Full interview: Camelia Catana, a mentor in SIM’s community

Finance, Accounting, Management, Leadership, Lean Six Sigma

💃 Who is Camelia Catana, and what does she do? 

I am a Client Service Delivery Manager working for more than 14 years in business operations. I have had several management roles, and currently, I am an Integration Manager for one of our recent acquisitions.

If I am to summarize my experience, I would say I have been managing operations for different clients for the past 10+ years, leading teams from 10 to 150+ people, helping clients transform their finance & accounting processes, and accelerating their journey to the digital era. I enjoy being part of this transformation journey and seeing how innovation can help our clients deliver superior services and products and how this is helping our people grow and develop. This has also made me less patient when I see broken processes and inefficiencies, so process improvement projects are one of my “specialties” to say so.

In my most recent role, I am helping our new colleagues integrate into our company as well as project manager for a transition of work from one location to another.

On a personal note, I have been a vegetarian for the past 9 years, and this helped me discover new cuisine and how combining vegetables turn into delicious meatless meals. 

💃 When did you realize what you wanted to do? 

My dream job was to work in the banking industry, which I did in my early career years. I’ve somehow come to learn that the job & career progression in the banking industry were limited back then. So, when the opportunity to move to the corporate world as management arose, I took a leap of faith and never looked back. After my first year here, I realized I like the type of work I do, and I like how the leadership role marries the project manager role in a perfect combination for myself. Knowing my strengths (Learner | Communication | Input | Restorative | Arranger) helped me understand how these can work both in and out of my favor and be more mindful about my actions, intentions, and words. When I look back to my early years, I understand now that every project I had was to build a strong foundation for the professional woman I am today.

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

I have 4 kids: triplets, which are almost 6 years old, and a little one which is 2.5 years old. I used to say I gave birth to triplets in 2015 and woke up in 2017 😊. When I returned to work after 1.5 years, it felt like a fresh breath of air. Having kids helped me better plan and organized my time, both professionally and personally, and has helped me disconnect from work. This has a huge impact on me, as I start the days recharged and with a fresh and clear mind on the day ahead. 

💃 What does work-life balance mean to you? 

To be emotionally available for my family as now, working from home, I think it’s becoming more and more difficult to have a clear cut between personal and professional life. I also believe we all should strive for more meaningful conversations and have a more mindful approach both in personal and professional life, rather than balancing the number of hours we spend working versus personal life. It does not always work perfectly, but at least I know what I am aiming for, which works best for me. 

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

Sharing my knowledge and lessons learned with others is something I came to discover. I love doing, and it nurtures and helps me develop and discover myself. For me, life is a continuous learning experience. I have seen how powerful mentorship can help as both being mentee as well as a mentor. I’ve seen how it can boost someone's career and how grateful I feel when one comes to me and appreciates the support I’ve provided. So mentoring is for me paying it forward, showing my appreciation to the world for all the support I’ve been fortunate enough to receive during my early career years.

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

Know your strengths as well as your weak points to make the best of who you are and accept every interaction with new people, situations as a learning experience. I know this may sound overrated, but I truly believe we should never stop learning.