On March 8th we will be celebrating the 119th International Women’s Day. This day aims to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also raises awareness of the fight for women’s equality. According to the UN, women still don’t have the same rights and opportunities as men anywhere in the world.
Let's Sit Down With Szabina
To celebrate this day, we decided to interview our operations manager and crowned ‘Queen of the Warehouse’, Szabina. In January of 2015, Szabina arrived in Amsterdam from her hometown of Budapest, Hungary. One month later she started working on the production team at the half-year-old Jimmy Joy. Despite being the only woman and foreigner, she was promoted to operations manager only a year later. Thanks to her organizational skills, we have a smooth running inventory, impeccable production planning, the future prognosis for the stock, better teamwork within the production compartment and gender equality at Jimmy Joy.
Continue reading to learn about her journey from swiping on Tinder to kicking major ass in the Jimmy Joy warehouse.
How did your adventure at Jimmy Joy begin?
"It’s probably not your average application process. I signed up for Tinder, hoping to meet some people in my new city. I mentioned to one of my matches that I was also looking for a job, who pointed me towards his friend’s Joey’s new start-up, and that they were looking for someone. So, before even having a date with this guy, I had already managed to get a job here (we went on a few dates, it didn’t work out romantically). It’s funny, my whole up and running career depended on a Tinder swipe – so if anybody’s on Tinder, don’t give up, maybe it won’t be the love of your life but you can find a cool job as well."
How did you grow professionally within the company?
"After one year of working on the production team, I was offered a promotion to handle logistics, with that the inventory, the ingredients and the guys in production. These tasks amounted to me essentially becoming the operations manager, which was a big deal considering I was the only girl and the only foreigner in the company at the time."
"As with most start-ups, the structure and organization were still a bit rougher then, but I took over and said: “trust me, let me do it, if it’s wrong, let me learn from my mistakes”. And so they let me, and after seeing me kicking major ass, they let me take over fully."
"Today, I am also part of the office management and financial team, assisting in bookkeeping, organizing lunch and out-of-office team bonding activities."
How did you grow personally?
"When starting to work at Jimmy Joy, I was the only woman, and definitely felt that. I had to defend myself from some silly boy remarks from time to time, which encouraged me to become quicker, funnier and a bit more easy-going. These developments have helped me out in my personal life as well, since now I notice I've become wittier on dates too.''
Did you always dream of becoming an operations manager?
"Before moving to Amsterdam and starting at Jimmy Joy, I studied film theory and photography. However, as a child, I wanted to be a teacher. This actually fits my current job well, as I lead a group of 7 to 14 people, consisting mostly of males, through the Jimmy Joy production process. I was always into music, literature, and dance. Now I’m also doing stock, inventory, and finance, so I’m balancing both sides of my brain. It’s great."
What is the secret to leading a team of men?
"I’ve never been an extremely authoritative person, and still do not consider myself one today. Instead of giving orders in an authoritative way, I prefer to explain why something is important, and through this make them understand. My goal is to make teamwork as strong as possible so I personally tell each and every worker that they did a good job when they deserve it, which works motivating."
Do you have advice for your younger self?
"My advice for my younger self is to not get easily triggered by arguments and remain calm and in control. It also means standing up for yourself, even if it’s uncomfortable."
"I wasn’t brave enough for any of that when I started here. I was in a new country and a new company. So, in the beginning, I didn’t have that mindset yet, but now I feel empowered enough to not be afraid and talk back."
Who is your biggest role-model?
"Jennifer Lopez! She is an amazing wonder woman in all aspects. I am often overwhelmed with an appreciation of what a strong woman J. Lo is: I value her independence and strength, even at age 50, and I am motivated daily by her accomplishments."
We would like to thank Szabina for this interview and wish everyone a wonderful International Women's Day!