Air cargo is the world’s most international industry, covering practically every trading country in the world. The developing economy and living standards in Romania depend on an efficient transport infrastructure served by several international airlines and a range of high-quality freight forwarders.
Anca is the business development manager at one of the top 10 freight forwarders in the country and is frequently travelling around the world to look after the company’s interests.
Q/ How did you come into the airfreight industry and your company?
I started to work in this industry only by chance, accepting a job opportunity. I began as a simple agent, and gradually moved up to being business development manager. I loved the job from the first moment and here I am, many, many years after still loving it and do not regret the decision I made.
5 years ago, I took the challenge Europrim Shipping managers offer to me, to develop the airfreight department. That meant for my career even more exciting and rewarding opportunities.
Q/ What education did you have?
I graduated the University of Polytechnics in Bucharest and I am a chemical engineer. When you have to make a decision about a future career, you do not think at freight forwarding as being a good choice. And this, because of lack of information, or because the young people are not exposed to this industry, no special education for this field in Universities or if it is, is old information and superficial.
After couple of years in this industry I became the IATA trainer for Cargo Course in Romania and I am glad to see year after year, many companies are investing in their employees sending them to special training and also glad to notice the number of women is increasing ..slowly but increasing
Q/ What do you enjoy most about your work?
A It is a very dynamic job. Every day is different, full of surprises. The good surprises are welcome and are very motivating. The bad ones- you need to know what to do to fix them, and to do it fast .
You offer to the client much more than just organizing a shipment well. You offer them knowledge and time. It is a highly competitive job but meeting the challenges is the most rewarding aspects of the job
It is dynamic, exiting, challenging, rewarding , you meet different people, different cultures, you learn every day something and if you love what you do is a perfect match for a job !
Q/ Describe a typical day in your working life.
First I start with checking that all operations of the day are in order. I am Business Developing Manager and that involves also retaining the clients we have , so I have to be sure that everything is done in the most professional way and at the high level which we always devote to our clients. I know I am requesting a lot from my team but in this very competitive field, it is the only way we can be among the best. The results are already showing this.
This being done, I can move to the other tasks, like keeping the relations with our foreign partners, as I would say they are key players in our business development. They are both clients and partners and choosing the best and most competitive ones is the key to the developing progress. But you also must prove you are the best and more reliable partner for them.
In general, is difficult to make a plan of a day as you never know what can happen. There are a lot of complications that can occur, as handling the cargo is a very technical matter, a competitive commercial business with abundant opportunities for mistakes than can escalate into near disasters. Despite of a very good planning, a crisis can erupt, or maybe several ones at a same time… so you need to act fast to find solutions.
I do not start at 9 at finish at 5…this is not how this industry is working. Even when you are not in the office and you are home or traveling, you have to be available and to know how to approach any situation. Clients’ expectations are very high, and we are judged by our abilities to find immediate solutions for all their problems and everything must be done with a smile!
I have to admit also that being a Manager in this industry is not always easy and can generate some stress but when you know you gave your best and the things are going into the right direction, at the end of the day..when even this can provide great satisfaction .
Q/ How difficult or easy is it for women in Romania to secure good jobs?
Romania has a worldwide reputation as a center of excellence in learning , teaching and practice. We occupy a honorable position within EU talking about the gender equality of employees. Still , top management positions are not very accessible for women and when they are, women risk less salaries compared to men.
I was lucky as the companies I worked for and especially Europrim Shipping, appreciate the qualities and the skills a person has, more than the gender.
Q/ What qualities does a woman need to succeed in the freight forwarding business?
Multitasking I would say is the most important one.
Plus of course the capability to juggle with the knowledge. You have to understand the complex regulations of airfreight, cargo handling, legal complexities affecting the movement of goods, documentation, damage, insurance, and all of these must be mastered within a short time frame, 24 hours a day, every day. And I consider women to be very efficient at this!
Oh, I forgot passion! And women, when they love something, they do it with passion.
Q/ Do you think that the airfreight industry appreciates the value of the female contribution and approach?
A The role of women in this industry is evolving. We are being taken more seriously as we add valuable contribution and inspire others. It is so nice to see that more and more women are winning recognition prizes and awards in the freight forwarding industry and that more and more events are organized to underline to role of women in freight forwarding.
Q/ would you recommend this industry for young women seeking an interesting career?
YES, I would! Working in this industry for a while, I cannot help noticing the lack of women, especially at the meetings and events I am participating. I am recommending women to join this amazing industry but most of all to remain long enough in this field to allow them to move to management positions so they can have a better voice and represent their companies worldwide. In this challenging domain, I do believe women can bring an important contribution considering their abilities.
So, if you want to feel the adrenaline pump up on daily basis, if you seek for action, jumping in the unknown and getting out as a winner, yes, this is a place to be !