MILENA GEROVA is part of the team of Next Consult and the only female in the top-management team. Milena holds the position of Partner, RPA Solutions, and she is a shareholder in the company.
She is an exceptional professional with more than 20 years of experience in the development of large-scale specialized information systems and the management of high-tech IT and infrastructure projects.
Milena has solid knowledge in the field of management and development of software solutions, building Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence systems. She is a certified PMP® project manager and over the years has successfully implemented numerous projects for various industries, including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, construction and infrastructure, transport and logistics, and the public sector.
Milena is also a professional with extensive experience in training and talent development, working on projects directly related to her positions and in volunteer initiatives. She has more than 15 years of expertise in managing and developing people and over 20 years in building societies to share knowledge and experience as a volunteer.
Milena is currently part of the team of Next Consult, where she holds the position of Partner, RPA Solutions. She is the only woman at the highest management level and shareholder in the company.
Although I don't appreciate driving fast behind the wheel, my speed in life has always been 10, and occasionally even over the limit. The COVID pandemic has helped me slow down, and I can now say that I have happily discovered the charm of lower revs.
Since this summer, I have switched to automatic, even though I didn’t want to give up manual – and I still miss it. In business, however, I would always choose manual. It allows me better control in all situations, empowering me to rely on the knowledge I’ve gained and to rely on my judgement and intuition.
With their ability to show empathy and unify people, women provide balance and harmony in society. With their consistency and attention to detail, they carry every endeavor they believe into a successful conclusion. The woman is a symbol of the beginning and the future. With their presence and inspirational energy, women are the key ingredient to the success of any team and business.
I have had more than 25 years of experience in the tech industry. I have worked with and managed predominantly male teams since the beginning of my career and would say that I’ve never felt any kind of gender-based inequality.
When you have the will and faith that this is your profession (passion), and you are unafraid to show your expertise, I cannot imagine why any man would deliberately underestimate you. On another note, when they hear that you speak their language and propose equally novel ideas, you will be met with sincere admiration and respect.
If any woman finds herself in a team in which she faces professional inequality, the problem is not in her skills, but in the culture of the team and the character of its members; she should quickly recognize that this just isn’t her place.
As a side hustle, I have been organizing professional tech conferences for 20 years as a volunteer. These events allow me to meet a variety of individuals from all over the world. Everyone is always astonished by the overflowing number of women working in the IT sector in Bulgaria.
According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, women in Bulgaria are far more appreciated in the workplace, both for their professional abilities as well as their wage. To put it into perspective, the Career Prospects Index for women in Europe is 62, but in Bulgaria it is 66 (with 62 for men), clearly reflecting Bulgaria’s generous career opportunities for any woman that has the dream and drive to achieve more and to be a leader, to demonstrate her professional skills, knowledge, capabilities, and personal qualities, with the latter being crucial for the success of any team and business.
"Bulgaria offers generous career opportunities for any woman that has the dream and drive to achieve more"
As a woman, I believe that femininity is inseparable from womanhood - it accompanies us throughout our lifetimes. I am a mother of a son, and I think motherhood and empathy are intrinsic to us. Moreover, our culture values care, love, and supporting the people around us. I don’t think we will ever lose that. What we need to do, however, is to keep the balance between our personal and professional qualities.
Over the years, I have worked in almost every position in a tech company – from full stack developer and analyst to architect, project manager, and department manager. The challenge that helped me decide to join Next Consult was the opportunity to create a new business unit in the company from scratch, now called RPA Solutions. In other words, business process automation via software robots, or Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is a new technology that is entering the business world and is gaining ground quickly. Its main competitive advantage is the speed at which the added value is delivered to the business, built on top of the existing IT infrastructure, which saves time and resources for reengineering the IT environment.
The possibility for high-speed automation that minimizes (and eventually eliminates) manual work significantly increases the digitization of the processes, allowing a quick competitive advantage for the companies that implement it. The next step is “intelligent” RPA solutions, which add the power of AI, and the “low-code/no-code” development to the mainstream RPA, ultimately achieving the so-called "hyper-automation”.
This is why this new endeavor is extremely inspiring for me: the challenge to create and develop a whole new business unit, not only when it comes to the delivery of the service, but also in terms of driving up the sales, entering a new partnership and market. I am grateful to Next Consult for this opportunity and for the trust they have put in me.
Every woman that is respected and appreciated in her field could be the perfect role model for younger generations on what they can achieve if they follow their dreams and fight for who they are. These individuals will help break gender-based stereotypes of professions only suitable for males or females. One can only achieve happiness and satisfaction when they work on what they believe in, rather than following what is modern and trendy. In short, I could say that women over 40 are the muse of all the girls that are taking their first steps on their professional path.
The pandemic helped me slow down, rediscover old hobbies, and reflect on my relationships and life values. It also allowed me the time to ultimately decide to switch jobs. Unfortunately, it also restricted traveling, which usually helps me recharge, discover new cultures, and expand my views.
Humanity can be expressed in the digital world as well. At the end of the day, we live in a world where people fall in love online, get together, and live happily. This shows that the human connection is not at all constrained by communication channels or distances between individuals.
From an informational standpoint, digitization made social events and initiatives more accessible. The efficiency of businesses improved, and self-service tools for customers made lives easier by improving the overall customer experience.
The digital world has its downsides, with the main problem being that we are too used to expressing emotions in person. This complicates the process of managing people online, especially when building a team from the ground up. New team members usually need more support, and when they don’t know each other, it becomes difficult to establish team dynamics. That is why we are looking for innovative ways to address this challenge. For example, we opened a new position at Next Consult, the “People and Culture Manager” which is now taken by one of the company’s senior employees. His responsibilities include maintaining team spirit and ensuring that each individual is satisfied with their position. He also strives to maintain employees’ loyalty and team unity in the digital working environment.
"I could say that women over 40 are the muse of all the girls that are taking their first steps on their professional path"
I don’t draw a line between the two, as both hold the same energy which I embrace equally. More importantly, I do not differentiate treatment between the people I meet in my personal and professional life.
Being active is what helps me stay engaged, relieves my stress, and keeps my head cool in difficult situations. Skiing, for instance, keeps my mind busy by forcing me to focus on the skis, being in the moment, in the mountains, free and alive. This is my way to relax. Playing tennis is another activity I love to do in my free time where I play with friends and colleagues.
My life philosophy is that some contained and managed stress is beneficial - the same way adrenaline drives us in sports - keeps us alive, enhances our energies, and maintains high spirits.
Curiosity. I’m eager to find out what the day holds for me. What will I learn? How will the world change? I get recharged from the energy of the people around me, which helps me start the day with a smile and anticipation. I love what I do, and every day brings me joy. I treat it as a game. Each task is a puzzle, and I need to put all the pieces together.
Another drive of mine is my son, from whom I learn so much. As a young person, he shows me a modern and contemporary view of life, the world, and even business. The older generations have the experience, but the younger generations have the drive for any societal progress. That is why I love learning from them.