It is so refreshing to see such a mature perspective from time to time! Andrei is a strong HR professional who gladly takes up the challenge of developing others, irrespective if they are international employees, Romanian students or ... his lovely two sons. While building a future for himself and his family in the US, he makes sure he stays connected with Romania, visiting it once per year and getting involved in the improvement of our educational system. The following dialogue not only reveals a proud Romanian, but also a positive perspective about Romania in terms of people, tourism and future.
Name: Andrei Golesteanu
Abroad since: 2009
Living in: Lexington, Massachusetts
Current position & company: Senior Director OD, Talent & HR International – Keurig Green Mountain
TGR: America has always been a trendsetter in terms of developing the global business environment. Are there any new HR practices we should know about?
AG: I wouldn’t call anything new, but these are the trends I am seeing:
Taking into account all these, which are the challenges of working with the US vs. Romanian workforce?
Well, probably there are more in common than one could think. The biggest challenge is still to find the right talent, which is universal. Competition on workforce market is fierce (like in Romania), the difference being that here the talent is vetted and tested much extensively so you pretty much know what you are getting from the start. The main challenge would be to adapt fast to the new ways of working for the new generations, to be relevant and to never stop learning how to do new things.
The HR Manager is supposed to be a key partner for the management board. Do you feel your work is appreciated from this perspective at Keurig?
It is a bit of a leading question … of course my work is appreciated. Seriously now, I am interacting on a weekly basis with C-suite leaders on talent related issues and this says a lot on how serious they are about the topic.
Which is your role in Keurig?
Custodian of Talent Management, Succession Planning, Career Management and Performance Management processes at enterprise level. Organizational Development interventions and assessment. HR partner for the international arm of the business (operations in LATAM, EU, APAC)
A wide range of activities... What is the accomplishment you are mostly proud of?
I am mostly proud of my boys and how they are preparing to enter this world as adults. I am proud of them having strong personal values and a good sense for what they want in life.
I am so happy for your position as such a proud father! How does your family fit in with a small town like Lexington?
Living here gives me the better of the 2 worlds: I can be in Boston’s center in half an hour and I enjoy the perks of raising my kids in suburbia, with a lot of space and clean air, in a peaceful community. I commute 10 minutes to the office, so I have a lot of spare time to share with my boys and my wife. I am at a stone throw from the vibrant Cambridge and my town is a charming historical little place that has good restaurants and plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors. I came here from New York City for the business opportunity and I fell in love with the area (although I still miss sometimes NY).
Is there anything disappointing in the American society that directly affects you?
It is just a different culture. I would say much more different than one would expect, or at least than I have expected coming here. It takes time to adjust and to embrace the good parts of it and to minimize the possible frustrations coming from the parts that you don’t particularly like.
Despite being far away from home, you are an active supporter of the Romanian educational system. Tell me more about your goals and contribution in the AVE project.
AVE is a project born out of the desire to give something back to the place I was raised and educated in. We have spent some time in deciding how we want to do that and we all came to the conclusion that focusing on the educational system would be something that could benefit our energy and our expertise. We have various projects, from contributing to a better selection and education of school’s management to partnering with Romanian Presidency in order to formulate a coherent strategy for public education in Romania. I was personally part of the team that put together a proposal aimed at the selection process for high school managers – mainly because of my professional background. Another way to contribute is by sharing ideas and practices I see here (e.g. the partnership of parents association with the local schools, curriculum) taking into consideration this area has one of the best public education system in the nation.
Well, your experience in dealing with talented people all over the world definitely gives you the right to be listened to in this area. Do you feel we have what it takes to keep producing the same amount of talents in the near future?
The potential we have as a nation to produce talent is remarkable and is still untapped in my opinion. Hence the need to really ramp up our education system so we can nurture and harness the native talent. It is a long way ahead and it can be achieved if we get involved and don't wait for "others" to fix it.
So you are optimistic about our future. By the way, do you see any positive changes in Romania since you left?
Absolutely! It had improved in many areas (social, standard of living, civic involvement), although it has still a lot to work on.
What do you mostly miss about our home country?
This is easy: my family and the social life. Sometimes I miss places that I have strong feelings for, like Sibiu and Bucharest.
Please tell me something particular about Romania that you would usually say to a foreign friend.
Hmm, this is a good one… It depends what the foreign friend resonates with. It’s amazing how you can find in every major discipline something positive to mention about Romania. I don’t have a favorite line and clearly I won’t promote clichés like Dracula, instead I encourage people who want to explore those places to see cities like Sibiu and Sighisoara or have a special experience in Danube’s Delta.
Clearly, your life is strongly linked to the States now. However, do you see yourself moving back sometimes?
For sure yes. Probably this will not be a full time comeback, but I definitely see myself spending some time in Romania in the future. I see myself living between these two worlds (Romania and US) and enjoying the good parts of them.
This is very ambitious and unique! Thank you, Andrei, for your time, I hope it turns out well for you and, of course, for Romania!
Well, keep the faith, it’s going to be all right!
The Golden Romania
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Andrei Golesteanu - the experienced HR Manager who's in the position to develop US professionals
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Johann Stan, the Romanian who's in the position to approve a patent for any European innovation!
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