In the first episode of the Positive Romania Talks video interviews, Romania-Insider.com talks to Ioana Enache, the General Manager of Amway Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, about values, communities, contribution to society and what makes Romania and Romanians unique in her eyes.
By Dana Tudose – Tianu and Corina Chirileasa
Romania national values - which Romanian values do you appreciate the most?
It might sound like a cliché, but the proverbial Romanian Hospitality is the one I value dearly.
I’m not talking about greeting guests with bread and salt, but about our willingness to embrace a new person and make that someone feel welcome, about this “joie de vivre” that characterizes the Romanian people no matter what difficult times we are living. I got numerous confirmations about this from my foreign colleagues and friends from various multinational companies I was working for, who were confessing their surprise to find such a welcoming and open society, willing to embrace them, no matter their age, social status or nationality.
How can we inspire others to be in tune with good values and build a sustainable society?
Simple: by personal example, by walking the talk, by being a model to our small group of influence. Showing respect to us, to the other one, to rules and laws, being authentically ethical, elegant and determined in the same time are simple ways of inspiring others and bit by bit we will be reaching a good, prosperous and sustainable society.
Change starts easy, with one decision.
What do you feel have been your most important contributions to business and society throughout your career so far?
Ah, there is yet so very little I have done in this respect! And is far from even considering I have, by all means, done important contributions.
I would rather say that I step in any opportunity and challenge I face, to make Romanians seen as high level professionals and great people to be surrounded by, while I am also very driven in contributing to making us, Romanians, aware of our potential and inner beauty.
I always say that I am proudly Romanian, truly International.
To list a few from early days, I am definitely sharing the joy with the teams along which I contributed to:
- The very pioneering project of creating the first modern chain of pharmacies: Sensiblu (back in 1996)
-Bringing some of the first modern OTC’s in Romania: like Strepsils and Nurofen (back in ’96-’97)
-Crafting “Tara lui Andrei” “Parcurile Viitorului” and “Petrom City” – all signed by Petrom, as major changing projects that redefined at their time the social responsibility component
More recent ones are:
- Amway Romania & Bulgaria team just scored for the second year in a row the highest business growth and best business performance in Europe and this generates a lot of good visibility and admiration for all our business partners and colleagues from both countries. We have good chances of receiving the award for the third year as well, so fingers crossed 😊
- Last year we received in Romania Forbes “Top 100 Cool Brands” Award for Artistry, a very innovative range of luxury cosmetics & make-up brand and this great news about Romania circulated worldwide in Amway corporation
- Also last year, the Romanian Embassy in the US chose our company as the sole local nomination for an international program that awards initiatives contributing to “Women Empowerment” in societies.
On a personal scale, I keep dear to my soul the way along with my husband, we renovated a superb old building in Sinaia, and brought it back to its original splendor, while it has also been the first project of this kind from few that followed under our family small business, PoemBoem.
Having a good understanding of our past, the beautiful society from this country before communism time, helped us build upon the proudness of being Romanians and I would recommend anyone to read books that illustrate the life from that time, as there is so much there we have been disconnected from.
Last, but not least, have been privileged to join few extremely high caliber people and friends in developing under our local NGO some “walking path tours” in Sinaia, where one could have seen the amazing architecture that little town has – as a proven heritage of the greatness of the Romanians.
Lately, we managed, in Sinaia as well, to help a bit over 100 trees from being unfairly cut.
As said, far from being important contributions, but never hesitating to contribute, to make a difference, to challenge the status quo or to bring added value.
Why do you think Romania managed to become a leader among Amway national divisions? What did Romanians bring to the table and what could we all learn from it?
I very often thought about this and would say there are 3 reasons:
1. Leadership – we decided to challenge the status quo and the usual saying “this is how it’s done around here”, as we decided to become the best of Europe
2. Partnership – we generated amazing team spirit, communication and trust between all of us: business partners, local leaders, international leaders, local team, European team
3. Commitment – we stayed committed to this with all the extra effort that follows such a decision. We stayed committed to be the best version of ourselves and to generate an impact in the others in the most positive and meaningful way.
Was it easy? No, especially because each of us went out of the comfort zone, as we could not walk on the same path and generate change.
Was it worth? We all learned that we can do it and for this only I believe it pays off, as this attitude is now embedded in each of us, a team of winners, a team of strong people knowing it is in our power to change things for better, regardless of the place, circumstance or moment in time.
What is your favorite place or area in Romania? What do you like about it and how would you like to see it developing?
Bucharest, Sinaia and Vama Veche are dearest to me, by a long distance. Bucharest for its unmatched eclectic style, Sinaia for its architectural heritage and Vama Veche because I can relax there like nowhere else.
And then, there are Sibiu and Cluj, cities that I love visiting, for their architectural and also for the cultural and human potential. These 2 cities are to me a wonderful example of how culture has the power of bringing better quality in people’s life and TIFF and FITS did wonders in this respect.
I would also like for my beloved Vama Veche to find a way to save itself through culture and return to the “nomad-like” type of living, to go back to nature and its unique summer community.
Do you think Positive Romania exists? What’s included in it? And how would you like to see it developing in 2019?
People need love to give love. The same with cities. The same with countries.
So, to answer your question: Countries need love to give love.
My Romania is a beautiful one, with people who are vertical, ethical, sharing authentic values and respecting each other.
My beautiful Romania is about my ancestors, about my family and friends, my colleagues and business partners, the amazing new generation that rise, it is in fact about the co-existence, so my big hope and believe is that we all can be inspiring models to others, while we all can have many models to help us shape our becoming, as happy citizens of a beautiful Romania. The positive one, as you so nicely call it.
We do not need strong muscles for this, we just need what Romanians have: a warm heart!
Opening photo courtesy of Amway. Video shooting and editing by Popcornset.