Interview with Milena Mironova – part of the management team at Maranata Transport Group Ltd., Export Department
Describe yourself in a few sentences?
I was born in Kyustendil, where in 1995 I graduated from secondary education – Economic Technical School with a specialty in the profile ‘Market Economics with Advanced Study of English’. I received my higher education at University of National and World Economics in Sofia. For the last 6 years I have been part of Maranata Transport Group Ltd. Previously, I worked for several forwarding companies over the years. I am married, I am currently on maternity leave. After 12 years of concentrated work in the forwarding industry, this period now makes me slow down, and this sensation is strange to a person who is accustomed to the daily dynamics of this profession … which invariably becomes a way of life. On the other hand, I am given the opportunity to have time for other things and interests of life for which time is always not enough.
How did you choose forwarding as your profession?
After graduating with a degree in Economics and Transport Management, I happened to start working as a forwarder. This happened after having participated with several of my fellow students in the elaboration of a project of UNWE for the Ministry of Transport on the preparation of a Transport Strategy of Bulgaria. This was a solid practical training for the transport industry for all involved. After that followed a student practice in one of the largest international forwarding companies in Bulgaria. It became also my first job. The profession turned out to be very intriguing and dynamic – with the possibility of developing variety of individual professional qualities for a young person. This is an invaluable experience gained from constant communication with clients and colleagues from other countries and cultures.
Important lessons you have learned over the years?
I learned some important lessons both in purely human terms and in professional terms. One of the most important things is the power of the human factor. A well-motivated employee – materially and emotionally – can achieve amazing results in a less well-organised or imposed company as a range of services in the industry. It is also true that a dishonoured employee, in a large and well-established firm with a perfect organisation, achieves mediocre results for the company’s capacity. Another important point is the professional relationship manager – employee. It is very important for the manager not to pressure employees with dry theories about work and unrealistic tasks and goals. On the contrary, constant exchange of information is necessary because the manager is the one who has the general vision and knowledge of the company’s development and work direction. As for an employee, he is the ‘warm connection’ to customers, the current market situation and the factors that affect it. It is from the interaction of both parties that good management decisions, efficiency and satisfaction of people are obtained. Emerging issues and conflicts are settled in time, creating an atmosphere of security and concentration of effort towards new goals.
How did you start working in Maranata Transport Group Ltd?
I started working in Maranata Transport Group Ltd in 2004. This happened at a time when I had gained experience in the forwarding sector. Professionally, I felt somewhat hesitant about whether to continue to develop in this profession or to target another. Then came the offer for work from the owner of the company Ivaylo Ivanov, who started 3 years ago his own forwarding company. He is a positive and energetic person with lots of professional experience and qualities. I was delighted to accept this job offer and with this team, I can say that if I had to decide, I would have made the same choice again.
What does Maranata Transport Group Ltd mean to you?
This is not just a job for professional realization. Here one feels like part of a large family. In the team we have built, people are united, very hardworking and well-meaning. I would not like to say that everything is an idyllic picture, no. Like everyone, we also have everyday difficulties and problems, but we always find a way to solve them together. We try to make people feel safe and secure at work. This for me personally, already as part of the company’s management team, is a very important condition and an indicator of successful management, and the results show it.
What distinguishes Maranata Transport Group Ltd from other forwarding companies?
We try to build a personal, special attitude towards the client, respecting the principles of correctness and honesty, regardless of the situation. Of course, the task is quite difficult, having in mind the specifics of the transport industry and the fiercely competitive environment. The main contributors for fulfilling this task are the Christian values and beliefs of the people from the company, which they follow not only in personal but also in professional terms.
What is needed to build a good team?
It is necessary to give a good example from the management staff – managers and direct managers. Secondly, employees should be well-educated, both strategically, about the company’s goals and the smallest details of work. Third, it is important for employees to be given the freedom to take risks and initiative in their work without fear, even at the cost of realized loss at certain times. Thus people learn to be responsible, creative and complete. In this process, the role of the manager is fundamental. For the employee, the manager should not be that superior who will follow him to see what he will do and where he will be mistaken to give him a negative assessment, but on the contrary – he must be a good counselor and colleague who can be relied on for assistance and information, who knows what’s right and how and when to do it. At the same time, the responsibility for complying with the manager’s instructions and requirements should not be ruled out.
What are your predictions about the future of the business?
My expectations for the end of this year are good, compared to the past two tough years. The reason for this has been the movement of the market for the past few months, which I think will continue until the end of the year at the same pace. A dangerous point in the work, however, is inter-company indebtedness. Therefore, for the successful completion of the year, strict financial discipline is very important. It is mostly about the collection of customer payments. For our industry, this is particularly true because of the cumulative turnover as sums.
What are you doing outside the office?
Out of work, I have rather forgotten interests and activities. One of them is reading books. Some can consider it a little old-fashioned activity, with the availability of any information and books on the Internet, movies, and so on. I do not deny the benefit of the Internet in any way. For me, however, all this cannot replace the charm of the book of paper – the freedom of imagination and the emotions it gives to the reader without the need for other stereotypes and images. I also love watching a variety of educational and science-natural channels when I have this opportunity.
Your message to the readers of Maranata Transport Group Ltd blog?
I wish them to be healthy, positive, and smiling, despite the difficulties and challenges of life, to try to turn off negative thinking. It interferes not only with everyone, but also with our nation as a whole. Let them show more affection and respect to everyone in their everyday life, not just to their closest people. That is how we will live better and happier. And in this sense I would like to add the following quote:
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? … Because your heavenly Father knows that you need them… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25, 32, 33, 34)