Nadia: When Happiness is The Way, Not the Destination

She is Head of Product Management at Scalefocus, an avid traveler, and a guru in organizing her time. The last one is a pretty obvious must: Nadia's role is closely built around the needs of one of the leaders in personalized e-Commerce in the US, based in the Bay Area, California.

The 10-hour time difference and being the main point of contact between engineering teams in Bulgaria and business stakeholders overseas have helped (and pushed) this energetic Scalefocusarian grow into the professional she is today.

"I came to Scalefocus for a position that was entirely new to the company," shares Nadia, "so I had to work hard to gain the trust of the big client and prove that a Product Manager could be efficient and bring huge value even while working from a remote location. Product Manager is a key role in tech-product companies, developing new features, products, and driving innovation, so it was a big achievement and success to see the Product team grow over the years".

"It was exciting for me to stand before this opportunity for this role and take it. It was challenging because I had multiple responsibilities across several teams, dealing with high-complexity projects, and stretching between 2 time zones while getting to know entirely new for me product area and business."

New challenges, she says, are only opportunities.

"I've always worked in the IT sector, and I've been in the Product management area for more than 13 years already. It's not a role that you can ever fall out of love with. It brings new and diverse challenges every day, but it's also gratifying. To be a good Product Manager, you need to understand your customers very well, have a deep knowledge of the product, know the business, the market, the industry, then look into strategies to make it more successful and bring more value".

Nadia says, "To me, failure is not an option. I like challenges because it's what makes you grow. You come out of them either with a new achievement or a valuable lesson learned."

Some of the challenges she encountered at the beginning of her work at Scalefocus are now some of her favorite memories.

"It was hard, at moments looked even impossible, but now looking back, I'm so happy I made it. It helped me become the professional I am today with good planning, ruthless prioritization, discipline, and dedication."

The current situation

is something Nadia finds more than okay, workwise. "Me and the teams are used to working remotely; the concept of a home office is not new to us. I would say we adapted quickly. The only thing I had to ensure for myself is that I still make time to move, exercise, and relax – it's easy to get carried away with work and meetings while staying at home. This is important now since none of us can just go for a walk or to the gym, so we need to find a way to recharge at home - and the time for it."

Her team is "full of professionals," she says, " I appreciate them and trust them, I value their adaptiveness to the dynamics of the work. We work hard together, but we're also always ready to have fun." You can see how some of the people Nadia works with describe her below.

To deal with stress and recharge,

Nadia does sports, reads, and travels extensively, although the last one is temporarily on hold. She's always on the move and travels so much (for work and pleasure) that she hardly ever stays for more than a month at home. She likes faraway tropical destinations and has many souvenirs and mementos from all around the world.

As far as sports go - "I like yoga because it gives the body flexibility and strength, and at the same time, it calms the mind. It's one of my favorites - along with HIIT training and running."

Other inspirations include reading - "I have a long list of books to read while we are in quarantine lockdown." She shares some of the titles - Ray Dalio's "Principles," "Inspired" by Marty Cagan, and "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp.

When asked to share one principle to follow in life, Nadia advises to "enjoy the journey."

"Some people say that if something is not happening with ease, maybe it's not meant for you, but I don't fully believe that. Sometimes the struggle, overcoming the challenges, and the mindset to find joy in the little things are more important, and they bring you to the goal. And sometimes, the goal is to learn a lesson and become wiser. So let's never forget that happiness is the way, not the destination."

In 2020,

Nadia says she will definitely appreciate freedom in a new way. "We're living in interesting times right now. I've always been able to travel and visit new destinations, and now during the pandemic that it's not possible, I had to dive more into my other interests. After this is over, I will be looking at life differently."

And if she had to recommend one movie at this moment in time? "Forest Gump. I watched it for the first time recently. That movie had a lot of memorable moments, but my takeaway is that you are not your limitations, and, getting over them, you can achieve anything, the sky is the limit. And when you approach life with kindness and joy, good things happen."

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