Norina Alinta Gâvan, CEO Wörwag Pharma Romania: “Success requires a lot of work, involvement, responsibility, passion and little appetite for taking risks.”

Norina Alinta Gâvan, CEO Wörwag Pharma Romania
Norina Alinta Gâvan, CEO Wörwag Pharma Romania

For Norina Alinta Gâvan, the CEO of Wörwag Pharma Romania, professional activity means passion for what she does, responsibility, involvement, honing your skills, a lot of work and discipline. Her principles in company management are based primarily on common sense (solid upbringing), together with an optimistic attitude and open and transparent communication of visions and actions (her and her company’s). Another important element is the entire team being involved in the mission of the organisation. She believes that when a team faces difficulties in working together, company performance will be affected. “A team is efficient when its members know exactly why they are part of it, understand each other’s personality, have common goals, and know their motivation for what they do individually and together. We are all different, and we use this to our advantage, both as individuals and as a team.

C&B: Norina, what is the story of your career?

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “In 1997, I returned to Romania after PhD research at the University of California, San Francisco, at the Dermatology Clinic, in the field of biochemistry of human skin, percutaneous absorption. I was a specialist biochemist at the Dermatology Clinic of the Cluj County Clinical Hospital. I felt I could do more, that my place was not there anymore, and that I wanted something more challenging. Research has been and is a great passion of mine, so I wanted to stay in the medical field, as close as possible to research. It did not even cross my mind then that I would be in a top management position! I sent my CV and cover letter for a medical representative position and… in November 1997 I was the first employee of the German company Wörwag Pharma in Romania. Since then, I keep discovering something new in this extraordinarily varied field that offers many professional rewards.”

C&B: What were your visions in childhood/adolescence and what are they now?

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “Since my childhood I have always been active, on the move. I was a track and field athlete for 12 years. Now, like in the past, I like to implement any new idea, to test and develop various projects. I have no patience to wait, to sit still. I’m an active, dynamic person and I like to make things happen.

C&B: Tell us about a positive and a negative experience related to your activity!

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “The most important decision I took was to stay in Romania, to live and to make a future for myself here. After my doctorate in the US, I had the opportunity to emigrate and build my career either there or in New Zealand or Germany. I chose to stay and work in Romania and I don’t regret this decision one bit. I believe that if we want to change something in Romania, we can do it only by living, working and enjoying life here.

In contrast, the most difficult moments of my career were the decision to restructure the team in December 2015 and the process that followed. I then assessed each individual and looked at the situation professionally; it was particularly difficult to treat the human aspect objectively to make sure I take the best decisions for my business and especially for the whole team that stayed onboard.”

C&B: What piece of advice would you give to those who are starting out or are undecided?

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “Be brave. Accept that you will make personal sacrifices. Believe in yourself and be dedicated to your dream. If you have the support of your loved ones, do not sit and think, go ahead! You see, success takes a lot of work, involvement, responsibility, passion and little appetite for risk. Then, it’s important to realise that you cannot do anything alone. The team is also essential, especially good communication between colleagues. These are necessary conditions, but they may not suffice, as businesses are also influenced by external factors that you cannot control. It takes a lot of attention, agility and flexibility in action. I don’t think there are guarantees for success or universally valid recipes.”

C&B: In your case, what are Reason and Feeling fighting for or against?

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “Reason and feeling… I’m not ashamed to have feelings. Justifications come from reason. Passion develops from feelings. For every person with a career, the balance between professional and personal time is one of the greatest challenges. For us women, all the more, because the Romanian mentality still allocates us and the traditional housewife role, on top of everything. I’m trying to find this balance, and I confess that I don’t succeed every time. I’m sorry for my loved ones when my professional time takes a lot of my personal time, but I think it’s important to take responsibility with honesty and to constantly fight for attaining this balance.”

C&B: Please provide your own definition for the society, businesses and careers in Romania!

Norina Alinta Gâvan: “The society we live in is in a continuous movement and change and it wouldn’t be bad if we looked at women with more confidence. Why should a woman as well prepared as a man and with similar studies be content with less than him? Maybe it’s time to change our mentality and accept that the era when the women’s place was in the home passed and they should be given a chance to “stand face to face with” men. Fortunately, Romania is a society with a lot of room for development, a very attractive business and career environment.”


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