She planned to be a lawyer, but upon rethinking the meaning of work and through some unobvious choices, she became a Business Manager at Sii Poland. She loves to seize unusual opportunities for growth and explore new areas, as clearly proven by her past experiences – Tina spent a year at an IT company in India, co-organizes TEDxWarsawWomen, runs with Sii team in Runmageddon and has just climbed Kilimanjaro. As of 2019, she is pursuing a career in sales and customer service at Sii Poland and says that she loves the company for its transparency and the opportunity to put her own ideas for improvement into practice. Tina Zhuk, Business Manager at Sii Poland, talks about her deep sense of purpose, passion and growth in her work.
How did your adventure at Sii start?
I got here in 2019 and it was my second attempt to join the company. At first, I applied to the Recruitment department, the second time it was the Sales department that turned out to be my place and this is where I currently work. By then, I already had several years of experience as an IT recruiter but I was suffering from a lack of development in the areas I cared about. At Sii, I took full charge of sales and customer service from the beginning. I’ve been here for more than four years now because I like the way this company is managed. It is extremely important to me that my ideas are always listened to, and when it comes to their implementation – I am responsible for them. In addition, I value our transparency and the way we communicate within the team. I have learned, more than once, that at Sii, these are not just written postulates but values that my managers actually follow in their work.
What are your responsibilities and which ones do you value the most?
I’m a Business Manager and I interact with a lot with people on a daily basis: whether it’s managers on my client side, Delivery Managers or Resource Managers from Sii.
This job gives me a great sense of purpose. Our team takes care of a pharmaceutical client and every day I see Sii teams doing a fantastic job at delivering services and software for clinical trials. Our specialists work on projects focused on terminally ill patients, such as those with oncological diseases. I know that we are making a real contribution to improving their lives because several people I know have undergone or are undergoing treatment with products from this very company.
A big part of my responsibilities is taking care of the people for whom I am a Line Manager. I’m fortunate to work with some really wonderful people. I appreciate their diverse ideas, interests, preferences and needs.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Negotiations, meetings with the client, workers’ annual interviews – all of these require preparation, and there is really a lot of topics. Therefore, a major challenge is task prioritization. Besides, my job is to build long-term relationships with the client’s managers and with workers, and such relationships need to be taken with utmost care – which is the second big challenge for me. Crisis situations occurring at work are a litmus test of whether this collaboration is actually going well, and whether the whole thing is going in the right direction. At the same time, as managers, we have to constantly strive to maintain this right direction.
Out of responsibilities that are new to me, I can mention conducting trainings for interns. I believe that skillful and effective training of others is now one of the most responsible and important managerial competencies.
From your point of view, what does Sii’s mission statement mean? Is it followed by real actions?
For me, this was the key factor during the recruitment process and in accepting Sii’s offer: finding out whether the company’s mission and actions are consistent and authentic. Sii’s mission is to identify and promote the best employees. I combine it in practice with business goals: the needs of my client and, of course, the needs of IT professionals. My goal is to not just hire a specialist to work on a project, but to establish a long-term relationship, to support the establishment of our common short- and long-term goals, and to help us grow, even when we want to change. As a Line Manager, it is important to me that the worker feels that the work meets their goals and contributes to their personal development.
In the current project, I was able to identify and promote several coordinators, and quite a few people changed positions or their levels. I am proud of our technical writers’ team, which was selected through an internal reskilling project. For many of them, it turned out to be their very first step in IT, and I’m already happy to see how, after a year or two, my workers go further into testing, analytics or programming – to their satisfaction, as well as that of Sii and the customer!
In the context of employee development, I also greatly appreciate the tools that Sii strategically approaches. As an example, I can mention the Job Changer application, which on several occasions helped us choose the career path of various people, or the Passion Sponsorship Program. I have never met a company that invests so much in non-work development by supporting sports, cultural or technical passions. Thanks to Sii, trying new things is so much easier!
It seems that you ended up in the Runmageddon team this way. How did that happen?
By accident 🙂 I was getting ready for a high-mountain expedition but I was struggling with self-motivation to exercise regularly. That’s when a colleague from the team asked me if I was going to Runmageddon because he didn’t want to go himself. So, I figured that, first of all, a 12 km run with obstacles is a workout after all, and secondly, it’s always better and more fun to run in a group. And so, I got hooked! And since being part of a team is very addictive (the 12 km in Runmageddon is really the easiest part of it!), we started doing more runs. A little fun, a little sport, a little competition with each other. For me, it’s perfect!
You enjoy those kinds of extra challenges. Recently, I noticed on LinkedIn that you are involved in TEDxWarsawWomen.
Yes, I’m a part of the organizing team. This is an event organized under the TED license once a year. The topics are very diverse, offbeat, and powerful. This year I was especially inspired by a performance about the perception of death in our society and a teacher’s speech on education. To be a part of such an event is something unique! It’s an opportunity to work with a group of experienced and wonderful women.
Besides broadening my horizons, I benefit from TEDxWarsawWomen in my professional and private life on a daily basis. During the last edition, I was part of the Event Experience Team and one of my main tasks was to work with the Polish Humanitarian Action. At the TEDxWarsawWomen PAH presented its VR exhibition from war-affected areas. For me, this collaboration was particularly important. Looking at the photos and footage through VR glasses, you are transported to another world, a few hundred or a few thousand kilometers away from Warsaw, and you observe the lives of other people in the affected areas. Then you think that if we had more understanding for others, the war across the eastern border could have been avoided.
From your point of view, what was crucial to your career development? Are you able to list such milestones?
Honestly, I’ll admit that although I spend a lot of time at work, the course, purpose and pace of my development are mainly controlled by my nonprofessional goals. As a matter of fact, I never planned to work in IT or even in Poland. I wanted to be a lawyer, an expert on criminal law in Ukraine. But I’m one of those people who seize opportunities without much thought! So, at first, I changed my professional path, and the next step and quite a challenge was moving to Poland. I had to quickly learn the language, acquire new skills, and make a living.
That’s when the strong need to take care of myself and my own well-being first appealed to me. This is also one of the reasons why I appreciate working at Sii. Various workshops, courses, Passion Sponsorship Program, funding of various sports groups – all of this allows you to enjoy your work more. As I said, I grab crazy opportunities – another important step on my development path was my year spent in India. The idea to drop everything and go to a country with completely different customs resulted in a beautiful time spent in a tiny Indian IT company (let’s agree, that 500 people is still a small company in India 😏). That time made me think about how diverse the world is and how many different perspectives there are on life.
For the last 3 years, the pace of my development has been motivated mainly by my passion. I love mountains and every year I advance towards higher and more difficult peaks. The mountains involve effort, a lot of work, focusing on the goal and fighting against yourself. It’s where I know that the only thing I can’t fight or overcome are the weather conditions. The rest is within my reach. What is important is experience, persistence in pursuing the goal and picking yourself up after failing. What’s more, I’m transferring my strength derived from this to work, because that’s where perseverance and ambition come in handy, too.
If so, you have a very promising and powerful period ahead of you, as you have just returned from Africa after conquering Kilimanjaro!
Yes, and I already know I have to go back there! I climbed Gilman’s Point – I conquered Kilimanjaro and it’s an experience beyond words, including the hallucinations I got! I didn’t have the strength to walk around the crater and glacier anymore, as my acclimatization failed me a bit. Enriched by these experiences, I want to go back there to conquer the roof of Africa through a more difficult route, maybe also climb the smaller Mawenzi peak. My entire visit to Tanzania has been wonderful, so I highly recommend this destination to anyone who is hesitating. There are fantastic hard-working people, with whom you have a chance to stay for a while during the whole trip, to see their schools, kindergartens or the beautiful nature in which they live. I am so in love that I can now declare: I am ready to open Sii Tanzania! After all, the world belongs to the brave and crazy ones! 😊
If ambition and courage are also your strengths, and you are looking for a company that firmly supports employees in their development, check out the job opportunities and join us!