Stein continued. Basically, this means exploring the business strategy and medium and long-term plans, to better identify the skills that each company needs to meet its objectives. “The fact that we present them with an objective and documented perspective, that we are involved in aligning the stakeholders’ visions, that we provide them with valuable market information, which is obtained during Executive Search processes, are aspects that add value to our customers today.”, David-Sebastian Stein points out

Executive Search. Precisely, how does it happen?

From what we’ve understood, the Executive Search process is about the same for all service providers in the industry and covers an identification of available talents in a defined field, business model, in a certain market or in several, the second phase being much more complex. “In the second phase, we approach the potentially fitting candidates, evaluating their suitability, but also their interest. Depending on the result, we may need to adjust the search strategy and repeat the process – if circumstances allow, we prefer to work with agile working methods, meaning that we are in constant communication with our clients “, David-Sebastian Stein stresses.

“Differences between suppliers can come from several aspects: from attention to detail, knowledge of the market and the ability to align them with the needs of stakeholders, from the experience of the project teams to translate the organisational context into a matrix of necessary skills, the ability of the Consultants and Partners to match the culture and values ​​of the company with those of the candidates and, last but not least, from the communication with the client throughout the project“, the manager also tells us.

What is essential in choosing the best candidates in Executive Search

Generally, companies say that there is no standard recipe because each project is unique. Signium says it has a very high success rate, due to initial efforts to understand the organisational context of its customers, the ability to understand different perceptions of competencies and the expertise to identify solutions that support the vision of the leadership team. “For example, many times, the market does not offer exactly what is initially wanted. In these situations, our role is to analyse different alternatives and calibrate ourselves to look into other industries with similar business models, to search for candidates with development potential, or to help the client redesign the role, covering responsibilities with internal resources, and adapting the search strategy for a modified role”, Stein points out.

We owe our success to putting as much emphasis on the candidate as on the client. We also wish the best for the people we place and to offer them a good recruitment experience, but also to make sure that the role we propose is a good step for their career “, Signium’s Managing Partner continued

Tips for a possible candidate

“We are trying to support our candidates in preparing for the next stage in their careers. We advise them to have their homework done, that is, to carefully and honestly assess their skills and development aspirations; the better done this analysis is, the more likely they are to find the right job,” says David-Sebastian Stein. He also advises them to pay attention to the projects that brought them satisfaction, to the contexts in which they felt they performed best, but also to the less pleasant responsibilities. It is also important for them to be active, to connect with Executive Search consultants working in the industry they are targeting and to express their intention to change jobs in advance.


What does the future of the Executive Search industry look like?

Signium – Stein & Partner is a family company in its second generation, founded in Bucharest by Werner E. Stein more than 27 years ago, which is part of a global network of Executive Search and Leadership Advisory. Over time, we have managed to maintain a leading position on the Romanian market, by being reliable, professional, and by adapting our consulting services both internationally and locally. Our goal has always been for both our clients and candidates to have a positive experience in working with us.

What is the future of the Executive Search industry and how are you preparing for it?

We are pleased to see an evolution in the consulting sector, which is moving away from the classic search for directors and heading towards leadership consulting. In other words, recruiting managers is part of Leadership Advisory. This means that we no longer consider only a specific need, such as the placement of a CEO with experience in industry x. Currently, in each project we analyse in which phase of the business lifecycle the company is, what competencies already exist in the organisation and the strategy with which the company would like to achieve its medium- and long-term objectives. Thus, we have developed services that complement the recruitment activity, leadership solutions, such as strategic alignment of all stakeholders on the necessary leadership skills, succession planning at different levels, talent evaluation and development within the company, a diagnosis at the level of the organisational culture and the commitment of existing teams. In this way, we learn to identify together with the client the real needs of the organisation from a human capital perspective and we are a discussion partner in the development of the company’s leadership strategy.

How do you see the Romanian market and the level of Romanian management after 27 years of activity in the field of executive recruitment?

We have great confidence in Eastern Europe, and we enjoy the progress we see every year throughout the region. My father and I grew up in Western Europe, so we know the pros and cons of both regions. Many good things happen here – ideas, agility, adaptability, which are essential today, both in technological development and on all other business plans. We see better and better professionals, young competitive and performance-oriented leaders, so I think the level of local management and market will increase a lot.

What criteria do you use to guide you in recruiting managers?

Our role is no longer just to identify the right candidates in the “market”. We see ourselves as advisors, supporters, and long-term partners for our clients in identifying the most appropriate leadership solutions. Therefore, it is important to understand the business models, the competitive environment, and the strategy, so that we can translate all this into the necessary skills. We are the ones who bridge the needs and requirements of companies from a human capital perspective, the stakeholders’ desires, the candidates’ expectations, and the reality of the market – unfortunately, the ideal profile for a particular company is not always available, so we must work together to find new solutions.

 How have the last two years been for Signium – Stein & Partner?

As for everyone else, it was a difficult time, but we are very happy and grateful that we have achieved very good results from a business perspective. In addition, we used this time to strengthen the team and now we have very competent people, well trained at all levels – from Researchers to Partners. We are an interesting mix of people from the human resources sector, people who worked exclusively in Executive Search and some who came from the business sector. This gives us a good knowledge of the business environment and allows us to cover a wide range of industries.

On the other hand, since 2020 we are part of Signium’s global network, one of the top partnerships in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting worldwide, with almost 70 years of experience and presence in over 30 countries. We are currently in the process of rebranding and will complete the transition from Stein & Partner to Signium by the end of the year. This partnership helps us expand our capabilities by combining the entrepreneurial style of a family business with the global exposure we have through the network. At the same time, Signium’s values blend very well with ours and we are delighted that we can contribute to the multicultural expansion of the network and to the development of the most efficient solutions for our customers, building our approach on intelligence and intuition.

On a personal level, I am also honored to have been chosen to be on Signium’s board of directors, along with four colleagues from South Africa, Poland, Portugal, and Germany. Our responsibilities in the next 3 years, the period of our mandate, are related to administrative decisions, coordination of members and business development of the entire network. It is an honour even more as “Stein & Partner” is a relatively new member, and the trust they have shown me makes more responsible.

One of the objectives announced by Signium – Stein & Partner is related to the expansion in the region. What is the status and what are your plans for 2022?

Currently, we have several offices in the CEE region, and the company that is now being established in Vienna will be the second most important after the one in Bucharest. Our strategy remains to primarily focus on these two companies and then to expand in other countries. In the recent years, we have had several projects throughout the Central and Eastern European region, such as Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and the Czech Republic, and we intend to set up separate offices in some of these countries as well. We expect our Vienna office to grow significantly in 2022 and we will develop skills and know-how there that we will export to other Eastern European countries. In addition, Signium-Stein & Partner Romania is an important service center for the regional network and maybe in the future for the global one; this is where the first discussions on implementation take place.

Moreover, we enjoy another important help in the region: the Advisory Board, which we set up 15 years ago and which is made up of very diverse senior professionals with solid experience in Central and Eastern Europe. We meet once a year to share knowledge and perspectives about the region and the different situations we face. In addition, we get in touch with each other throughout the year when project issues arise, exchange ideas, and receive the best support. We appreciate that even during the process of joining the Signium network, the members of the Board were with us, we felt a real support from them even from a distance. This year we will meet again in Vienna in November, and we look forward to the annual get-together and exchange of experience after a year break, caused by Corona. It will be a special meeting.

After 27 years of activity, tell us what the biggest challenges in this profession are, but also what brings you the greatest satisfaction

We are lucky to work in this industry because we feel that our activity has real meaning and impact. We help businesses to grow, to make things better, some of them having great relevance in the local business environment. When our clients implement solutions proposed by us that benefit not only the investors and the management, but also the employees and the community, it is an enormous satisfaction. At the same time, we intensively support our candidates in achieving their professional goals and we have immense respect for all those we encounter.

This industry is extremely dynamic and all those who become true professionals in the field of Executive Search & Leadership Consulting are doing it with a lot of enthusiasm, but also with a lot of flexibility in the way of working and under the constant pressure of deadlines. It is not easy to “juggle” with so many sectors, positions, requirements, and expectations, so I am proud that together with our team, we manage to achieve excellent results in most of the projects we coordinate.

If you would like to access the interview in Romanian, click here.

With or without an MBA in a post-pandemic labor market?

The lack of predictability has always been characteristic of the business environment, but this current crisis has propelled us into the digital future basically overnight, and ideas we thought were far from happening any time soon, rapidly materialised. As economies are reopening and people who could not benefit from remote working are returning to the workplace, chances are high that this new dimension of remote working will persist, however, we do not know yet to what extent. It has been a context that made us notice the pluses, and they were not only related to productivity, we can also track down the positive impact on urban transportation and consumer behaviour.

At the same time, remote working came along with a variety of challenges: how can you engage your employees from a distance, how can you keep them close and motivated, how do you integrate new colleagues in the team?

It’s nothing new that leaders around the world have been challenged by the new context. What is essential for them now and in the times to come is that they must not lack clarity, a long-term vision and capacity to adapt. Having experience in digitalisation and transformation is seen as a big plus and agility has set the tone in terms of expectations related to a true leader’s skills.

Besides this, during the last year, we noticed especially the need for team guidance, communication, coaching, and mentoring skills, and capabilities like leadership, resilience and adaptability. These are indeed one of the most important in an ever-changing and demanding climate. Concurrently, we strongly consider that at the core of successfully navigating through life, both professionally and personally, stands the ability to embrace a growth mindset, curiosity, and an intentional learning.

Further to mention is, that given these new circumstances, management will be more and more measured based on outcome rather than on tasks. This can be surprisingly challenging for many managers as it increases the need for problem solving abilities and the ability to develop new ideas and structures, not just to follow rules and regulations.

Emphasis will be placed more than ever on the importance of recruiting the right person, the selection being based not only on professional and technical components, but also on the personality, motivation and the energy one has in relation to his/her work, as well as the attitude towards those from the team.

As the competitive environment rather increased due to the context of digitalisation and globalisation, we further on strongly recommend keeping up to date with the latest research and its’ application. An MBA is a very useful form of education, as it is rather focused on case studies and the application of theory. MBAs are usually offered to apply theory based on real business cases and the latest research. Therefore, we believe MBA´s will remain essential in order to learn from other examples and to be better equipped for situations that may occur in day-to-day business environments.

The more and more the business context shifts to agile working, it is important to derive actions and solutions on ad-hoc basis. The more examples you have in mind, the more it will help you identify the different options you have and to make the right decisions.

All these points are arguments for an MBA, however, an MBA has two main objectives, which is knowledge on the one side and network on the other. The second part is mainly achieved through group working and helps the cross-cultural inter-action and management capabilities. This is indeed much more difficult to be achieved in a virtual environment and gives a larger minus to the MBAs within the pandemic context. But we have hopes that things will get back to normal, and then, the objectives of an MBA will have the desired effects.

We, at Signium-Stein & Partner, strongly believe that knowledge is key for a successful career and studying can never be wrong. In case you are considered overqualified for a role, it means that you searched in the wrong place.

However, an MBA itself means nothing unless you learned to do something you didn’t know before. An MBA integrates theory and practice and should help you in doing things better than before. However, how much you were able to take out of the education and the doing part lies in the power of each individual.

An MBA is just a certification which gives you certain credentials, however, it should not be the only factor and companies will still evaluate you based on your achievements in life and not in theory. Therefore, it is advisable to be mindful to the internal and external expectations that may arise when holding an MBA, so, setting realistic ones is healthier. It’s not the certificate that helps you get ahead, but the way in which you translate the information and apply it.

As mentioned, the MBA follows two main objectives, which is knowledge on the one side and network on the other. Since the MBA courses moved more and more to the online environment, and the focus shifted to knowledge, it is considerably more difficult for students to create connections. That’s why local providers face more and more competition from globally leading institutions. This increases competition and gives additional benefits to the MBA candidates, at least on the knowledge side. However, the local network, the teamwork and the regionally adjusted know-how, is and will remain important.

Top MBAs remain to be very expensive, and it all comes down to the value it brings. If it’s an individual desire for professional development, mostly the candidate will have to invest himself into the program. If it`s for preparing the candidate to take over larger responsibility, there is a likelihood that the costs will be taken over by the company.

Apart from the financing, the candidate could be supported by the company to have more flexibility in being able to follow an MBA, as following such a program can be very time consuming.

C-Level Recruitment


Romanian managers are more oriented towards respecting the rules than on communication and creativity, a recent study shows, and they tend to be promoted based on technical skills and specialisation. In order to choose the right person for a leadership position, especially in the context of working in a pandemic, a candidate must also demonstrate coaching and mentorship skills, explained the guests of the show Gandul Financiar.

What are the selection criteria for a top manager? 

The recruitment of the right person for a manager role is based not only on the professional and technical competencies, explained for Gandul Financiar Alexandra Ene, consultant at Signium – Stein & Partner, a consulting company specialised in executive search.

“Customers often come to us with a few written lines – we want someone who knows this and this. And it’s never just about that. It is about understanding the business as a whole, about aligning the stakeholders- with whom the respective person will work, what the teams look like, what are the directions of the business itself “, explained Alexandra Ene. Thus, executive search specialists take into account the skills, abilities, personality, motivation, energy but also the coaching and mentoring skills of the potential future managers.

Last year especially, the need for team guidance, communication and coaching skills was noticed. “Suddenly, managers found themselves unable to stop by employees computers to see what people were doing, therefore they had to be coaches and mentors and keep their teams close and motivate them and find other ways to engage them,” Alexandra Ene explained.

An example of a wake-up call for the need to change the management approach given by Alexandra Ene is an online team building, organized at the beginning of the pandemic, in which the employees were just looking at each other and at the clock, waiting for the allotted time to end.

“That’s why, when we look at a recruitment, we look at a very complex picture of how that person should be, in order to be able to give the right direction to the business she/he will manage, to fit in, to have these essential leadership skills, not only strategic and not only technical abilities”, Alexandra Ene underlined.

The recruitment grid for top managers is constantly adapted, and specialists work with various tools to help them complete the ideal profile. “Things change from day to day, from year to year. We do not have a competency matrix for a marketing role that we use in 2000, in 2020, and in 2040. We work customized on each project. We are very optimistic about the labour market and future managers and the collaboration between young managers and senior managers, because they have a lot to learn from each other “, says Alexandra Ene.

Trends in the recruitment market 

“What we can observe, when referring to the new generation of managers, is that they are prepared, our experience with them is favourable, we see more and more young managers, who study abroad, at top universities, MBAs, EMBAs, who invest in education, either personally or the companies that they work for, they are very competitive and very determined “, says Alexandra Ene. 

Regarding foreign companies, beyond the professional competencies, nationality plays a role in deciding to choose the managers. There are still several multinationals that are very keen on bringing managers of the company’s nationality, as Alexandra Ene explains, with the aim of ​​probably instilling in local employees a certain type of culture that is also in the parent company, and not because they are better prepared. “But indeed, we see this trend of looking for international experience, but local understanding, and we do have customers, both in services, as well as production, who are looking for local people who understand very well the local culture and who are able to bring together the teams “, the consultant specified.

In addition, choosing an outsider or, on the contrary, promoting one’s own employee is a decision directly correlated with the company’s objectives and typology. “Of course, people from the inside aspire, but if that company is at a time when it needs a fresh approach, then they can choose to bring in a manager from outside the company. Maybe when the manager withdraws due to retirement and the company wants to maintain the status-quo, they may think of promoting someone from the inside. Depending on the objectives, they can think of promoting someone from finance, sales or marketing, because, in general, the top manager obviously sets the tone for everything that happens in the rest of the company “, detailed Alexandra Ene. 

If you would like to read more and watch the filmed interview (in Romanian), please click here.

Recruiting CEOs during the pandemic

Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant, interviewed by


Recruiting CEOs during the pandemic. What a head-hunter is paying attention to

The external context generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged leaders around the world. The pressure on their shoulders has increased because they have had to deal with a myriad of situations, some of them new, that require quick fixes. They must not forget to be close to people, to show empathy, to communicate transparently and to be flexible both with their teams, as well as with their partners and collaborators.

Although they are accustomed to the lack of predictability characteristic of the business environment, this situation was different, starting as a health crisis which subsequently affected society and the global economy. Among the things leaders should not lack can be named clarity, a permanent and specific communication, as well as a long-term vision, even when we are referring to online collaborations. For this reason, the approach to an executive search process is extremely important for a company that is looking for a suitable head for the organisation’s profile. Managers, through their role, are also the ones who must prove their responsibility, both for themselves and for the teams they lead. Therefore, a recruitment process for a CEO is essential for a company.

What does a recruitment process mean for a CEO? 

We discussed with Stela Ciupercea, Consultant at Signium – Stein & Partner, a German company with over 25 years of experience in Executive Search and Human Capital Advisory to see what a recruitment process means for a CEO in Romania and in Central and South-Eastern Europe, what is taken into account, what criteria does the company have in achieving the profiling of a good candidate.

 The recruitment process for a top management position (executive search) is a complex one, because we are talking about roles that have a direct impact on the long-term performance of their employees and companies. Regardless of the country, the approach for an executive search process is more or less similar, says the representative of Signium – Stein & Partner for

“To begin with, we need to understand very well the client’s need, to sketch together the most suitable profile. This depends a lot not only on their expectations, but also on the internal strategic challenges, the external context, the entrepreneurial or corporate environment of the company and what stage the organization is in when hiring a new CEO – maybe it’s a mature company, which is strengthening its market position or one going through a transformation process, and the examples can continue (…) There is no pre-established “recipe”. – Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant 

How recruitment processes have changed during the pandemic 

Recruiting a CEO can be a real challenge, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic commenced and all the selection processes moved online. However, adjusting to the remote working and continuing the activity in the digital environment was not foreign to the specialists with experience in the labour market. In an executive search process, Signium – Stein & Partner’s experts rely both on directly contacting candidates considered suitable for a management role, and on a solid database, built over the years, which they can access from anywhere, as well as on their personal network, aspects that have not suffered since the beginning of the pandemic.

“On the other hand, the interview stage was different, as well as the presentation of the candidates to the decision-makers within the employing company. These were organized almost entirely online, compared to previous years, when direct interaction and face-to-face meetings were indispensable. – Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant

Stela Ciupercea says that although these processes were easily facilitated by technology, she noticed a greater reluctance from the candidates regarding the positions that involved travel or even relocation.

How should a CEO’s resume look like? 

Regardless of the position for which one applies, the CV represents the candidate’s photo, which ends up in the hands of a recruiter, to be read and evaluated. The situation is the same for a CEO. She/He must carefully write her/his CV, note down the information related to the experience gained, professional skills, qualifications, and studies, to create an image that is authentic and as clear as possible for the person reading and evaluating it.

“The focus should be on the responsibilities, but especially on the achievements she/he had at each stage of her/his professional career and show the direct contribution to the performance of the teams and companies which she/he worked with or for. If a CEO wants to take a step towards another industry, it is important to list details about previous companies, for example the business model, number of employees, level of responsibility, direct reporting, the evolution of the organisation during the period in which she/he was in charge of the company “, notes Stela Ciupercea.

As for the appendix of a CV, it does not have to be a long one because the large number of pages will not make the CV more interesting, the relevance of the content being what matters.

The domains in Romania with the most applications on top management positions

From the application perspective for top management positions, in Romania, the most dynamic industries are currently IT&C, FMCG, Retail and Logistics. At the same time, the Real Estate and Construction sectors were attractive from this point of view, especially because the local market created more opportunities for transactions during this period.

“Most executive search projects have been conducted in areas such as FMCG, Production, Private Equity and Technology, and at the level of positions, there has been a significant increase in recruitment projects for CFO (Chief Financial Officer) roles, compared with previous years”, explained Stela Ciupercea, Signium – Stein & Partner Consultant

The specialist also says that although 2020 was an unpredictable year, the demand for executive search services in Romania remained at a similar level compared to previous years. Last year, about 20 companies appointed new executives to lead companies in sectors such as FMCG, Pharma and IT&C.

If you would like to read the full version from Wall-Street, click here.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

This month marks a year since the Covid-19 pandemic caused the fastest and largest shift in human behaviour change at scale. Such an unprecedented upheaval completely challenged the dynamics of the collective, and it pushed most of us to reflect on concepts such as purpose, mission, values, both from a personal and professional perspective.

The dictum “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste” creates momentum for analysing organizational practices and tests the hypothesis about leadership, adequacy of existing governance structures and also requires deployment of new ad hoc initiatives.

In the light of our upcoming Webinar on March 23rd: Transforming HR: How to translate Purpose into People Strategies, we, at Signium – Stein & Partner, considered an opportune moment to sit down with our speakers Andreea Mihnea – Chief People Officer at First Bank Romania,  Daniel Reisenauer – Managing Director at Visma Software Romania & Ireland and Sorin Banulescu – People & Culture Director at Heineken and harvest some reflections from them, in an attempt to pave the way for a meaningful event interaction.

What was the most valuable take away for you as Leader from the past 12 months?

Andreea Mihnea: Last year asked for a complete reprioritization of the people agenda. It did not mean that we stopped doing what we planned for our people. The pandemic was a wake-up call for the “why” we do what we do and if the business as usual still made sense for people. When employees begun having to compensate on the life areas that they were taking for granted such as childcare, education, availability of services and even personal care, some of the things they used to vocally demand from their employer became “nice to haves” or even obsolete.

Before the pandemic, expectations for a more meaningful work, the possibility to advance quicker, being exposed to multiple experiences and being provided space for socializing and experimenting were the norm. As the pandemic progressed, they started looking into more basic expectations such as: extensive flexibility of working schedule, remote working, access to good medical care, stability of jobs and business.

In a nutshell, the past 12 months taught us all to put our lives and work into perspective. And all of a sudden, work was no longer the playground of grown-up children but a place where grown-ups were forced to look the truth in the face: organizations too need a solid partnership with employees that demands transparency, dialogue and ownership for each side. As HR leader I focus on putting those 3 principles at work.

Daniel Reisenauer: 2020 challenged all of us in terms of how we work, think, act and interact. 

I would like to start with a huge thank you to all my colleagues, for the way we embraced change and enabled a smooth transition to work from home in less than 1 week 

We have kicked off a new era of transforming how we work, which is more flexible, employee-centric and at the same time more efficient.

Despite pandemic and global economic situations, we managed at Visma Romania to grow existing business, start new ones and increase overall team to almost 600 people

Priorities have changed and safety of our people and taking care also of our communities became suddenly amongst the top priorities

Sorin Banulescu: The most important take away during the last 12 months was that old beliefs we all have, that most times appear undoubtable in the context you are at a specific moment, actually can be changed easily and rapidly if you really want it. This is especially the case if you are more or less obliged to accept the novelty of a different context. I am considering here the way the pandemic made us rethink most of our activities.

What has helped you personally to keep the balance through uncertainty?

Andreea Mihnea: It was a return to the human condition that we had been spoiled to forget recently. Life is unpredictable and all the more valuable for it. Focusing on the present paid off as well as the assurance that it is just a phase. Humanity has been through much worse and this too, will pass. I take the long lens when things get difficult.

Daniel Reisenauer: The support of my family, manager, acceptance, embracing change, being able to help local communities.

Sorin Banulescu: Well, first of all, I have to admit I was “luckier”, as I was trained in crisis management. In my last 2 assignments in The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti, I’ve been exposed to a continuous context of poverty and social unrest, and to a few important epidemic outbreaks and that influenced heavily my agenda. So, all in all, I had a different perspective on things. Personally, my family, the virtual drinks with colleagues and friends and doing sports regularly (even if at home) helped me keep mental balance.

We feel empowered by our guests’ leadership commitment that comes from challenging the process, enabling others to act, modelling the way, and encouraging the heart. But beyond all these, we heavily appreciate them for acknowledging their humanity as this creates a safe space for their teams to experiment, take risks and revise the thinking.

We’ll be delighted to have you with us for more reflections on Purpose and People on Wednesday, March 23rd, 14:00 EET.


Content by Ana Maria Popescu