A Day in the Life: Emma Kozma
In summer 2020, Emma moved from Lebanon to Athens to take the next step in her career journey and become a Dialectican. Having joined our Client Service Team just over a year ago, she was recently promoted to an Associate Manager.
We called her on Slack to discuss her Dialectica experience so far and find out more about her day-to-day in the office.
1. Hi Emma, let’s start from the basics. Tell us about your role, what is that you do here at Dialectica?
Where to start? Since joining about a year ago and up until this June, I was working as an Associate in our Client Service Team. I was mainly focused on research, actively and fully immersed in finding the best expert profiles to put them in contact with our clients and help them with each specific project they were working on.
Since the very beginning, I also had my mind set on fast-track promotion, as our career pathway enables employees to get promoted faster, if they manage to reach specific KPIs. I was really determined to achieve that by engaging in as many training sessions as possible, without compromising the quality of my work. Thus, just a month ago, I was promoted to an Associate Manager and now I manage my very own team of six Client Service Associates; George, Vale, Mohamed, Zack, Vasiliki and Anastasios.
2. What’s a typical day in the office for you?
I arrive at the office by 10am, open my laptop and make myself a coffee. Usually my colleague Marcello comes in a bit early as well, so some days I make coffee for both of us and we have a catch up chat on the balcony. By 10:25am, we’re plugged in for the morning team meeting.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, most teams have had members working from home, so for now our team meetings take place via Google Meets. During them, a senior member of the team shares their screen, touching base on all active projects and logistics we are working on. Then, all members update each other on their progress, research status, as well as goals and plans for the day.
And by noon — well…it’s time for action! By 3pm, we regroup to share updates on team progress and new projects received and 7pm is wrap up time! Before leaving the office, we send our end of day emails and then update our worksheet to have it ready for the next day’s morning meeting. I’m very glad that restaurants and bars are open again and we can go back to our regular after work bites, drinks, music and fun with the team.
3. Now what about your background? How did you decide to apply at Dialectica?
I am from Lebanon and I have a background in Medical Laboratory Sciences and a Master’s degree in International Management with a specialization in Marketing. Sounds totally impressive and irrelevant, right? What if I told you that I also have about ten years of experience working in Pathology and Hospital Laboratory Management?
With Lebanon’s economic crisis, I decided that it was time for me to leave the country and so I started looking for jobs abroad. It was a great opportunity for me, because at the time I really wanted to make an industry switch. During my Master studies, I was mostly drawn to consulting-related courses and then I found out about Dialectica on LinkedIn. I am also half-Greek, so the paperwork was very easy in my case.
I applied to Dialectica because I saw that it’s a fast-growing people-oriented start up and it looked like the kind of business where you can make a name for yourself and grow professionally and personally. And now that I’m part of the team, I know that this is all true.
4. What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a Dialectican?
I think that there are some traits that you should either have as a person or start developing as soon as you join Dialectica. An outgoing personality, an open mind, a team-oriented mindset, and positivity, all these are definitely a plus! On the other hand, The job can become quite demanding at times, so it is very important to learn to maintain a healthy work/life balance and make the most of your time at the office. Some other skills that definitely help are the ability to multitask and communicate well with others and be able to put thoughts into words.
Probably the most important advice I can give is to prepare yourself for the interview, as this is the gateway to the actual job! Google the company to get a better understanding of what they do, check their social media channels to figure out who they are, look into the competitors to get the bigger picture of the industry. Consider reaching out to someone from HR and ask for more information as well — basically, never be afraid to take the extra step if your mind is set and you really want this job.
5. And what thoughts would you share with Dialectica’s new or future joiners?
Remember that this is the kind of company where you are given a chance to prove yourself, show what you have to offer and most importantly get recognized for your efforts. Of course, this also comes with a great sense of responsibility and expectations. Always know that the team is very supportive and very present; everyone is there to help and achieve things with you. Given the amount of training, session materials and personal support, you have unlimited access to everything you need (and more!) to grow. Adding to that, everyone is truly valued, feel comfortable to share your ideas, opinions and feedback.
I moved to Greece not knowing anyone — in the entire country, not just Dialectica — and I’m glad to be able to say that I have true friends here; friendships that exist and last beyond the office walls. Fun fact: I just returned from a vacation trip with a very close friend and colleague who I am very proud to call a brother! We spend more time together than we do alone or with our families, we share so much during the day and we have a very strong bond. And, speaking generically, this is pretty much the office vibe at Dialectica!
6. What are the key learnings from your Dialectica experience so far?
I have learnt not to be intimidated by a new culture; to listen and to be open to join a different business industry and have a new learning experience. Dialectica is also a “drop the ego and stereotypes” company; here, I figured out that sometimes you might have to report to someone that is younger for you for example, and that is alright! If someone is in a specific position, it means that they have truly earned it through their work, regardless of their age, position, background or social status.
7. Can you share your most exciting and challenging moment at Dialectica?
Oh I have a lot of exciting moments! One is purely work-related; it is making it to our company-wide monthly all hands meeting and being one of the top 3 performers of the month for the very first time. Seeing my name there — it was a really proud moment for me. Another achievement I’m proud of is being a founding member of our expat employee resource group for all international employees in the Athens office. As a group, we’ve already managed to start Greek language courses and organize some bonding and cultural activities. We also offer to help if someone faces a bureaucratic problem or has any concerns, in order to make the overall experience and integration to a new culture smoother! The aim is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and at home.
On the opposite side, maintaining a top performing status and challenging myself to break my own records has proved challenging at times. However, if you are like me and you’re looking to achieve fast-track promotion, you have to push your own limits and expectations — from my perspective, this is something that definitely contributed to my promotion.
8. What is the one thing you would never change about Dialectica?
My team — I would never change my team, I want them all to stay exactly as they are! We have an amazing bond and great communication, lots of fun and at the same time, we trust and understand each other.
Oh and I would never ever change Kyrios Nikos, our security guard at our Athens office. He knows the first names of all employees by heart as well as when our Name Day is and he always greets everyone by name. He’s the soul of our office in Athens.
9. And what would you change?
We need a big dining space, designated for our lunch breaks. With COVID-19 we could no longer take group lunches due to health and safety restrictions and as our team grew even during the pandemic, this space is now overtaken by new desks. However, it has to come back!
10. If you had to describe your day at Dialectica using one word, which word would you choose?
PAME! — the Greek word for “Let’s go, guys!”
To start a new career adventure within Dialectica and become a member of our growing team, check our current job openings in Athens, Montreal, New York and London.