Emilija Zafirova – leading by example for exceptional team results

Griffin Spotlight: Emilija Zafirova

Every month, in our “Meet the Griffin” Series, Axway presents an outstanding employee we feel embodies Axway’s culture and is a great example of commitment, achievement, journey, motivation, and work ethic.

Previously in our Griffin Series, you met Fábio Jacinto, our DSS (Digital Success Specialists) Project Manager for Latin America.

This month, we are proud to jet off to Sofia, Bulgaria to meet Emilija Zafirova, an Engineering Manager.

Job description

Emilija Zafirova started as an intern seven years ago. She worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer and Team Lead before advancing further within Axway to become an Engineering Manager.

Today, Emilija is proud to be part of the SecureTransport team. As an Engineering Manager, Emilija is responsible for four different teams within the SecureTransport family.

Her previous jobs at Axway provided the foundational stepping stones that have grown her experience and opportunities.

“Being an Engineering Manager is a balancing act between when to get involved and when to step back.”

Engineering Managers are challenged daily. As such, Emilija needs to find innovative ways to motivate her teams and provide resources that optimize their skills is a top priority.

By helping develop and grow people as a team, they can understand better how the team fits within the bigger picture.

Additionally, Emilija also participates in product delivery and quality product decisions. She makes certain that her teams are productive, content, and delivering high-quality results.

Emilija’s approach to her job?

For Emilija, the most important parts of her job are the people and the opportunities that make them grow and to give them the autonomy to make decisions and sometimes to learn from their mistakes.

Building trust with people is invaluable and the key to making them grow. When both parties have built trust in each other, everything else falls into place.

Emilija also meets with the members of her teams on one-on-one meetings. She discusses items and coaches them through their next career hurdles.

Listening is a very important skill, and everyone is important.  For example, if the manager has to make a difficult decision, it’s central to explain the reasons behind the decision to ensure continuous trust within the team.

Inspiration

For Emilija “Everything is possible.” She always works to find the right approach to turn a difficult situation into a positive solution.

Thinking strategically while still being technical is important. Emilija reviews and designs solutions but also provide guidance to her teams. This involves keeping track of all priorities to make sure that the most important tasks are moving forward.

On-time delivery is necessary, so product quality is not impacted by shortcomings. All activities are optimized within the teams as per the scope and deadlines for better delivery.

The best part of the job

Creating opportunities for people to grow and the ability to synthesize a lot of information is the best part of her job. She enjoys supporting her teams, managing execution, and coordination across the teams on a daily basis.

The challenge is to find new ways to motivate the teams and provide resources to optimize the engineers’ skill set.

The best part of working at Axway

For Emilija, the best part of working at Axway is being part of the journey and having the opportunities to grow.

She enjoys implementing her vision as an Engineering Manager. Making things happen through other people and establishing better results from a group of people working together is very rewarding.

Additionally, the products they create are all top-level Axway products. Realizing the mission for our clients and gaining positive feedback results from all the hard work.

Personal advice for your career

Emilija feels there is an answer to every situation, and it can be turned into a great solution.

Communication is the key to success. One of the best ways to achieve career attainment is to set personal goals and set a timeline for achieving them. Always have an open mind and be willing to learn new things.

Taking responsibility for our own choices is important, never accept that something is “not possible.”

Philosophy for life

Emilija’s advice is “Show, don’t tell.” The value of action is far greater than words.

Never stop sharing your passion, energy, and smile with everyone around you. It helps us to move forward and overcome obstacles.

Downtime

When your work and home life are out of balance, it can be challenging to stay productive and be the best version of yourself.

Emilija likes to recharge her batteries by filling her downtime by spending time with her family.

She also enjoys walking, reading books, watching Netflix, cycling, or creating a great meal. Finding joy is important to Emilija for a happy life.

“Never totally lose the spirit of the child you once were. Relax and smile.”

Thank you, Emilija for all the great energy and conviction you bring to your teams and the Axway table.

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