MARIYA KOSANOVA: THE POWER OF WILL


The Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise operated by Selectium on life goals, building teams and AI

Mariya Kosanova HPE.jpg

Using technology to turn ideas into value is the core mission of Hewlett Packard Enterprise operated by Selectium. To achieve this goal the company has put the accent on building strong teams managed by skilled and dedicated professionals. In 2021, its Bulgarian office was headed by a woman with amazing expertise and determination.  Mariya Kosanova has worked in the IT industry since 2007, a true native in the Bulgarian high-tech industry. Before becoming the Managing Director of Packard Enterprise operated by Selectium (Bulgaria), she managed the company's Technological Services and Sales department, and was Partners Business Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Bulgaria and Sales Manager for Bulgaria and Romania at Infocus International B.V. How did she achieve this success? We talked to her to learn more.

What inspired you to choose a field considered predominantly male environment for your professional development?

I never perceived the field as male or female. Career choice is a matter of qualities and opportunities. If you know and you can, your sex does not matter.

I cannot recall a moment of inspiration to choose this career path. As a child I already wanted to become the manager of a large corporation, and I was aware that it would not be easy to achieve.

I entered the IT industry in Bulgaria at the right moment – when it was rapidly developing. This allowed me to understand both how it operates and that this was what I wanted to do. As soon as I graduated I started to look for ways to work in one particular company, the then Hewlett-Packard. I used to pass by its office in Sofia every day, dreaming of working for it. Some years later, this indeed happened.

When you know what you want and you work hard, you will sooner or later find yourself at the desired place. I would rather be there earlier, this is why I make extra efforts.

Did the environment for women in the IT field in Bulgaria change in this period?

The environment for women is changing, not only in IT but everywhere. It is probably slower than some women expect, but still there is change. It is good to see surveys that put Bulgaria among the leaders in percentage of women at managerial positions in the IT industry.

In my experience, however, I have not seen any significant change. This is probably because I have never felt underestimated or shunned.

The hardest part for me started after I became the manager of the company's Bulgarian office. But this is not because I am a woman. All people in managerial positions face such challenges.

Is there a female quality that, in your opinion, helps you to be a good IT manager?

Yes. Empathy. But it is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you to create a better environment for your team. On the other hand, such is human nature that even the most conscientious and loyal employee will start abusing their freedom if there are not clearly set boundaries.

We, women, should not try to imitate male leadership. We have different mentalities and leadership skills, and this is wonderful.

What is the most important thing that you achieved at your current position?

As a person who wants to build successful leadership qualities, I achieved levels of balance and tolerance different from the ones that I needed before. When you are the manager of the entire company, your responsibilities are different and you should change your perspective on some things. However, I do not believe that I have reached my limits. Personal development is a never ending process.

As for business, in my position achievement means a stable increase of the results. I am a result-oriented person and this requirement suits me perfectly. However, when I took this position, I realised that you should first invest in a relationship with the team as it will allow you to achieve your long-term business goals. All successful leaders should build trust first and then should pursue results. If the team trusts their manager, they have better results, and better results make the team more satisfied and motivated.

How do you select the people in your team?

Nowadays it is hard to find the right person for the right position. The environment is already highly competitive and you usually do not have a large choice. And when you find the right person, your budget is restricted. This is why I believe in a balance between young and experienced people in a team. Young people want to grow, are goal-oriented and responsible. They have the opportunity to learn within the team with the help and support of more experienced colleagues.

In short, I believe in balancing the different strong sides of each team member. When you select people with diverse qualities that complement one another and can work in a team, things do happen.

What is the most exciting project that you are currently working on?

I am happy that it is in one of my favourite fields nowadays – the projects of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in НРС (High Performance Computing), data processing and analysis, creation of Large Language Models etc. I like a lot this direction in the corporation's work, because it transcends business. It is a cause – the cause of exploring how this new technology can benefit society.

НРЕ has several crucial projects connected to НРЕ technologies. Here are some of them: the collaboration with Carnegie Clean Energy for creating a model for use of ocean waves electricity; the global partnership with CGIAR on fighting global food shortages caused by climate change; the breakthrough in Memory-Driven Computing in collaboration with the German research institute DZNE that seeks cure for Alzheimer's disease.

In Bulgaria, this September we finalised the country's latest supercomputer. It is in the Institute for Information and Communication Technologies of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. For me this project is very important. Both our team and the people at the Institute worked a lot on it. Today, I am overjoyed that we finished it successfully.

Sofia, 258 Okolovrasten Pat Str

phone: +359 2 426 7183

info@hpe.bg

selectium.com

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