As you may already know, we started our interview series not long ago. Last time we presented you the interview we had with Daniel Dunose, the CEO of DataDiggers. Today we are back with another interview with Paula Elena Pislaru, the Chief Operating Officer.
What does working in the market research industry mean to you?
It is a universe where I have been activating and growing for the past 15 years, with challenges, innovations, and a lot of interesting subjects to investigate.
From who in the market research industry have you learned most in your career?
Usually, the ones who challenge us and push us to go farther the most are the ones who remain in our memories as our mentors. For me, personally, this person is Ciprian Sava, who has taught me to view the wider image of the business, not to jump to conclusions too quickly, find new solutions and enjoy it at the same time. 😊 So thank you for all your help and guidance, Ciprian! I am sure you have been a true inspiration for all of us at the beginning of our careers in the industry!
If you were able to bring someone in our DataDiggers team, who would that person be and why do you think they'd be great for our company?
This is an easy one: I would definitely like to have Elon Musk on board, for his unorthodox ideas and all the innovations he could bring in our line of business.
What was the most important challenge you had to go through in your career?
Having to choose between a new management position and personal plans at a certain point in time – in the end, I could not give up on the job opportunity and it seems like I took the right decision.
Thinking about your career, what is the achievement you are most proud of?
Growing a team of very good colleagues and friends, getting to know each one of them, both professionally and personally, becoming more like a family than co-workers. Also the appreciation from some key-clients I have worked with throughout time and who have preferred working with me for several complex projects.
What's the biggest mistake you've ever made in your career?
Trusting some of the clients/colleagues who were pushing to do more and more, saying that that was the last time they needed an extra effort from me or from my colleagues until exhaustion and medical issues started occurring. There always has to be a balance between the hours spent at the office and at home and clear boundaries, separating the two (I used to get calls from clients/colleagues very late in the evening or during weekends for very urgent matters that needed urgent fixing all the time).
What does success mean to you?
Success is having the luxury of enjoying yourself (even if it involves daily adrenaline at the office) - being able to wake up every morning, go to work and do the things or the tasks you enjoy, being respected and appreciated by your colleagues and having an expert voice when it comes to difficult situations when an opinion is needed from you.
What do you do to move forward in the profession you have chosen?
I am trying to learn new things every day, from the people, clients, experts in the field, and situations surrounding me, keeping my eyes open and trying to think one step ahead.
How would you describe the market research industry in Romania?
Romania has a very precious resource: very talented and committed people, smart and eager to learn and develop new things, which can make us a serious player in the CEE region, if we invest in it properly. There is still room for new market research companies and a lot of room in getting important local clients on board. I hope to see good development in the years to come.
Is there something new that you have learned in the last 2-3 years, in your career, or in your daily life, which you find is important?
Try to enjoy little and simple things more, treasure your good health and spend more time with the ones you love, make room for your hobbies and passions, collect good quality memories and surrender yourself with people you can learn from, who can help you evolve (both professionally and personally).
If you were able to meet yourself, at the moment when you first got hired, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Worry less for the smaller details, do not be so afraid of making mistakes, take more risks, think bigger and higher, worry less about what people think about you. 😊
If you were to give advice to one of your former managers, what would that be?
Listen to people more, ask them about their needs, do not consider them a disposable resource or just a number that can help you achieve the targets, try to keep them happy by showing respect and constant appreciation, there are a lot more things that are more valuable than money.
What do you think is the most important thing in life?
Equilibrium and inner peace.
What are you planning to do in your next vacation?
To visit some new places, to read 2-3 good books and to draw some new sketches - I am dreaming of a long vacation as you can see. 😊
What is making you get up from bed even when you have a bad day?
I like to think that if something bad happens right now, it is only because tomorrow something good will happen, better than any of the good things that had happened before.
What are your dearest memories, some that you always think of with joy?
The day I found out I will be a mother (both scary and sooo happy) and my childhood, all the time spent with my grandparents, who have taught me so many practical day-to-day things and told me the most amazing stories, cared for and loved me infinitely.
If you could change something from the past, make a different decision, what would it be and why?
Spend more time with the people I love, respect, and appreciate and are no longer in my life, tell them more often how I feel about them. Professionally, I would take more aggressive decisions, risk more to gain more, maybe learn some more technical things (programming, for example).
If you could go anywhere in the world, at any time in the past, what would that be and why?
Do I have to choose only one place and time? I can easily think of several: Paris interwar time, to meet all the writers and painters and see how their ideas were born, to be with Brancusi and just watch him while he works, to talk to Michelangelo and find out directly from his lips the passion and effort he put in carving the marble and... maybe Ancient China and Japan, their ways of life were always so fascinating to me.