AmCham Connect: Leadership in Times of Crisis with Coca-Cola Bulgaria & Progress

On November 26th, 2020 AmCham Bulgaria launched new exclusive format for its members. The 1st edition was on the topic Leadership in Times of Crisis with speakers Evelyne De Leersnyder, General Manager of Coca-Cola Bulgaria and Simeon Stoychev, VP of IT Operations of Progress in Bulgaria.

The moderator was Petar T. Ivanov, AmCham Bulgaria CEO, and he discussed challenges and opportunities, processes, motivation factors, engagement and personal development advices in an open conversation with speakers and audience.

The first question was related with the biggest lesson which Evelyne and Simeon have learned during the crises.

Evelyne De Leersnyder, General Manager of Coca-Cola Bulgaria

“My biggest learning throughout this crisis was to become more affectionate and affiliate with the people. I realized that to deal with this crisis situation, it would not be enough to just focus on the business challenges as a leader. So I used technologies to get closer to the colleagues around me. I was asking them how they were, even if they answer “I’m fine” every time because I realized that the communication and the support among colleagues are important, both for me and for them. This is the greatest reward a leader can receive, being closer to people, sharing and supporting each other.“, shared Evelyne De Leersnyder with passion and emotion.

Simeon Stoychev shared his three main priorities which were very important for him and for the people arond him during the lockdown:

Simeon Stoychev, VP of IT Operations of Progress in Bulgaria

“I will share with you three of our top priorities. The first was and still is to keep our employees and their families healthy and safe. The second priority was minimizing the impact of the crisis on ourselves and all those customers and partners that rely on our technologies and solutions. And the third priority was focusing on supporting the local communities where we operate. Of course, that includes Bulgaria.”

“Do you believe that we are more productive now than in the past?”, asked Petar Ivanov inspired by previous topics of work from home, the digitalization of daily tasks and the lack of physical meetings between colleagues.

“At some point, I’ve noticed that we spend too much time in online meetings. We started to reduce the time of the meetings and to strictly follow the agenda and the plan of the meeting, in order not to waste time. So we decided to protect our productivity because spending too much time in online meetings in different platforms doesn’t have a good effect on productivity. Time is the most valuable resource, so it is even more important now than ever to allocate it properly.“, said Evelyne.

According to Simeon, the positive and negative business practices depend not only on the current situation but also on the industry. He doesn’t believe that people will start living and working entirely virtually. Still, from his point of view, the most important thing now is to focus on being more flexible and resilient to new opportunities. Sometimes the people are more detached, and they need to strive to feel more connected to each other, more empathetic, patient, to have clearer goals. We need to know where we are going and what is important to us right now. We have to be more connected when we are disconnected.

View more photos from the event here.

Watch the full webinar and learn more from Evelyne De Leersnyder and Simeon Stoychev.