We had the distinct pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Alexandra Shtetinska, HR Manager and SBP, and Angelina Delcheva, Talent Acquisition Partner, from The Coca-Cola Company to learn more about their IT center in Sofia, how they’re shaping the employee experience for women in STEM, and how they are developing networking and learning opportunities within the STEM community.
The Coca-Cola Company is an incredible brand but it’s not always the first place people would look for an IT career. So, what attracted you to The Coca-Cola Company, and what makes this a great place to work?
Angelina: There's something special about The Coca-Cola Company. There's a sense of pride that comes from building brands people love and making the most of ourselves as a company and as individuals. The company gives you freedom, resources, trust, limitless opportunities, and inclusivity, which I believe are vital for empowering women in the IT field. At Coca-Cola, you can interact with the world and educate yourself while welcoming failure as a learning opportunity. Coca-Cola is a place where you can challenge ideas and express alternative viewpoints, the leadership helps you to set high-performance standards for yourself and others. A place where you can reach your potential.
The Coca-Cola Company has a rich history around the world and has developed a strong purpose: to Refresh the Work, Make a Difference. Acting with a growth mindset means taking an expansive approach to what’s possible and believing in continuous learning to improve the business. The behaviors that drive that growth mindset are: being curious, empowered, inclusive, and agile. Which one of these attributes most resonates with you?
Alexandra: Be Inclusive - We build on each other’s ideas and embrace our differences both inside and outside of our walls. We work together to get better results, we are proud to add value in the areas we are experts at, and we demonstrate curiosity to understand and collaborate with experts in areas we know less about.
Angelina: Be Empowered – True empowerment is the result of taking responsibility and giving yourself permission to see it, say it and do it, and owning the outcomes. When you have the courage to make bold recommendations and take bold actions, you feel inspired to follow through on promises and commitments. Because we move forward faster when we all take action.
The IT Hub in Sofia is a recently new organization within The Coca-Cola Company; what are you and The Coca-Cola Company doing to support women in IT, especially during the COVID-19 crisis?
Alexandra: By providing time, space, communication channels, understanding, and care to everyone. We hold well-being, Q&A, updates, and Townhall sessions by leaders. We leverage virtual engagement through virtual coffees, lunch & learn sessions, team building games, sports challenges. We offer employee assistance programs, coaching, and all types of learning and upskilling opportunities. Our company is doing a lot to support the communities and people in greatest need.
Angelina: We are more than ever guided by our core values, putting our people first. Coca-Cola’s main goal is to support the diversity and women empowerment through implementing policies supporting competing responsibilities and flexibility arrangements. We are trying to encourage employee’s constant development by launching free learning and development platforms focused on diversity and inclusion, leadership development, women empowerment, networking sessions and webinars, online classes, virtual conferences, free interactive platforms, and inspirational challenges.
Both of you are working on launching The Coca-Cola Women in STEM (CWIS) initiative in Sofia. What are the priorities of this initiative and how is it making a difference?
Alexandra: There is a great IT tradition in Bulgaria and women are an essential part of it. I believe we need more self-confidence: awareness and positive examples to encourage women to enter IT and to pursue leadership careers in IT. If we build an environment where women support each other, I trust we will make a difference in getting rid of stereotypes.
Angelina: CWIS is dedicated to contributing to the talent pipeline at The Coca-Cola Company as an organization and by raising awareness in the community around IT opportunities by empowering, educating, and inspiring the women of Coca-Cola around the globe to excel in leadership under the STEM umbrella.
Women in the ЕМЕА IT community, as part of CWIS, are focusing their efforts on cultivating a culture of inclusiveness and diverse representation by implementing a multifaceted approach to encourage diverse talent to come, stay, and thrive. In the second quarter of 2020, Women in EMEA IT became a member of the Global Women Tech Community/Coding Girls and created their local community as part of the Women in STEM strategic efforts to improve and promote diversity and inclusion as core corporate values.
CWIS gathers the top talent and thought-leaders for networking, learning, and inspiration at curated events designed to provide professionals with actionable skills and knowledge they can use to strengthen themselves and advance their careers.
The Coca-Cola Company is leading the way for women in STEM by providing community and career opportunities around the world. If you’d like to connect with the CWIS team at Coca-Cola, follow The Coca-Cola Company and Angelina Delcheva on LinkedIn to get the latest on networking, events, and career opportunities.
Alexandra Shtetinska is HR Manager and SBP, EMEA IT, and responsible for providing strategic HR coaching to EMEA IT leaders on the growth journey to digitize the enterprise. Her psychological and business specialization is related to HR strategic consulting and design of talent management and development. Her Ph.D. education in Cultural and Differential Psychology is driven by the desire to understand, enable, and celebrate diversity at work.
Angelina Delcheva is Talent Acquisition Partner, EMEA IT and leads The Coca-Cola Company’s IT recruitment efforts for Sofia. With her Master’s in Labor Markets and HR Development, she thrives on exploring people’s skills, passions and knowledge in order to connect them to IT career opportunities so they can follow their passion and do their best work.