Meet the speakers: Diana Stefanova, Managing Site Director, EMEA R&D and Strategic Business Development

Diana Stefanova has gained significant work experience in the USA and Germany, before returning to Bulgaria. Join “Back to the Source” event in London on October 24th and hear our colleagues share their perspectives of what it feels like to be back home after years of building life and career abroad. 

Diana is a well-seasoned executive with over 20 years of professional experience in a variety of areas like general management, corporate and business development, business & R&D operations and finance. She brings a significant industry experience with a deep focus in high-tech, from start-ups all the way to well-established corporations, like VMware, both in the Silicon Valley, USA and in EMEA.As a Managing Director for VMware, Diana leads VMware’s R&D centers for Europe and the Middle East, which employ over 1,000 professionals. During her career at VMware, Diana has actively worked on improving the business climate and the ecosystem in Bulgaria.Diana has a Master’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia and holds a certified public accountant certificate from California, US.

What is your international work experience?

I consider myself a global citizen. With some intermissions, for the past 20 years, I have been working and living abroad. I’ve lived in the US for about seven years, working for several start-up companies. My career in the Silicon Valley developed rather quickly, and I had the opportunity to head the financial departments of those companies. In 2004 my husband and I made the decision to return to Bulgaria and see how we could apply what we have learned abroad at home. I was Head of the Financial Business of Sciant, one of the first IT companies in Bulgaria. In 2007, VMware acquired Sciant, which was a great start for all of us, but also for the entire ecosystem.In 2015, we decided to develop VMware integrated solutions from a business perspective and see how we can work with the market and our merchants in Europe. At that moment, with the help of VMware, I relocated with my family to Germany. Four years later, the time has come to bring back to Bulgaria what I have learned. On top of my mind has always been how to apply my knowledge precisely in Bulgaria, because I believe each one of us can have a huge impact on the ecosystem here.

How has VMware Bulgaria evolved over the years?

Оver the past 12 years VMware Bulgaria has transformed to one of the top three strategic R&D sites for VMware globally. We were one of the first, and are to date, one of the most successful VMware acquisition deals. We started as a small team of 170 people and currently the office in Sofia is over 1000 people. The trends are to double in size in the years to come.We have developed a very interesting portfolio of products, services and technology solutions, which currently exceeds  $ 800 million  in revenue for the company globally. We are working on the latest VMware products that have more than 500,000 customers worldwide. Our team has in-depth expertise in cloud management, including hybrid cloud, which is the new trend now, disaster recovery and analytics, big data analysis, machine learning and more. The new expertise we are developing at the moment is Internet of things and Edge computing, which is extremely interesting and is happening right  here in Bulgaria.

How has VMware impacted the ecosystem in Bulgaria?

At VMware we share our expertise with the entire IT community in Bulgaria through various initiatives aiming to enhance and amplify the software development knowledge of young talents. We work closely with schools and universities to help students grow and for them to see the future lies in the information technology, as well as to help them start a successful career.We work with clients not only in Bulgaria and Europe, but all around the world, collaborate with the Bulgarian Government and the European Commission. All of this has a positive impact on the ecosystem, society, the whole economy and it really brings a sense of great satisfaction. And most importantly-we do it here in Bulgaria, so we could leave a better world and country for our children.

How did the decision to return to Bulgaria affected your family?

People often ask me why I came back to Bulgaria. Essentially, I wanted to be with my friends and family. While we were still living in the US, my husband and I decided to raise our children in Bulgaria. The education system in our secondary schools is at a very good level. Having the opportunity to compare it with Germany and the US, I think we should be proud of the schools and teachers we have here and the education they provide. Here in Bulgaria we can all achieve our professional goals, experience a great sense of fulfillment, while providing a wonderful childhood for our kids.