Melania Bojescu Roseboom
Interview

‘I don’t think in boxes or stereotypes’

Melania Bojescu’s first-ever job in the Netherlands was at the Albert Heijn supermarket that sits next to STX’s Amsterdam office on Vijzelstraat. Twenty years later, she holds the position of Head of Middle Office at the international environmental commodities trading firm. “Never in my career have I worked for a company where people are so open to new ideas and different perspectives,” says the Romanian-born manager. 

The start of my career

Fast forward to 2001, the year that Melania moved to the Netherlands to be with her now-husband. To get settled and to start learning the Dutch language, she took a job at Albert Heijn. A few years later, she got a call from an employment agency enquiring if she would be interested in a back office role at a new company active in the commodity trading environment. Despite having no experience in the industry whatsoever, her interest was piqued. “I didn’t have a clue about commodities – most of the products were gibberish to me. I googled my life away those first few months,” she says, smiling. “The fact that the subject matter was so complex made the job even more challenging, and therefore interesting, for me. That’s when my career took off.”

Fifteen years have passed since then. “I was lucky to land in a small team with great people, many of whom I’m still friends with today. Aside from working for an interesting business, it’s also essential to be part of a strong and motivated team. That combination made my work feel like a hobby, as I had hoped it would. I stayed at that company for 10 years and saw it evolve into a leading multinational commodity trading firm. I feel proud to have been part of that growth. However, after a decade at the organisation, I felt that I had learnt everything there was to learn at the company, and I decided it was time for a new challenge.”

A perfect fit

That new challenge came in the form of a shift into the banking industry – a challenging move that offered her exciting roles. Unfortunately, both banks that Melania worked for in this time had to restructure, leaving her with few possibilities for growth. And so she started looking for new opportunities. When she saw the ad for the Head of Middle Office position at STX Group, she was instantly interested. She immediately knew that the role was a perfect fit for her. “The company was at a turning point, and was looking to move in a new direction that required a different set of skills and talent. I knew I was the person they needed. That might sound arrogant, but sometimes things just make sense. This new opportunity did, and so I jumped at it. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual. Within three days, I had signed the contract.”

Some might find it challenging to start a new job in the midst of a global pandemic, but not Melania. “COVID-19 didn’t really impact my experience. In fact, it feels like I’ve been at the company for years already. The fact that everybody is so open to new ideas and discussions has a lot to do with that. If I have an idea that I want to bring to the table, I can pick up the phone and call the Head of Trading or the CEO – they’ll happily listen to it and tell me if they think it’s valuable or not. The fact that the company structure is quite flat and non-hierarchical, and that anyone can pitch an idea or offer up suggestions, is quite unique. It’s also a bonus that every day is different and that I get to work with such an amazing team, of course. As my team is quite diverse and has a very fresh mindset and perspective on everything, I learn from them on a daily basis.”

 

Always stand up for yourself

Melania smiles when the topic of the lack of women in her industry is raised. “I know it’s a thing, but I personally don’t think in boxes and I hate stereotypes. My mother taught me that you need to always stand up for yourself, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman. I do believe, though, that we need more women in this field. And we are getting there – half of my team is female. That said, being in a room full of men doesn’t intimidate me; in fact, I sometimes feel more intimidated by women,” says Melania, smiling.

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