Anna Naydenova – Country Manager, France
Name: Anna Naydenova
Age: Strictly confidential
Position at parcelLab: Country Manager, France
Originally from: Bulgaria, but I am a true citizen of the world. I was born in India and I have lived in 5 countries (Bulgaria, India, Switzerland, the UK and France) not to mention all the places where I have traveled. I finally settled in Paris, where I have lived for the last 11 years.
1. Briefly tell us what your everyday working life at parcelLab looks like
I joined parcelLab in early January 2020 to launch the French subsidiary from scratch, so there has not been a “typical day” so far. Initially my focus was in launching the French operations from a legal standpoint and recruiting the parcelLab core team in France, while engaging with potential customers.
Now, 4 months later, we are a team of 6 and fully equipped to conquer the French market. My main focus, together with the French sales and marketing teams, is to actively engage with potential customers in France and help them improve their online customer experience. Given that parcelLab is still new in France, I am also working on creating maximum visibility for the company in this exciting market.
2. Tell us about your professional career
Retail has always been the central pillar in my career. After spending 10+ years in business development and operational roles in large retail organisations such as Marks & Spencer and L’Oréal, I decided to move to the start-up world 4 years ago and work in helping retailers bridge their technology gap and achieve their digital transformation.
3. What do you like most about parcelLab and your job?
I am quite entrepreneurial; I love starting new things and building something from scratch and I had the opportunity to do exactly this at parcelLab. I felt empowered and I was given full ownership of my areas, and at the same time I was given the support that I needed.
What is also very important is that I believe in the product and the value that it creates for our customers, which makes it even more stimulating for me to work at parcelLab.
4. In your opinion, what makes parcelLab unique?
The people. People are at the centre of everything we do at parcelLab – our customers, but also the people who work in the company. The team is very diverse, and everyone feels accepted. At the same time we all work towards a common goal with drive and ambition, while still finding the time to help each other and to have fun! A rare combination!
5. What are the characteristics of the perfect parcelLab candidate?
The perfect parcelLab candidate is a true professional in their area and always puts customers first. At parcelLab we know that we can only succeed if we work on our goal together, so teamwork and willingness to help others are super important. Being positive, upbeat and fun helps you quickly fit in, but also makes every day much more enjoyable.
6. How would you describe the working atmosphere at parcelLab?
It is a rare combination of professionalism, willingness to go above and beyond one’s capabilities and taking the time to enjoy and have some fun!
7. What was your favourite moment at parcelLab so far? And why?
There has been a number of great moments, but I was very impressed with how the company handled the Coronavirus 2+ months lockdown in early 2020. By putting people first (both customers and employees) we managed to create an even stronger team spirit and sense of community, but also grow our business and the business of our customers. I believe that we have emerged even stronger from the crisis!
8. What qualities and strengths have you gained during your time at parcelLab?
It really feels that people are accepted with their unique qualities and are encouraged to be themselves at parcelLab. It is also an environment where we strive to improve all the time.
In my case, I was coming from a smaller start-up before, so at parcelLab I had to learn to rely more on the rest of the team and not to try to do everything by myself. Due to the unprecedented times we have been living in since I joined parcelLab, I have also learnt to question everything and try to find ways to innovate all the time. This possibility to innovate and take the risk of sometimes getting it wrong, but also knowing that you have the support of the team has been a great catalysis for me at parcelLab and has helped me go further and faster than I thought possible.
9. What challenges have you had to face during your time at parcelLab and how did you overcome them?
There are a number of challenges that are associated with opening an office in a new country, but the biggest challenge for me was to go into full lockdown due to the epidemic as soon as the French team joined the company. I had to learn to onboard, train, manage and motivate the team remotely, create teamwork and still move forward and work towards achieving our ambitious objectives. After having overcome this, I feel that we can overcome any other obstacles that come our way.
10. What makes Paris so attractive for you?
I have traveled all over the world, but for me there is no city like Paris – the beauty, the culture, the food, the music, the fashion, the art, and the diversity are unparalleled. You can travel the whole world by moving from one Paris neighbourhood to the next. There is no bigger pleasure for me than walking on the streets of Paris and soaking in all of the beauty and diversity.
I came to Paris 11 years ago and I was unable to leave (which for someone like me who used to move every 2 years is quite a record!).
11. How would you spend your perfect weekend?
Traveling is my biggest passion, so whenever possible I would like to discover a new place. Whenever I stay in Paris for the weekend, there is always something to discover as well.
A perfect weekend here will start with a late brunch with friends, followed by a long walk in the city, then it will be time for an apéro (happy hour!) sitting on a Parisian terrace while watching people pass by. And to finish: a jazz or a world music concert in one of the many concert halls in the city.
12. What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?
Fast, fun and fearless.