For 22 years at Tchaikapharma I have learned a lot – the key to success is to climb all the “steps” consistently – says Mgr. Pharm. Silvia Patrikova, member of the Board of Directors of Tchaikapharma
Ms. Patrikova, how would you introduce yourself in three sentences?
I graduated in Pharmacy at MU-Sofia and I have a Master’s degree in Public Health and Health Management. Professionally, I am a happy manager – I work in an innovative company, I have a great team and motivating challenges – every day. On a personal note, I am married to my high school sweetheart and I am a proud mother of two kids.
This year will mark 22 years with the company. Do you have any time left to reflect?
I started working for the Commercial League group of companies, of which Tchaikapharma High Quality Medicines Plc is a part, in my student days. I remember how difficult it was in the beginning to combine my full-time pharmacy studies, tough exam sessions and work. At the same time, I felt the benefits the company gave me were purely practical – I had the theoretical knowledge from university but lacked real-world experience. Yes, in these 22 years I have gone through all the “stages” and I believe that it is the experience gained at each stage that is the key to long-term success. I rarely look back, but when I do, I see dynamic development, bold and innovative solutions that have helped us achieve the most important thing – uncompromising quality in our medicines – most of them complex generics (‘polypills’). Over the past decades, Tchaikapharma has become an indispensable part of every Bulgarian family’s home medicine cabinet. It is exciting to be part of it all.
What is it like to be a woman in a leadership role in this business?
Globally, women are slowly but surely making their way to the corporate top – their numbers are growing steadily, but by less than 1% a year. And Bulgaria is no exception to this trend. When it comes to the qualities that a leadership role requires – you cannot be a successful manager and understand the specifics of a business if you do not know it inside and out. All the projects, initiatives, campaigns, public events over the years have brought me a lot of experience, but I never stop learning. I believe that only with new knowledge and constant (self-)improvement you gain trust and respect. People should have something to learn from you!
In developed economies, the biggest companies are public, like Tchaikapharma. It is also the company with the highest market capitalization on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. Do you personally own shares?
Historically, shares are one of the financial instruments with the greatest potential for growth and profit in the long term. Investing in a company you know well, in which you yourself have put a lot of hard work, aspirations and drive, is logical, rational and at the same time – emotionally satisfying. Thus, by contributing to the development of the company, I take care of the development of my own finances.
Do you find that, in addition to being hardworking and persistent, women tend to be more caring and patient? Has being a woman helped you professionally?
Rather, it has helped me. Women are more organised and more multifunctional – we can do well with many activities at once. Also, women are usually more empathetic, while men are often more direct and not always particularly delicate. A good manager should be able to unleash the potential of his team, helping each one to develop his strengths in symbiosis with the capabilities and knowledge of the others, so that together they can achieve the best result. At the same time, the manager must create and maintain a “healthy” atmosphere of trust, teamwork, and satisfaction with daily work, including when there are difficulties or mistakes are made. I think women in business know how to achieve just that – wisdom and balance.
Is it difficult to achieve business-life balance?
Without a doubt, one of the hardest things I deal with on a daily basis is balancing being a good leader and being a good mother and wife. I think that every day is a kind of battle, proving myself on all levels, among colleagues, in contacts with clients, at home, in front of the children, for whom I have to be an example. Nowadays society, and women themselves, expect themselves to be both (at least) successful, beautiful and good mothers – and all this in just 24 hours!
It’s no secret that finding quality labour is becoming increasingly complicated. Are you managing to attract talented young people and how?
The shortage of skilled labour is not only a problem for employers in Bulgaria, but affects most countries in the European Union. Tchaikapharma has one big advantage – the company is well known, modern and dynamic. The turnover is not high, as most of our colleagues feel happy, satisfied and appreciated, and they see prospects for development. Furthermore, I can responsibly say that there is no person who has worked for us and decided to pursue their career path elsewhere who has not been immediately recruited by other companies in the industry. They know that you work hard with us, but you also learn a lot. I am happy that I work with many young people every day and that we develop together. All capable, knowledgeable and ready to succeed girls and boys are always welcome!
You can read the full article here in Bulgarian.