"The go-to person for tasks and requests that don’t fall under a specific process” - that’s how Raluca Gherman describes her job as Director of Operations in FortConsult – or as she calls it, ‘Ensurer of Smoothness’.
What do you do at NCC Group and where are you located?
I am a Director of Operations by title; Project Manager by trade and education, and a problem solver by self-designation. I am curious, wired to love control, plans and solutions, but I am also extremely passionate about people and processes. This means that I wear many hats at all times in FortConsult, depending on the need or challenge; from overseeing the Project Management (PM) practice to Procurement and Administration to HR and Internal Processes. So, I would describe my role as the ‘Ensurer of Smoothness’. I am currently working from my home office in the South of Germany.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My daily goal is to create the ideal environment for my colleagues to thrive, to perform at maximum capacity, efficiency and motivation while ensuring a healthy business and focusing on client satisfaction. This means that no daily ‘to do’ list looks like the previous one. We are always looking to improve something; to address new challenges and to adjust to the ever-changing landscape.
I work very closely with the PM, Sales and Delivery teams to improve internal processes, but also with the rest of the Group to ensure a successful collaboration both in client deliveries but also in joint processes. The rule of thumb in general is that I am the receiver of all tasks and requests that don’t fall under a specific process. And I love that about my job – never a dull or routine day at the office.
What’s the best thing about working in a global company?
For me, the best thing about working in a global company is the same thing I find rewarding in my personal life - meeting people of all backgrounds, cultures, ambitions and goals. I take inspiration from my colleagues’ stories and motivation in becoming a better version of myself by working with some of the brightest and most interesting people in the industry. I feel incredibly lucky and humbled to have the opportunity to work in a company that truly values diversity, the individual and takes strength from it while attracting talent at such high-level of quality.
What was your path to cyber security?
My passion for details and my belief that everything in life and at work is and should be treated as a project, led me to believe I can make a difference in any industry. After ten years in Vodafone, and through a chain of unexpected personal events and extremely fortunate encounters, I started working as a PM/Quality Assurance (QA) responsible for the PCI (Payment Card Industry) area of FortConsult back in 2011. That is when I understood the value that the cyber security industry is bringing to every individual and to the world in general by making it a safer place; and I became an evangelist of the trade. I then found my passion for auditing and turned into a full-pledged QSA (Qualified Security Assessor), but I have never truly renounced my project management calling. I have returned to Project Management to lead a new team that was in charge of all deliveries in FortConsult, only to build upon that role as the needs of the company have changed, and the natural growth occurred.
You work remotely, from your home office in Germany. What is the best and most challenging thing about working from home?
I work remotely from the South of Germany, where I am surrounded by all my virtual colleagues on all online communications means possible. Daily, I communicate with 20-30 colleagues, I have three different messengers open, I use a fully charged phone in half a day, and I get to see through video calls various colleagues from all over the globe.
I never feel lonely while working from home because many of my colleagues do the same and have the same needs for communication that I have. I believe that we have perfected the remote-work to a level where it feels like second nature; where meetings are fast and focused; where collaboration is achieved outside the boundaries of face-2-face meetings, but also email communication.
I would say that the best thing about working from home is the focused time you can have upon choice and the time you save from commuting. In my case, one of the advantages is that I can also take my cat to work! The downside of working from home is the lack of the office vibe, which I otherwise find thrilling. Catching someone at the coffee machine and complimenting them about a new hairstyle or hearing about an interesting article they have just read is a bit more difficult when working from home. However, we, remote workers, always make time during the day to catch-up with someone and learn what’s new in their life. This is what makes NCC Group the ideal workplace in my view.