#WomenInTechnology – Talking to Andreea Honceriu

We are continuing our #WomenInTechnology series with our restless Andreea Honceriu, a dedicated and hard-working project manager on one of our biggest projects. You may have heard about her from the ClujLife article or even worked with her in one of your previous projects – she has quite an experience behind.

Besides the responsibility of coordinating an entire team, she also makes sure things go according to the plan, exercising her outstanding stewardship skills and keeping customers pleased. Upon her arrival in the company, she brought her experience and knowledge, acquired in a span of 17 years working in two large IT companies in Cluj-Napoca.

Looking back to the first day she accepted a job in this field, on a testing position she was quite a novice and she didn’t know exactly what to expect. She did have a major in sciences, after all, both of her parents are maths and physics teachers, but the real world of IT had a very different flavour than what she experienced in school. In essence, she built her career from scratch she says, moving across several roles, from testing, to test management, project management, and ultimately business development. She’s found her element. 

You may wonder at this point, why TEC, why now?

“I really wanted to work in a company that is not a corporation. I believe with all my heart that in companies such as TEC you have more room to experiment, to do things the way you want, and you have freedom. There are some basic rules, of course, but you don’t have that rigidity of procedures, specific to corporations. My greatest satisfaction is that I can express my opinion and it is listened to. And that applies to anyone in the company. This is a premise from which we always start at TEC – if you have something to say, say it, because there are always ears that listen. Moreover, I am a solution person and many of my colleagues have the same mentality, which helps us to evolve professionally and personally. I like the involvement of my colleagues, the common desire is to do a lot of things, to give your soul for what you think. I think that what makes the company work this good – the great energy of the people and a common drive that is hard to replicate.”

The project she is responsible for is a one-week-long event in July, and in the interview, she was given a fair warning that during the event she would spend a lot of time in the office, working almost 24/7 very likely spend a lot of time in the office, pulling a few all-nighters to assist the live event. When she heard about the number of hours that her colleagues spent at the last event, she could not believe it. Until the event happened.

“I didn’t think I could spend so much time at work without realizing that 15 hours had passed or without wanting to go home. We felt a very close connection between us, we had the feeling that we could move the mountains together. This enthusiasm isn’t just mine, but ours, everyones. The experience was great for me.”

Andreea finds it crucial to get to know your teammates, professionally but also personally, hear their jokes, their intricacies, their life stories. We are the sum total of things that happen to us, at all levels.  After all, she says, we are all human and evolve in different contexts, at different times, and we are each motivated by completely different things. 

As a team leader, I believe you need to take the pulse of your colleagues, find out what’s their state of mind and be ready to help. It’s important to know how to speak your mind and offer feedback.

“The human interaction in which I tell you what I think, and you do too, in which I explain my point of view, and you explain yours is what helps us evolve as human beings. I have given some good feedback in my professional life, but some less good as well, and I have learned over time that the one who gives feedback has a duty to help the other to grow, not just to deliver information. At the same time, the recipient must be open enough to understand that what is presented, is the other’s perception of reality, not the absolute reality. To understand that in a certain context, an action of his has triggered something in interlocutor. Take feedback at home, accept it or not, it’s strictly your decision, but from any feedback, you can learn something.”

When she entered the IT field, leadership and decision-making positions in companies had been held by men. Only in the last 10 years, things have changed. But not because someone decided to put women in leadership positions at some point, but simply because she believes that women have had the freedom to develop professionally enough to show that they are just as capable as men.

“I never felt like I was in any way disadvantaged in my 18-year career in IT because I was a woman, in spite of having 2 maternity leaves. I left, but when I returned, I resumed from where I left off. In addition, as a parent, you are facing many extra tasks and urgent situations. I did not feel that I was disadvantaged by this, on the contrary, I saw that people appreciate that in addition to having two children, I can be a good professional. From my point of view, as long as you know how to adapt as a colleague to the team you belong to, gender doesn’t matter, what matters is knowledge and attitude. I can go so far as to say that attitude matters more than knowledge. The latter can be acquired.”