Full interview: Andreea Ion, a mentor in SIM’s community

HR Professional, Trainer, HR Mentor, Mediator

Andreea is a very determined person with many roles and attributions. She is a proud mother of a daughter and she is aware of the challenges a woman may face as a mom but also as a career professional. Another role is that of mentor in She is MOM community, and we are the ones proud to have her with us.

💃 Who is Andreea Ion and what does she do?

If I had to summarize in one sentence, Andreea is a person who cares. I am Medeea’s mother and Andriani’s aunt, I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a colleague and I care to fulfil each of these roles with meaning, responsibility, open heart, balance and dedication. Probably not perfect, but authentic. Professionally, I am the Human Resources Director of the Druckfarben Hellas Group, coordinating and aligning the HR strategy with the business strategy, in the countries where the Group is present.

💃 When did you realize what you wanted to do?

My adventure in HR began 15 years ago, like all the great challenges of life: with emotion, curiosity and a lot of courage. I knew almost nothing about Human Resources and I didn’t even think about quitting my job at the time - all until I received a phone call from a former boss, who offered to take over the wheel of a human resources department, at less than 30 years old.

I always liked trying new things, getting involved in challenging projects and at the beginning this was my springboard. After completing this project, I was convinced this is what I had to continue doing, as I realized that working in HR, if it is more than the bureaucratic perspective, can significantly influence, for the better, the lives of those around you.

💃 How did the arrival of your children impact you professionally?

The moment I became a mother was for me not only a personal fulfillment, but also a professional one. I was much more aware of my priorities, as in real life we cannot apply 100% of what is written in books and what suits one child does not work for another. The same as in Human Resources - what has proven to be a successful project in one company, it can be absolutely inefficient in another, what is motivating for one employee, can be useless for another.

My maternity leave was relatively short, but the rest period helped me to reach a balance between my new status as a mother and my professional life. I took care to give my daughter the best conditions for a good start in life, but I felt that in order to have a happy child, I must achieve emotional comfort in all aspects of my life, which meant, in my case, returning to work. Fortunately, I was lucky to have the unconditional support of my family throughout this period, so returning to a job’s daily challenges was not a shock. I have learned that I do not have to give up what fulfills me and makes me happy, but only that I have to pay more attention to planning.

Of course, what worked in my case is not true for all mothers. It is a personal choice and there are no standard recipes. I strongly believe that a happy parent raises happy kids.

💃 What does work-life balance mean to you?

I find it difficult to separate professional life from personal life. I don’t think that balance means allocating the same time to the 2 facets of my life. Balance has a different meaning from person to person, it depends on the stage of life we are in, the motivation we have, the temperament, and on those around us. I remember that there were years when on New Year’s Eve I left work at 10.00 in the evening, but with a smile on my face. This is what I needed at that moment of my life. Today’s Andreea needs to make things happen, to be involved in various projects and to make her daughter proud, even if that means getting home late one day or missing for a few days.

In short, for me, balance means doing what I love, what fulfills me. And not to mix things up - not to take work stress home with me and vice versa.

💃 What does it mean for you to be a mentor?

A great responsibility and at the same time a fulfilment of my mission - that of giving. After 15 years in HR, I think that the people I met had a great contribution in becoming what I am today, a favour that I want to return, by being together with people. When you take on this role for someone, it is important to have chemistry with that person, to make sure that expectations are set correctly, that you feel the trust and connection that will facilitate the transfer of energy, information and joy to move to the next stage.

💃 If you were to leave readers with a message, what would it be?

To be surrounded by authentic, good, positive, energetic people, who do things with passion and meaning and not to stop accumulating knowledge and experiences.