Good managers are hard to find, but it’s even harder to get to the point where you can proudly say you know a true leader. Ioana Manoiu, Managing Partner GMP PR, has proved many times over the years that she has both these qualities. But what I discovered recently is that she can also spot a good, true talent and have the ability to help it find its true inner power and flourish. She saw in Raluca Ene more than a great PR person, but also a great manager with potential and she encouraged her to do more. Ioana trusted Raluca with the big task of becoming the managing Director of Chapter 4 in Romania. And she wasn’t mistaken. Raluca was the right person for the job and her agency’s results speak for themselves.
Their story inspired us to explore a new topic on AdHugger, interviewing leaders from different fields of communication and professionals they mentored and helped become more than just great managers, but leaders themselves.
AdH: How did you meet and what were the qualities you found and appreciated in each other?
Raluca Ene: I first met Ioana in 2008, during one of the most challenging times of my career. In all honesty, I was pretty much determined not to continue working for a PR agency and I was looking for another opportunity to put my communication skills to work. But she patiently made me realize that I still had a thing or two to say in an agency. And I went with her on that.
Ioana Manoiu: I don’t quite remember the year. Raluca had been recommended by a former colleague of hers. I liked that she was completely different, very serious and coming from another organizational culture. I thought she could complete us, and that she could add a type of experience we didn’t have at that time. And life proved us right.
AdH: What did you learn from one another?
R.E. : Above anything else, Ioana taught me how to be a people manager by being a great people manager herself. It was she who helped me unleash my true potential, and she always knew how to do it so as to fit my personality in the best way possible.
I.M.: For me, Raluca is an example of caring for details, of attention to the client’s needs, involvement and responsibility. When I handed her Chapter 4, I fully trusted her and I knew that she was the right person for the job.
AdH: What are the main characteristics that separate a good PR officer from a good PR manager & team leader?
R.E.: In my opinion, there are two things of highest importance. One is about going from a lone ranger to a team leader, and it makes all the difference when it comes to efficient project management. The other is changing the focus from task to project. Growing into having the big picture over things has the force to transform a good professional into a great PR manager.
I.M.: Above anything else, a good PR person should be an expert. She should know her job, be a good consultant, have the ability to develop strategies. A good PR manager should be able to motivate her team to do that.
AdH: How hard is it to be the leader of a PR agency in Romania of 2015?
R.E.: I don’t think it is a matter of it being easy or hard, but rather a matter of creativity, flexibility and power to adapt. In an industry where there are so many variables that define the relationship between agency and clients, one performs best when one manages to keep time, work, and money in balance, while also ensuring one has a highly motivated team that will deliver to the expectations.
I.M.: It isn’t an easy job, since we have to juggle with so many elements. On the one hand, there are clients who are putting a lot of pressure on the agency, that want everything in no time at all and at the lowest price possible. On the other hand, there are creative people who need motivation and support. Oftentimes, these two sides collide, leaving your people tired and stressed and waiting for you to come up with a solution.
AdH: What international studies would you recommend?
I.M. : Speaking from personal experience, the Berlin School of Creative Leadership is probably the best international school for our industry.
AdH: What about alternative learning? (online studies, classes, books)
R.E. : I am a strong believer in self-development. Read as much as you can, enlarge your horizons, enrich your mind, keep yourself eternally curious. Not only about the job, industry or clients, but about everything else, too.
I.M. : Amazon is the best PR school there is. I am buying at least 30 new PR books every year.
AdH: Ioana, what made you decide that Raluca would be a good manager?
Raluca used to be a division manager for several years before taking over Chapter 4, so I had the time to test her managerial competencies. Her clients always renewed their contracts, the team worked very well together and always reached its financial targets. During all those years at GMP PR, Raluca proved both ambition and integrity, much needed qualities for a top management position.
AdH: Raluca, what was your first reaction when Ioana proposed to you to be the Manager of Chapter 4?
As a perfectionist, I could never have imagined myself succeeding in an endeavor for which I had not trained. 🙂 But, with the accountant and the lawyer close by, plus Ioana’s coaching skills, and with a lot of determination, I proved to myself that everything is possible if you want it badly enough. 🙂
AdH: Ioana, what pieces of advice did you offer Raluca at the beginning of her managerial role?
I told her not to take failure too personally. She is a perfectionist and she always had the tendency to put a lot of pressure on herself and her team. I told her to take it one step at a time and do as much as she can, and if she doesn’t succeed or if she makes mistakes, it’s still ok, that’s how we learn and then move on. Sort of a “relax, take it easy”.
AdH: Raluca, what pieces of advice helped you the most and why?
The most valuable ones were the ones that helped me grow a strong team of professionals. It’s definitely the key to good performance. Another fact that made all the difference was her coach-like approach, which helped me see the flaws right where they were.
AdH: Ioana, did you have a mentor ? How did he / she help you?
I didn’t quite have a mentor, but Felix (n.red – refers to Felix Tataru, President & Founder of GMP Advertising) was always there during many hard times. We didn’t need to spend a lot of time together or see each other too often – 10 minutes of talking with him during key moments changed my perspective. I think it is very important to have someone experienced by your side to help you.
AdH: Raluca, how were your first steps at Chapter 4? What was the most important thing you learnt in your first year?
I started with a room, a desk, a laptop and a smartphone. Bootstrapping, actually, like a true entrepreneur J And I was learning by doing, a lot. I found out how important it is when you are recruiting the first member of your team and what it feels like to live and breathe with the enthusiasm of building something new and good.
AdH: What would you recommend to a professional that wants to go on his own and open a PR agency at this moment?
R.E. : If that’s your dream, do it! Choose your values carefully and respect them all the way. As it is a highly competitive industry, make sure you prepare yourself, learn management basics and choose reliable partners to handle your financials and judicial stuff. Meet a lot of people, ask a lot, read a lot. Oh, yes, and take it easy – there is an objective and a reward for every step you take, so please never forget to enjoy them while they’re happening 🙂
AdH: How would you define the leadership?
R.E. : Breathe in: always ask yourself what you can do today to be better tomorrow. And then breathe out: ask yourself how you can help your team today to be better tomorrow. Now repeat.
I.M. : Inspire people to reach the dream you chose for them.