My life story has been quite a ride. I was born in Switzerland and lived in Geneva for the first six years of my life, followed by a couple of years in Sofia, Bulgaria and another six years in Brussels, Belgium, where I completed my high-school degree at the American School of Brussels. Once I graduated, I moved to the United States and completed my bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a concentration on the Middle East at the American University in Washington, DC. This must’ve been one of the most interesting, rewarding, and exciting academic experiences of my life. I then went on to complete my master’s in Comparative Politics: Conflict Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK, a top institution in the field of economics and politics and one of my greatest academic achievements. I’ve been extremely lucky to have traveled, studied, worked, and lived in unbelievable places. For example, as part of my studies, I had the opportunity to volunteer at various human-rights organizations in Jerusalem. I worked with Sudanese refugees in Tel Aviv, volunteered at a Bedouin and at a refugee camp in the West Bank, and visited hot spots where protests and human rights violations were taking place in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’ve seen extreme poverty and terror first hand – most people are completely unaware of this part of my life and are often shocked upon hearing of it.
Up until a few years ago, I had never spent longer than three to four years in the same city, or country, which to this day has its impact on me. I decided it was time to give my country a chance and moved back to Bulgaria permanently in 2013. Upon my return, I started working at various large US companies, starting with Hewlett-Packard and moving on to IBM, then Concentrix, and finally, I ended up being recruited to the Account Manager position as part of the Mailjet project at Pontica. I decided to turn away from large corporations for a number of reasons, including the lack of personalized approach from the management, as well as the fact that all too often, regardless of one’s qualifications, effort, or motivation, there is a disregard for your achievements and a sense that any employee is replaceable in no time. At this stage of my life, I find that working in a smaller company gives you a stronger sense of belonging, and an ability to stand out more strongly as an individual and as a professional. I am fulfilled in my current position both from a professional and an individual standpoint. One of my goals has been to inspire other young Bulgarians living and working abroad that they too can find fulfillment in Bulgaria, if only they were to give it a shot without falling into a pattern of judgment.
To me, motivation has always been dependent upon a combination of factors. From feeling content at work and in one’s daily responsibilities to being a part of a pleasant working environment, which includes positive, interesting, and intelligent people at the same time. This is exactly what I love as part of my project Mailjet at Pontica – it’s rare to find a team of professionals who are both good at what they do, and also have their own fascinating life experiences to bring to the table. The overall conditions that a company offers to its employees are also extremely important, but it is not the main factor that keeps me around. Challenge is at the heart of human growth, and the fact that I am still constantly learning in my job is hugely significant in my decision to stick around and grow as part of this company.
Nicoletta after work
My after work life is quite colorful. I love to keep myself active through sports and travel. I take every chance I get to leave Sofia and visit new places, both around and outside of Bulgaria. I enjoy traveling and tasting different cuisines and drinks, throwing myself into the local culture of the new places and people I visit no matter the risks. I also try to sustain my interest in politics and conflict areas by updating and educating myself about anything that happens on the international scene. Combining education, work and fun are difficult, but to me, one without the other does not make sense. The good old cliched saying “Work hard, play hard” describes me very accurately, keeps my spirit energetic, and makes me feel alive.