With 12 years of experience in the market of building materials and decoration, the last four responsible for Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, Monica Obeada is managing the operations for one of the European leaders in Floor Accessories Industry, with a 12,5 million euros in assigned area, representing 19% from company’s turnover which was 66 million euro in 2018.
C&B: Make a description or define your activity!
Monica Obeadă: “Working in a multicultural environment is a continuous challenge. Besides the required knowledge and skills to succeed organizing and controlling company’s business in more countries, it is important to understand and accept existing cultural differences, to learn fast and to be adaptable. To adapt the business designing the product portfolio and adjusting the operational processes represents the basis of a good strategy to become an important player and to build a strong brand position. In every country there are strong local producers, with brand awareness, but this is not a barrier when you have the resources and knowhow.
Within my Executive MBA program at Tiffin University/Ohio USA, I studied about the researches of Geert Hofstede referring to cultural differences, organized on six dimensions (Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long Term Orientation, Indulgence) and I started to use in my activity the 6-D Hofstede’s Model to facilitate the integration in foreign business environment.
As manager responsible to develop DECORA’s business in South and Central Europe’s markets, I have the big opportunity to daily interact with people from different countries, starting with my team (national and regional managers), business partners and of course the team from Poland where is the Company’s Head office. DECORA is one of the European leaders in floor accessories industry and starting last year we opened the modern Flooring segment by adding the main product to our portfolio. Even if it seems to be a stable market, we speak about an industry with changes influenced by the trends in interior decoration (design and decors), but also by innovative materials and solutions based on modern technologies, with focus to improve the comfort and quality of life. It is a pleasant exercise to discover the common features but also many dissimilarities between the markets in Central and Southern European countries. It is exciting to observe and apply different motivation, implementation and development methods, to identify which are the most appropriate marketing strategies and commercial conditions for each country.”
C&B: How does the story of your career sound?
Monica Obeadă: “My first contact with business world was in 2007 within Key Account Department, as Key Account Representative. This is how I made my first steps in Sales; I was very implicated and hard working and in short time I was promoted on Key Account Manager position. Cooperating with buyers and purchasing teams from international and local Do It Yourself chains, I collected valuable experience and knowledge during the seven years activity in paints and coatings industry. Growing up together with our partners, I developed the department to a team of 60 regional supervisors and local merchandisers. Practically, the Key Account Department turned from a sales channel into an independent and profitable business unit, launching products and trends.
This experience provided me a solid basis for the Executive MBA program of Tiffin University/Ohio, USA followed by attending to International Honor Society in Business Delta Mu Delta.
In 2013 I accepted the challenge from DECORA, where my good results have been valued in short time: after 6 months as National Key Account Manager for Romania I took over the Bulgarian market and two years later I was promoted as General Manager for Central and Southern Europe.
Thus, it started one of the biggest challenges, with a team of national and regional managers and 7 million euros turnover in 2015, and now with improved team formula we are preparing to close this year with 15 million euro, which means 21% from total company’s turnover. As I already mentioned, the understanding of the market, the values and consumers behavior are very important aspects. After that, I designed and implemented the appropriate strategy, I permanently updated the product portfolio and was looking for identifying new business opportunities to strengthen the brand positioning and image on each country where we are present. I admit, this evolution is the result of team effort because even if we are hundreds or thousands of kilometers distance, we act, feel and live as a team.
C&B: What were your childhood / adolescent visions and what are they now?
Monica Obeadă: “I was not the type of child or teenager to discover a passion of which to build my dream. I was educated to do all as good as I can and with consciousness, to be the best in what I am doing. When I was in gymnasium, someone told me if you are not the first, it doesn’t matter; nobody will remember who was the second or the third. That was a strong message which gave me strength and guided me for a long time and the experience confirmed me that everything should be done very well. So, I could say that my vision, or rather, my desire was to be the first.
About me now: I admit I am competitive, demanding and very correct. Fairness shows professionalism and represents the basis to build trust. In business we are looking for strong and durable partnerships and these are based on the trust we build and maintain with fair play, over time.”
C&B: What advice / advice do you have for those who are early or undecided?
Monica Obeadă: “I recommend to never give up, to take all very seriously, to assume and to anticipate the effects of each action. Instead of waiting for solutions to solve problems, I encourage all to identify and propose alternative solutions, to be involved and willing to understand how the things and processes are working.Time is running and controlling us; there is no space for superficiality, lack of attention or repeated mistakes.”