Oana Lipovei is a senior software engineer and comes to JDA from Blue Yonder. She shares how her upbringing in communist-era Romania has led her to focus on a simple, ‘tech-free’ life – outside of her day job, of course! – and her views on never regretting the decisions you make, and the importance of thinking before you speak.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I was born in Romania and lived there until I was 27. I had a very interesting childhood growing up in the communist era in Romania. We didn’t have a lot of access to TV or games so we spent a lot of time outdoors. I grew up with two bigger brothers who were always into sports like football and basketball, so I got to practice a lot of sports, especially swimming and tennis.
We lived in Romania until 2012 when we moved to Germany as a family. We now live in a small village near Karlsruhe, where Blue Yonder is based. It is a nice area for my kids, who are 7 and 10, as there are a lot of families with children. I try to avoid electronics a lot with my kids, and encourage them to play outside and with others.
When did you join Blue Yonder? What did you do before that?
I joined Blue Yonder in November 2012 after ending parental leave with my son. Prior to Blue Yonder, I was working in the banking sector as an IT developer at Banca Romaneasca. Since my son was now a one-year-old and in day care, I searched for a job and found Blue Yonder. I was attracted to the company and role because I would be working with a lot of data, like at my prior job and I enjoyed that quite a bit.
I started as a database developer in my first role at Blue Yonder but then moved into customer integrations and improving the product based on customer experience and feedback. Last year, I was promoted to my current role and am doing a lot of challenging and interesting things. For each project, I work on the lifecycle of the deployment – from design to implementation to deployment. I like the end-to-end scope and seeing each project through to completion. We are a small team so we each own our own projects from start to finish.
Why did you choose a career in technology?
My whole family is tech-focused- which is interesting given our upbringing was anything but! My brothers studied IT and I was always attracted to math. In high school, I had to decide if I wanted to do math or IT at university. I went for IT at university as it felt like it would turn into a role that would yield quicker results at any job I’d take. I am a results-oriented person, so this was appealing to me.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken and why?
Moving to Germany and starting from scratch. I was not speaking the language at all yet and had to learn. I had to search for a new job and get settled in our new home. Most of my family is still in Romania, so this was very different for us. But I love meeting new people and exploring the area. I liked the change. No risk is no fun!
What is the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
My father always told me: don’t regret any decision you make. You may analyze and understand your decision but don’t run from what you perceive as mistakes. Learn from it. Don’t look back but look forward instead.
What is your proudest achievement?
It’s definitely been adjusting to life in Germany!
Do you have any regrets?
Not at all. I channel my father’s advice and instead, try learning from mistakes and become a better person for it every day. You always have to take the best option you have in any moment.
Who is your role model?
I really admire Simona Halep, the #1 women’s Romanian tennis player. She works really hard and the results come. She’s an example of working hard to get what you want.
What is the one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?
Integrity. You have to be honest in every situation, even if it’s hard sometimes. Leaders should always be transparent and be open to giving and receiving feedback.
How has your life experience made you who you are today?
Being raised by parents in a tough communist era definitely made me who I am today. My childhood wasn’t easy, but we were always happy with what we had. You have to stay modest and have empathy for others.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I actually recently reduced my job to part time. I really enjoy the time with my kids and now that they are in 2nd and 4th grade, I spend more time with them after school. They do a lot of activities after school and all are luckily within walking distance, so we do that together and they can also go with friends. My working time is flexible and not fixed hours so I can work when the kids are in bed if I need to as well. I try to keep my hobbies up and play tennis at least once per week. We often plan holidays for long weekends and just try to enjoy every minute.
What’s your favorite motto or quote?
Think before you speak. I am often quiet and don’t speak up a lot unless I have something meaningful to say.